Invent

Trade Secrets: Andy Schatz


Our stealth interview series continues with Pocketwatch Games’ Andy Schatz, developer of top-down heist game Monaco.

 


Pocketwatch Games
Developer:
Andy Schatz (Founder)
Game: Monaco
Due: 2012
www.monacoismine.com

 

Andy Schatz isn’t looking to make a stealth game; rather, stealth was simply a natural fit for the multiplayer heist mechanics of Monaco – a game about breaking in, taking all and leaving nothing. Here, we talk to the founder of Pocketwatch Games about his ideas for potential avenues stealth gameplay could explore.


Sneaky Bastards: What is it that attracts you to stealth gameplay?

Schatz: Hide and Seek. There is no modern game that has given me the same thrill as outsmarting a friend while hiding behind mom’s flower bushes in the backyard. Or when we trained my dog to track scents and so we had to learn to run in circles and in erratic directions in order to confuse the trail. I’ve always tried to take inspiration for my games from non-games… I think that in general it’s best to not allow game designs to be too inbred.


Why do you think stealth games fell out of popularity?

Did they? I guess I haven’t been paying attention. I feel like tons of games have a stealth option, like Skyrim and Uncharted. Although I have to admit that it always feels out of place in those games, in terms of pacing. I suspect it’s not that they fell out of popularity but more that their market share didn’t grow as fast as some other genres.


What are your thoughts on stealth gameplay being included as one possible path or playstyle, as opposed to the main focus of a game?

It often feels out of place. In many games where it’s an option, the risk/reward is out of balance with the rest of the gameplay. For instance, in the Uncharted series, stealth is incredibly useful, but it’s take five times as long and if you screw up, you have blown your cover for good. In some of the RPGs which offer “stealth” gameplay, sneaking past your enemies means you don’t get the XP and loot for killing them. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with the concept of having stealth as an option, but I have yet to see a game really get it right.


I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with the concept of having stealth as an option, but I have yet to see a game really get it right.


What would a way forward for stealth gameplay be?

The evolution of game design doesn’t happen linearly. It’s a branching path. There is no “forward” and “backward” in game design. My particular philosophy, which doesn’t apply to everyone, is that I like to try to design games around non-game systems. I take inspiration from movies, playground games, nature, etc, and then try to understand the mechanics that drive those systems. Then I use gaming tropes to try to build those systems into something that is accessible to gamers.

I’m not sure I can describe what kind of stealth games I’d like to see in the future, because I think the important thing about so-called stealth games is generally a genre-less concept: the thrill of outsmarting your pursuers and the fear of being caught. This basic concept runs across many genres. Any game that can viscerally evoke these emotions is one that I’m interesting in playing!


Thanks, Andy! Read more stealth interviews at the Trade Secrets hub, and return tomorrow for a conversation with Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s Game Director, Jean-Francois Dugas.

Daniel Hindes

Further Investigation
Trade Secrets: Tom Francis
Gunpoint's Tom Francis sneaks in to the Trade Secrets stealth interview series to give us his idea of a Psychic Hitman.
READ MORE
Trade Secrets: Frank van Gemeren
Project Stealth's Producer, Frank van Gemeren, tells us ghosting is the ultimate form of stealth gameplay in this Trade Secrets stealth interview.
READ MORE
Trade Secrets: Alex Quick
Depth Team's lead developer, Alex Quick, talks the thrill of multiplayer stealth in today's Trade Secrets stealth interview.
READ MORE
Trade Secrets: Bruno Bulhoes
Aduge Studio's Bruno Brulhoes talks pacing and platforming in the fourth-last Trade Secrets stealth interview.
READ MORE
Trade Secrets: Michal Marcinkowski
Trade Secrets continues with the creator of sidescrolling multiplayer shooters Soldat and Link-Dead, Michal Marcinkowski.
READ MORE
The Darkest Project: Tangiers Stealth Preview
We speak to Alex Harvey, one half of Andalusian and developer of dark avant-garde stealth game, Tangiers.
READ MORE
The Sensei of Stealth – Mark of the Ninja Post-Release Interview
We pull Mark of the Ninja's Lead Designer, Nels Anderson, out of the shadows for round of post-release questioning.
READ MORE
Smoke And Mirrors – Mark Of The Ninja Interview
With sneaky sidescroller Mark of the Ninja releasing this week on XBLA, we chat to Klei Entertainment's Nels Anderson about the game's devotion to hardcore stealth gameplay.
READ MORE
Eat And Grow Fat
From Pac-Man to Metal Gear Solid, we explore simplicity in stealth and the pursuit of consumption. It's time to take Snake Eater literally...
READ MORE
Trade Secrets: Patrick Redding
Trade Secrets: The Stealth Interview Series concludes by way of a chat with Patrick Redding, Game Director on the next Splinter Cell title currently in development at Ubisoft Toronto.
READ MORE
Trade Secrets: Tom Francis
Trade Secrets: Frank van Gemeren
Trade Secrets: Alex Quick
Trade Secrets: Bruno Bulhoes
Trade Secrets: Michal Marcinkowski
The Darkest Project: Tangiers Stealth Preview
The Sensei of Stealth – Mark of the
Smoke And Mirrors – Mark Of The Ninja
Eat And Grow Fat
Trade Secrets: Patrick Redding

One Response to Trade Secrets: Andy Schatz

  1. By tetracycloide, March 30, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    “the thrill of outsmarting your pursuers”

    This is what is most often lacking from games that allow stealth as a side option. Skyrim was a pretty good example of a game that simply included stealth without including any real stealth play. Do you outsmart your enemy by crouching and having a high enough stealth level? Not really. It just never feels like you’re being clever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Taffer Tweets

One of us!

Want to become a Sneaky Bastard? Send a sample article to sneakybastards AT gmail DOT com

Alert your friends to our presence:

Scroll to top