Interview: Creating compelling puzzles in Rise of the Tomb Raider

Sitting down with Rise of the Tomb Raider’s senior designer, Jeff Wajcs, in the name of Gamasutra, I took the chance to find out what it is exactly that consititures the perfect puzzles.

Here’s a snippet of what he had to say:

“For me, the perfect puzzle exists at the intersection of economy of mechanics and compelling layout,” says Wajcs. “By ‘economy of mechanics,’ I mean that the puzzle is lean and mean, with only as many objects and mechanics as it truly needs. Each object in the puzzle needs to contribute both to the solution and the player’s understanding of the solution, and it’s more economical for one object to do two things than to have two objects.”

To ensure each tomb is filled with purpose, it’s important to identify an overarching goal early on. That goal, or as Wajcs calls it, Lara’s “Big Problem,” will inform everything else about the tomb.

Wajcs says there are several questions the team asked themselves to make sure that their level layout was compelling. “Is it interesting to explore? Is it interesting to look at?  Does the layout fit the puzzle like a glove, or is it squished and squashed in some places?”

Read the full interview over on Gamasutra.

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