Once upon a time, in the early days of the internet, a group of like-minded individuals banded together to create a community for gamers. It was a place where like-minded players could talk about the games they enjoyed. Today, that community is Playable Worlds, an independent studio dedicated to building games that are unique, thoughtful, and welcoming. Playable Worlds’ latest project is RIVE, a beautiful love story that’s fueled by an emotional, kinetic combat system that invites players to drop their defenses and connect with the world around them.

Playable Worlds is an independent game development team that is working on its debut title, Matterfall , a game that takes place in a ruined, post-apocalyptic landscape. We spoke with lead designer Nick Baumgard to learn more about the studio, designing the game, and the future of game development. “What we’re doing is we’re taking a very traditional approach,” Baumgard told us. “We’re taking the perspective of a traditional indie developer, which is to make a game that we like. And we’re making a game that we like, and as the game evolves it gets a little bit better and better, and a little bit more interesting and cool, and a little bit more what our vision was for it.”

When Playable Worlds announced that they were closing down, it was a blow to the entire gaming industry. The studio was behind the popular RPG, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and the anticipated Battle Royale title, PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS. It was a sad day for the entire industry, as PUBG was the game that paved the way for the recent craze of the Battle Royale genre, which has been grabbing millions of gamers around the world.

No screenshots yet, obviously.

Raph Koster’s company, Playable World, is developing an MMORPG. It’s a huge one. Despite all the words the business has poured on it so far, we don’t know much about it. This week, we’re receiving more words, this time from the game’s main designer, Greg Costikyan, whose name you may recognize if you’re a tabletop player. His dev blog, on the other hand, is basically a tutorial for ordinary players who want to learn more about how games are created.

As he puts it, game designers seldom have much leeway when it comes to the game’s core concepts. “Most of the time, you’ll be given an existing IP (from a prior game, a license, or an existing genre) and asked to modify it slightly,” he complains. “Unfortunately, our sector does not thrive on innovation. It keeps limping around thanks to clones, brand extensions, and modifications to popular genres.” He goes through the many ways studios acquire money, the various stages of production (hey, look, a company that understands what beta really means), and assembling a complete staff of developers. Of course, there’s more to it, but he’s presumably keeping it for another post.

To round out this article, here’s one more nugget: The studio’s game, according to Costikyan, uses randomly generated environments.


In a recent interview with Esportspedia, Playable Worlds lead designer Jason Beck said that the video games industry does not thrive on ideas. Instead, he believes it thrives on user acquisition and user retention. ” You see the core business is a monetization model, to monetize the ecosystem, and not necessarily the idea itself. But at the same time, you have to say, what is the idea? I think that it’s more about the user acquisition and retention than the idea itself. That’s what the industry thrives on, not the idea.”. Read more about worlds com worlds and let us know what you think.

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