Tom Hall is joining casual mobile game developer PlayFirst because it will give him a chance to work on "cute, quirky and reasonable-sized titles" like he did during the early days of id Software, the developer told Polygon.
Hall, who previously worked on titles like Doom and Wolfenstein 3D, announced yesterday that he joined PlayFirst as a principal designer. While he may be better known for his work on first-person shooters, he believes that working with PlayFirst won't be that big a departure from his time at id.
"I started my career with a bunch of cute, quirky and reasonable-sized titles like Commander Keen and a lot of the early id games," he said. "In fact, at id, we did 13 games in one year, and we did all sorts of games — we did a mahjong game, we did all kinds of smaller games, and that was really really cool."
Hall told Polygon that the appeal of coming to a casual game company lies in the ability to create bite-sized gaming experiences that are still meaningful to people.
"In fact, at id, we did 13 games in one year, and we did all sorts of games ..."
"What we're making here is not like Final Fantasy 7 or something where you take 70-90 hours to play them," he said. "But in the end, you might actually play them for that long.
"You'll find a lot of people will say 'Should I play this casual game or should I play this hardcore game on my console?' and they'll often choose the casual game because, mentally, they know they can play in smaller increments."
According to Hall, those kinds of meaningful, bite-sized experiences are valuable to people, especially those who don't have the time to spend hours in a game like World of Warcraft. He believes he can practically apply his game development experience to PlayFirst titles to make those experiences that little bit more valuable.
"For me, my pure love in making games is making interesting characters and taking them on journeys, and making gameplay that's natural to the journey they're going on," he said. "I think it's a really strong fit for PlayFirst."
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