Video: Balancing the metagame in eSports and fighting game design

At GDC 2015 Spry Fox's Alex Jaffe shares a practical approach for using game theory and matchup charts to suss out the imbalances in competitive games, so you can take steps to balance their metagame.

Characters, factions, classes, and decks: we often embrace asymmetry in competitive games, yet one overpowered option can wreak havoc among a game's player community.

Sussing out such imbalances in your metagame is typically done through intuition and lots of playtesting. But at GDC 2015, designer and data scientist Alex Jaffe offered a fresh approach, developed during his time spent balancing PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale

Jaffe's method uses game theory and matchup charts to describe the possible metagames that can form among expert players. Through examples from modern games, his talk shows the value in carefully reasoning about - and even quantifying - metagame balance.

It's worth watching if you're at all curious about the practical challenges of balancing a competitive game, and now you can watch Jaffe's entire talk for free over on the official GDC YouTube channel.

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its new YouTube channel offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.

Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC Next already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page. Finally, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault technical support.

Gamasutra and GDC are sibling organizations under parent UBM Tech

Latest Jobs

Cryptic Studios

Senior Producer

Anne Arundel Community College

Arnold, MD, USA
Instructor/Assistant Professor, Game Art

Night School Studio

Los Angeles, CA, USA
Level Designer / Scripter, Games Studio
More Jobs   


Explore the
Subscribe to
Follow us

Game Developer Job Board

Game Developer Newsletter


Explore the

Game Developer Job Board

Browse open positions across the game industry or recruit new talent for your studio

Subscribe to

Game Developer Newsletter

Get daily Game Developer top stories every morning straight into your inbox

Follow us


Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more