Lightning Mailbag: I didn’t have time edition

With all sympathies to artists and animators, do you think characters clipping into parts of themselves or their clothes will ever be fully solved? Or is this just one of those fundamentally intractable problems that can only be mitigated?

Hope springs eternal, but it’s something we just have to deal with for the foreseeable future. Maybe once we figure out quantum computing?

How much does lore and narrative contributes to player’s engagement in non story-focused multiplayer games like Apex Legends and Overwatch?

There’s usually a small (less than 5%) but hardcore group of players/fans who are very into that sort of thing. Most players (80+%) don’t engage with external lore content in games like that because it isn’t the focus of the game.

Is it normal to feel cringe about your game after weeks or days or more?

After it’s released and out in the wild? Yes. I always feel like all I can see are the flaws when I play it, even if the players are enjoying the experience.

Which social media platform should I use as a dev?

For your career, LinkedIn. If you’re an indie trying to cultivate an audience, Discord. And if you’re in AAA, I advise against being on social media in general, except for LinkedIn.

On the topic of crossover (specifically when you have characters from different license holders interacting) how does a dev team keep all the license holders happy. For example, in Mortal Kombat 11, Spawn has several specific interactions with Robot Cop in a pre battle chatter. Do both license holders need to sign off on that battle chatter?


When working under an NDA, how do you talk about it with friends and family? Realistically, do you let your partner know? Trusted friends? Or is it best to just avoid specifics/the topic generally?

I talk about things in general terms, but I make sure my partner knows not to talk about my work with anyone. Between friends, I will occasionally toss out the term “FrieNDA” for things that are more specific. Mostly, we just know not to talk about that stuff.

Is it common that old builds are getting leaked to the web? Like the Duke Nukem Forever 2001 build?


How much money does it take to start a new AAA game studio?

A lot. It’s usually at least in the low to mid six figures to hire enough talent both to start a company and build enough of a project to pitch to publishers.

Why don’t open-world games reuse or add on too old maps? You’d think a new Assassin’s Creed, Farcry, Horizon, or whatever else could save effort by remixing and adding on to old maps, yet it rarely if ever happens. Why is that?

Players complain about notable content recycling, especially open world maps.

Is calling a sequel “DLC” offensive to you?

It isn’t worth spending attention on feedback like that. I’d rather just say “I’m sorry our offering was not to your liking. Maybe you’ll enjoy something else we make in the future.”

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