The Sims, Journey and Boom Blox developer observes that the industry ‘spends too much time thinking about mechanics and systems’

Robin Hunicke: ‘Devs need to be more open and playful with their games’

Funomena co-founder Robin Hunicke has urged developers to take a looser approach to creating their games.

Speaking to Eurogamer in a career-spanning interview, the former Sims and Journey dev, who is now working alongside Katamari creator Keita Takahashi on Wattam, compared the need to leave ambiguity in games to the artistic achievements of cinema.

"I know people who make films who feel their film has a single interpretation," Hunicke said. "But they are rare.

“The majority of people who write or make films and art are just trying to get something out of them. When it’s in the world it’s there for everybody to draw what they will from the work. Besides, you can’t control the context. For example, art that’s made in this moment around Brexit could have a very different interpretation in ten years depending on what happens to Britain’s fortunes.”

She continued by commenting on the growing ability of games to explore more serious themes and stories, insisting that even the most weighty of titles should retain an element of fun.

"We’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about mechanics and systems as an industry," she observed. "Doing something a little more open is important right now for this difficult, sad and important time.

“We’re having conversations about all of the forces that inform how we behave, and how we sustain our planet. They are crucial conversations. But that needs the counterbalance of playfulness.

“All of the games I’m working on at the moment are about interacting with others in purely playful ways. I hope they encourage people to help one another, not for what they can get out of it, but just for the sake of it."

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