The process of deconstruction can be fundamental in defining the success and quality of your next game project.

As such, understanding the process of ‘deconstruction’ could be considered a key skill within game design, yet it is so often misunderstood or given passing attention. Viewing a game through a deconstructive lens lets you build a mental model of the title being considered, including its function, successes, failures, and the behaviours it inspires in players.

At Department of Play we’ve shared a number of our own deconstructions here on the blog, and they commonly sit amongst our most well read content…

Launch Date: 6th April 2021
Status: Soft Launch (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland).
Genre: Strategy.
Similar to: Spooky Pop, Legend of Solgard, and Puzzle and Dragons.

What is it?

Clash Quest is a tactical puzzle RPG with clear influences from King’s Legend of Solgard and Supercell’s own discontinued Spooky Pop.

Clash Quest is one of three recently announced Supercell titles expanding upon the Clash franchise, and the first to enter soft launch.

Why is it important?

It’s no secret that, since 2015, Supercell has seen slow revenue decline year over year, with live-ops from current titles only able to maintain revenue. …

If you want to make a game that succeeds creatively and commercially, prototyping will almost certainly be a key step in the design and development process.

Prototyping serves as a point at which early ideas and concepts can be crystallised, pivoting the process of game design into the production pipeline phase. And while many design changes will likely be implemented after prototyping concludes, it can be powerful in defining your final product.

Chances are, if you’ve put any time into the study of game design and development, you already know that sketching out a game’s core elements is a vitally…

As a general concept, matchmaking is fundamentally simple.

It serves as a means to group players in online games, based on the experiences they are looking for, and the ability or skill level they bring. The motivation for matchmaking, of course, is about giving players a rewarding experience. Games are more enjoyable — and thus more engaging — if players are given just the right amount of challenge, or thrust into teams with a dynamic that suits their ability.

Robust, refined matchmaking isn’t just for the players’ sake, though. It equally matters to game studios and publishers because it directly…

In the midst of a year consumed by the COVID-19 pandemic, an atypical battle royale game emerged as something of a star of 2020. That game was Fall Guys, and for a few weeks after its launch on PC and PlayStation 4, it dazzled players, industry, press and brands alike.

Just a few months on, the Mediatonic-developed title appears to be struggling to retain players. Fall Guys has been a success in many ways, and should be celebrated as such. It has sold tremendously well, made a positive impact with regard to the games’ place in mainstream culture, provided a…

Beyond game design itself, there is perhaps no more vital effort in making a game successful than that of user acquisition.

After all, retaining and engaging players only begins when you have people downloading and playing your game. The notion of acquiring users in reality includes any way players find your game, including organic and word-of-mouth installs.

In this piece, however, we’ll be looking at formal and carefully planned UA approaches and processes that look to proactively find and secure more users for your game.

The art of user acquisition requires considerable effort analysing data, fine tuning content, A/B testing…

Joost Rietveld, Assistant Professor in Strategic Management at UCL School of Management returns to Department of Play with the second and final part of his look at the evolution of platforms — from digital game stores to the coming consoles. Part 1 can be found here. The insights presented in this series of articles are based on an academic study written by the author, and published in the Academy of Management Discoveries
Hearing stories and analysing data about game sales or downloads can be a bit of a mixed bag.

On the one hand, platforms like Steam and iOS boast…

In this specially contributed piece, Joost Rietveld, Assistant Professor in Strategic Management at UCL School of Management considers the evolution of platformsfrom digital game stores to the coming consolesand the developer strategies and revenue generation options that have emerged in tandem. The insights presented in this series of articles are based on an academic study written by the author, and published in the Academy of Management Discoveries.


These are exciting times for game developers and gamers alike.

We have recently seen two new gaming platforms enter the market in the form of the Epic Games…

Launch Date
: 4 February 2019
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Status: Worldwide
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One and Windows
Plus Switch (confirmed) and mobile (rumoured)
Genre: FPS
Similar to: PUBG, Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone

Most significantly, Apex Legends marks Electronic Arts’ move on the battle royale space dominated and defined by Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (commonly, ‘PUBG’). Developed by EA’s Respawn studio, the game endeavours to address some of the common design failings of the battle royale form, while innovating through the introduction of elements of the hero shooter genre. Apex Legends has met with considerable…

In this specially contributed piece, AppMagic CEO and Founder Max Samorukov shares the results of a statistical deconstruction of the relationship between game setting, genre, and how that relates to success.

When looking to understand a game’s success or potential, many of us choose to focus on monetisation models, retention frameworks, and other such factors. And rightly so. All of that is highly important.

At the same time, too often as individuals we can forget to give due attention to more fundamental elements of a given game — entities that can equally dictate a game’s accomplishments, and be analysed and…

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