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What happened when these ex-Thief & Half-Life devs jumped to Early Access

Here's what happens when a group of developers known for their work on triple-A games make the jump to Early Access.

It’s not easy to change the way you approach game development, and as many developers have learned by now, it’s even harder when hundreds of players are giving you feedback on a constant basis. So when art director Viktor Antonov (formerly of Half-Life 2 and Dishonored) and designer Randy Smith (formerly of the Thief series), joined Nvizzio Creations to work on the Early Access game Rokh, how did that affect their process?

Well we wanted to find out, so today on the Gamasutra Twitch channel, we chatted with Smith and Antonov, as well as Nvizzio executive producer Vincent Marty, to find out about what it’s like when you’re in the early days of Early Access. 

If you don’t have time to watch the full conversation (seen above), here are some quick highlights…

Even in a modular system, Antonov sees a purpose in building a deliberate aesthetic

Antonov, known for his work defining the aesthetics of Half-Life 2 and Dishonored, was able to explain the value of an evocative aesthetic even when players are the ones building your buildings. 

It’s weird, but also rewarding, to work with famous faces in game development

During an aside about working on an LA-set game called Kingpin, Antonov talked about working with hip-hop group Cypress Hill, which led to a fun diversion about talking about working alongside names like Gabe Newell or Steven Spielberg. Both Antonov and Smith didn’t seemed fazed by the fame of their former coworkers, but did share some useful lessons about working with people who may not have time to deep dive on a project but whose name can help sell it. 

Community objectives can help unite—or divide—players, and both are good

We took a few minutes to talk about Rokh’s community objectives, which are applied across all game servers, and why Smith thinks they’ll drive players to different behaviors across different backgrounds. 

If this conversation was enlightening for you, be sure to follow the Gamasutra Twitch channel for more developer interviews, editor roundtables, and gameplay commentary. 

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