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How Prey's designers turned technical limitations into inspiration

May 16, 2017 | By Alissa McAloon

"I think good designers understand how to solve problems within the constraints that they have."

- Lead designer Ricardo Bare explains how limitations can enrich the game development process

How do developers like Arkane Studios manage their own creative ambitions against the realistic limitations of game development? According to Prey's lead designer Ricardo Bare, one solution is learning to turn those constraints into inspiration.

In a conversation streamed to Gamasutra’s Twitch channel last week, Bare explained that one of his favorite creatures in Prey was born from the desire to introduce a new enemy type, but the lack of enough resources to realistically do so. 

As a result, the team came up with the idea for an invisible foe called the poltergeist that manipulates and weaponizes objects in the room through telekinesis. Bare says the the team still had to work up a model for the poltergeist and do some work, but ultimately it was less resource intensive than the process of creating some of Prey’s other creatures.

And, as an added bonus, those technical constraints lead to creating something different that the team might not have considered otherwise. 

“As it turns out,” added Bare. “In my opinion, it's one of the coolest creatures in the game. It's super creepy, and it’s just a way different kind of encounter than some of the creatures that are getting in your face.“

For more from Bare, be sure to his thoughts on the importance of diverse characters as well as the full stream. And while you're over there, why not follow the Gamasutra Twitch channel for more developer interviews, editor roundtables and gameplay commentary.

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