Heaven's Vault devs on the importance of letting players get things wrong

I might be wrong...

A lot of today's games go out of their way to show the player what to do. Devs and pubs are afraid to leave players hanging, as frustration can lead to a player bowing out of a game. The problem is, now we have games that overcompensate, and they never let the player truly figure anything out.

In an interview with Gamasutra, dev Jon Ingold talks about why they let the player get things wrong in Heaven's Vault, and how it enhances the experience.

Following up on mis-translations fell out of the language mechanic’s design. But it also felt right: we wanted to make a game about archaeology, and archaeology is not about getting things “right”. You can’t ever know if you’ve interpreted a find, or a culture, correctly. You have to make the best guess you can; but you have to be open to changing your interpretation if new evidence comes to life.

Games are often very cautious of allowing that kind of ambiguity: there’s this urge to let players “complete” a game - to “master” it. We wanted to push back against that and say: here’s a world for you to discover, explore, contemplate, and never really understand. My favorite science-fiction has that sense of mystery: whether it’s in the hints of an ancient history in Star Wars or the bizarre, hard-to-parse worlds of Gene Wolfe and Jack Vance.

Categories: Interviews, Consoles
Tags: eshop, switch


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