GDC 2014

GDC 2014 Session Scheduler

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Character Balance: More than the Numbers

Robert Gallerani  |  Design Specialist, Vicarious Visions, Inc.

Location: Room 2016, West Hall

Format: Session
Track: Design
Vault Recording: Video

This talk will focus on the techniques used to balance a wide variety of playable characters using the development of Skylanders SWAP Force. The perception of a character and its abilities is just as important, if not more important than the standard metrics of damage output. Additional factors such as focus testing, team surveys, and player expectations based on a character's image will be covered. Robert will break down the values of aesthetics, actual power, perceived power, fun and ease of use. All of these elements had to be taken into account to make a diverse yet balanced cast of playable characters that were targeted toward a younger demographic, yet deep enough for all players. The talk will also discuss how to communicate character strengths and weaknesses to executives and other stakeholders.


Attendees will take away several methods and examples of how to balance a large cast of characters and how to communicate that balance outwards and upwards, to other team members and stakeholders.

Intended Audience

This talk is relevant for beginner and intermediate character and combat designers involved with or interested in games that have numerous characters due to in-app purchases, DLC or large franchise rosters.