King: 'The best designers are in casual'

VP of game design says limitations are a major boost for innovation
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The best games designers in the industry can be found working on casual games.

That’s according to Stephen Jarrett, VP of game design at Candy Crush creator King, who told Casual Connect attendees that he’s always impressed at the unique new mechanics and twists on genres that come out of the casual space.

“I think some of the best designers are working in casual,” he said, “because they have such a limited toolset. And it’s even more important for them to make a game super, super interesting to a wide range of people.”

Jarrett was interviewed on stage about King’s ongoing success with the Candy Crush series, which is now on its third entry thanks to the recent release of Candy Crush Jelly Saga. But the exec says plans to make the IP an ongoing franchise only really took shape after the success of Soda Saga.

“When we released Soda, we thought a lot of people would abandon Candy Crush,” he said. “But it actually lifted the original game – that’s why we’re releasing games like Jelly, because there’s so much you can do with that mechanic.

“I’ve been in companies where they think there’s a model for building successful games, but it’s not true. It’s always different when you release a new game.”

Jarrett emphasised that King is trying to broaden its reach beyond the realm of casual games.

“This year, we’re going to bring out a lot of games you wouldn’t typically expect from King,” he said. “We’re looking at the midcore, and at genres that we don’t currently have in our portfolio.”

He went on to add that King continues to cancel failed game ideas behind the scene, echoing comments from our interview with Jelly Saga producer Andreas Olofsson. You can read that full interview here.

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