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Hello Games: design docs are "insane"

"It's like writing a recipe and not cooking."

Sean Murray of Joe Danger indie studio Hello Games has told a Eurogamer Expo audience that writing design documents for games is "an insane idea".

"You can't have design documents," Murray said. "Writing what a game is going to be is just an insane idea to me. It's like sitting down to write a recipe and never actually cooking something."

Murray reckons Hello Games' loose approach to game design - detailed in our interview today - was used to make the classic Japanese games the Hello Games team idolises.

"I don't think you could design Street Fighter II on paper. You wouldn't know if it was fun or not. Everything I've read about those developers is that everything was itereative, everything was 'cooked'."

But Murray thinks it wouldn't have been possible to make Joe Danger in this way if the four-man indie had signed to a publisher.

"We had the benefit of not having a publisher, we had time to develop things, we weren't driven by milestones.

"We stole ideas [from classic games]... and we had the freedom to do that. That was a huge part of our process. When you look at games in the regular industry, you wish that those developers had that freedom."

It's not that the Hello Games team doesn't have outsiders making demands of it, however. Murray and his colleagues are bossed around by their fans instead, he said.

"We don't have a publisher, we have gamers. And gamers tell us what they want. And they want Joe to be a monkey."

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About the Author
Oli Welsh avatar

Oli Welsh


Oli was Eurogamer's MMO Editor before a seven-year stint as Editor. He worked here for a colossal 14 years, shaping the website and leading it.

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