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The game design of Angry Birds Go! - exclusive interview


Pocket Gamer: Who are you, and what is your role on Angry Birds Go!?

My name's Nic Cusworth and I'm the Lead Designer on Angry Birds Go!.

How did you help to make the finished game?

The Angry Birds Go! team is very hands on so over the course of development I've been involved in all aspects of the game, from building the game structure around the free-to-play model to final balancing of the events. Due to the chaotic nature of the physics based racing it was an intensive effort to balance all of the game events for launch, but all of that hard work paid off when the game launched and we started to see how much fun the players were having!

When you've had so much success with physics puzzle games, why make an Angry Birds kart racer?

Rovio is expanding the brand into new areas and were really keen on the idea of a cart racer. Even though the style of game was a departure we really wanted to reference elements from the puzzle games and bring them into Angry Birds Go! For example, getting in the sling-shot start and structures you can smash were really important to us.

It was also important to us that the soapbox cars didn't have engines and everything was held together with 'chewing gum'. This was really in reference to the structures the Pigs build in the slingshot games as well as a nod to the vehicle construction in Bad Piggies.

Because the game was such a departure from the existing games it felt right to try a different approach to pricing. We really wanted to get the game in front of as many players as possible. We also went to great lengths to design a fair experience. You really can progress through the game without spending any money at all.

As you play through the game you unlock more characters. We really wanted players to swap around their roster of characters and try out all of their different abilities, and the rest period when your bird gets tired is an incentive for the player to try new things. After you've unlocked a few characters, the Energy System starts to play a far lesser role in the flow of the gameplay.

Each of the themed worlds feels really different to the last. How did you go about making the courses and deciding how each area would feel?

Right from the initial concepts we really wanted create a game that had a different feel as the player progresses through the game. The handling and track designs are completely different from episode to episode progressing from the more traditional handling of the Seedway soapbox cars right through to the rocket carts on Stunt. The feel is very different and that's something we really want to continue adding to in the updates.

We'd build prototype soapbox cars and design a track around the new handling model. Some of the Stunt tracks really pushed what we thought would be possible with the physics engine we'd built. We were constantly surprised by just how extreme we could get on the design of those tracks!


Reviewer photo
Peter Willington 28 March 2014

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