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Halfbrick gets rid of designers - report

"This change will empower everyone in our teams to contribute to design"

Halfbrick has laid-off two designers, Layton Hawkes and Ryan Langley, leaving it with no specific designers on staff.

The first reports came from Kotaku, who also got a confirmation from the head of the Fruit Ninja studio that it was taking a different direction with game design.

"Halfbrick remains a design focused company and this change will empower everyone in our teams to contribute to design rather than concentrate design control in the hands of a few. Great ideas can come from anywhere and we want to create an environment that fosters this notion," Halfbrick CEO Shainiel Deo said.

"Halfbrick will continue to develop mobile games that are fun and innovative while remaining relevant by creating experiences that resonate with what mobile gamers expect today. There are new games and exciting partnerships on the horizon and we will be sharing these with you very soon."

Sources also told the site that the move was an attempt to build on the success of Fruit Ninja, and they were unsure if Halfbrick would actually make new IP in the future of just focus on the Fruit Ninja IP.

Back in March three ex-Halfbrick executives (including creative director Luke Muscat) founded a new studio, Prettygreat, in Brisbane, Australia.

GamesIndustry.biz has reached out to Halfbrick for more details on the studio's future.

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Latest comments (8)

Robert Mac-Donald Game Designer, Lethe Games3 years ago
I supposed this can work in a mobile environment where games are small and in "what you see is what you get" format. There are lots of examples where the game programmer was also the designer, with no dedicated designer on staff. However most people just like to throw out their ideas, and not really develop nor troubleshoot them.

Once you need people to develop content, or maybe try changing an attacks shape and speed 100 times until it feels right, they may realize not having dedicated designers was a bad idea if none of the artists or programmers are willing to do that kind of work. I code and design my games, and I have to spend a lot of time doing the exact same thing with minor differences in variables to get something to feel as best as I can make it be.

Great ideas come from anywhere. Well implemented ideas come from hard work.
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Alan Blighe Research Associate 3 years ago
Great ideas come from anywhere. Well implemented ideas come from hard work.
Well said Robert!
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Tom Pickard Founder and Creative Director, Knifey Spoonie Games3 years ago
Wow... bold move... If anything though I'd say mobile needs good designers more than ever, balancing a game is a professional job. You may get good ideas from all areas of the team but I can't see an artist sitting tweaking spreadsheets and balancing the game on the micro level. And this is from me an Artist by profession who does design for my own Indie games (It's way tougher than I anticipated it might be)

Seems a slight over reaction to a problem which sounded something like "The designers have too much power and it stops others contributing to high level design"

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tom Pickard on 15th September 2015 11:09am

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Show all comments (8)
Andy Cowe Mobile developer, Moonjump3 years ago
Why not get rid of the artists so that everyone can contribute to the artwork? Because it is a stupid idea, just like design by committee, which is what you get if you let everyone contribute without having someone who has the final say and is capable of putting everything together as a cohesive whole.
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Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, Azoomee3 years ago
I don't know anything about their internal structure but this can work at a certain scale.
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Peter Johnson CEO, Soluble3 years ago
I think an important part of the job of a designer is to listen to ideas from the team, and ensure the best ones get used.

That's what our designer tried to do.
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Chris Payne Managing Director & Founder, Quantum Soup Studios3 years ago
There is an unfortunate perception by some people even inside the industry that designers are "ideas people" who do not need any technical or artistic skills, and can therefore be hired cheaply to churn out high concepts for the rest of the team to implement. This infuriates me. Good designers should straddle both technical AND art camps, so that they understand the implications of their choices for both the player experience AND the development process.
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Renaud Charpentier Game Director, The Creative Assembly3 years ago
"Design by consensus not make game great"
- Yoda
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