Gameplay Pillars – Death is Progression

9 Lives: Casey & Sphynx

“No Pain, No Gain!” is the famous saying, so can the ultimate pain, Death, be the ultimate gain?

Back in the arcade game days, game design became all about killing the player within 2.5 minutes, therefore, making the player spend more money. With free to play games going in a similar direction in 2013, design based on killing the player to encourage more and more money to be spent is now prevalent, the concept of death to progress became even more interesting to us.

What if you could design a game where death happens on purpose, and in fact you need to die to CaseyandSphinx-02progress? Especially if you combine that concept with the dichotomy of reducing the number of deaths to score higher points and be rewarded for replaying the level in a faster and smarter way, not just on your own but with a friend without losing the excitement and fun of killing the player in fun ways.

This is our challenge with 9 Lives! We have designed and are building 9 Lives in a way that will test the single and co-op player to solve the puzzle using sacrifice. We have found that sacrifice is fun, it creates moments of hilarity between players that we didn’t think would occur, the unpredictable behaviour of even your best friend, or son in my case, created fun game moments, that to be honest I have only really experienced in a few titles.

Sacrifice is interesting in other ways. In gameplay testing – people were frightened to die:

Gamer –  “I don’t know what to do?”

HMG – “why?”

Gamer – “well if I go through that door I am going to die”

HMG – “but that is ok”

Gamer – “hmmm, ok…hah that was pretty funny….awesome check out the body.. and I can use it as a platform, who knew death could be so fun”


This brings a whole new emotion to griefing!

We will talk about more of the elements of 9 Lives as we head towards launch.


1 comment
  1. 25b766_8 said:

    I need to to thank you for this fantastic read!!

    I absolutely enjoyed every little bit of it. I’ve got you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post…

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