If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Learn more.

Devs from Failbetter, Red Hook and ArenaNet to face the impossible at PAX West

What if games, but too much

It’s often said that the more restrictions you’re working against, the more creative you’ll become. We’re planning to test that theory to its limits next Friday at PAX West, where our Nate will be inviting a team of developers to puzzle their way around some real thinkabouters in Rock Paper Shotgun’s Game Design Hotseat.

How could you make a grand strategy game with only six old Casio calculators for display? How would you design a massively multiplayer online beat ‘em up? What about an FPS controlled with a trombone? We won’t be posing these questions (because we’ve just put them here and that ruins the surprise), but we’ll be posing questions just like them, and giving the team a tablet to sketch out their workings as they scramble for answers.

Taking on the challenges will be Hannah Flynn of Failbetter Games, Jennifer Scheurle from ArenaNet, and Chris Bourassa from Red Hook Studios. Given that between them, their studios are responsible for Sunless Skies, Darkest Dungeon and the Guild Wars series, we reckon they’ll have a good few tricks up their sleeves.

Sunless skies, Failbetter's recent flying-train-em-'up

If you’re headed to Seattle for PAX next week, we think this would be a pretty good way to kick off your event, as it’s going to be happening at noon on day one (that’s Friday 30th, if we’re doing formal details), at the Sphinx theatre in the Sheraton. Bring your best game design headscratchers for the quickfire round - or leave them in the comments so we can shamelessly steal the best of them!

(In case you didn't already see, Nate's got quite a schedule at PAX West. On Friday night he'll be summoning a real ghost to interview a panel of strategy experts, while on Saturday he's going to be talking about sexy, sexy vampires with Bloodlines 2's Cara Ellison. He'll be playing Dwarf Fortress with Tarn Adams on Sunday, before giving an incredibly serious lecture about Jason Statham, and challenging artists and fellow journalists to a bit o' the old MS Paint. Please go along and ensure he doesn't lose his mind.)

About the Author

RPS avatar



The all-seeing eye of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, the voice of many-as-one.

Join the Rock Paper Shotgun supporter program

Sign up today and get access to more articles like these, an ad-free reading experience, free gifts, and help us create more great writing about PC games.

See more information


We love having a friendly, positive and constructive community - you lot are great - and we want to keep it like that. Our main commenting rule is "be excellent to each other". Please see our code of conduct, where you can find out what "be excellent" means. TL;DR? Respect others, think before you post, and be prepared for puns.

More News

Latest Articles

We've been talking, and we think that you should wear clothes

Total coincidence, but we sell some clothes

Rock Paper Shotgun Merch