Interview Game Designer - Jessica Covini

How would you define the job of game designer at KT? Can you tell us more about your role at Kylotonn?

Our main mission is to design and structure the overall architecture of the game so that it is coherent and functional at the time of its release, while remaining fun for players. We're talking macro when we're talking about the basic principles of the game, and micro when we're talking about the details. Everything has to be thought through so that it has an impact on the players. We come up with a basic design that evolves throughout the project to make it as interesting as possible for the different player profiles, while respecting the production constraints that change as the project progresses. We're involved in all aspects of games, so we need to be familiar with the other professions around us. There are several types of game designer. For example, in my team, some specialise in the competitive aspect, while others concentrate on economics, art, storytelling, cinematic design, etc. For my part, I prefer storytelling, but I do a bit of everything. I like the fact that I can be versatile. 

Can you tell us about your background?

In high school I studied literature. After the baccalaureate* (*T.N: French high school diploma), I wanted to enter a design school, but the price of the formation was really high. So I decided to go study language in University, and I did a LEA (*T.N: French diploma in foreign languages) in English and Chinese. In my third year, I looked for video game schools that offered a shorter program, and I found Gamagora. I was able to do a one-year formation in level design. Afterwards, I went on to a master's degree in audiovisual and video games, specializing in interactive writing. It is as part of this formation that I did my final internship at Kylotonn. I was working on WRC 8 at the beginning, then WRC 9 and TT2 as QA. Finally, I switched back to game design for TDUSC. What's great is that I got to touch several jobs, and see several sides of game development. 

What do you like the most about your job?

I'm lucky enough to have a really great team on TDUSC. We don't all have the same experience levels, but it's a great opportunity because we don't see things the same way. We do a lot of thinking together, and in the end we always manage to move forward in one direction by learning from each other. It's a job where we need to share a lot in order to achieve the right result. We always need feedback and outside views. As game designers, we have technical restrictions but we also have space for creativity. The beginning of the creation of a project is always very rewarding. When our ideas become reality and are implemented in the final game, it's always a moment when we feel proud. In the end, game designers are a bit of a Swiss army knife, as we learn to adapt to many different subjects throughout a production, which is really very instructive. But my favorite part of my job is teamwork!

Tell us about your typical day?

We usually start the day with a daily meeting where we expose all the current issues and progress on our topics. We also review the background tasks, the new requirements, and what can be improved. I don't have a standard day, but generally I progress on my tasks until they are validated. I also exchange with the other departments to make sure that what we have designed is correctly implemented in the game. Depending on the feedback we receive, we also make changes and adjustments to our tasks until we get it right. 

What qualities do you consider essential for your job?

First and foremost, you need to be open-minded to the feedback we get from our work. You also need to be able to adapt and anticipate technical constraints. So, above all, you need to be rigorous and organised. It's not always easy at first, so you have to communicate well with your team and not hesitate to ask for help.
It's not a quality in itself, but knowing the vocabulary and basics of other professions saves everyone time. Since we do a lot of work together, it helps us to understand the issues they will face when implementing our ideas.
In short, the most important thing in this job is to love video games, and to enjoy passing on your passion and creativity!

What was your favorite project to work on?

Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown! It's the biggest project I've ever worked on, and it's a project where you are very creative and you can bring your own touch to the game. It's very interesting, and then the project comes from almost nothing. We create it, we see it grow, it's kind of our baby! 

June 27, 2022