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Sonic designer Hirokazu Yasuhara zeroes in on how to design with fun in mind

June 9, 2017 | By Alissa McAloon




Fun is often times a subjective concept, so how can game designers introduce elements into games that capture the feeling of fun? Longtime designer Hirokazu Yasuhara aims to answer this question through a talk given at the Digital Dragons game development conference last month. 

Yasuhara, who has worked on Jak and Daxter, Uncharted, and numerous early Sonic games, says there are a number of factors designers can keep in mind in order to zero in on designing with fun in mind.

There are three factors that inform his game design theory: human habits, human emotion, and Roger Caillois’ four categories of play. In his talk, Yasuhara breaks down the individual elements that make up each tenet, and then shows how each can then work together and be applied to the game design process.

Take a look at the video above for Yasuhara’s full talk, which, as an added bonus for Sonic fans, opens with never-before-seen design documents for Sonic characters and levels, as well as why some mechanics pictured didn’t make it into the iconic game.



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