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Infinity Blade designed for toilet play

Numb legs taken into consideration.

Epic's hit iOS slash 'em up Infinity Blade was specifically designed so that it could comfortably be played on the toilet, so says its creator.

Developer Chair Entertainment's creative director Donald Mustard made the frank admission during a post mortem presentation at the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco today.

Mustard explained that "short session gameplay" was one of the four key design pillars that the game was built around.

"The biggest thing that nobody wanted to say but was actually the truth, was that everyone was playing these games while going to the bathroom," he explained, discussing the R&D period before development proper started.

"I think that's a truth that we have to accept and we have to consider in our designs. That's something we actively thought about. When we were balancing Infinity Blade we were thinking about how long it would take for your leg to go numb while you were sitting on the toilet. You laugh, but it's true.

"We need to have a game that can be played, meaningfully, in less than two minutes," he added. "That became one of our 'pillars': super, super, super short-session gameplay."

He went on to explain the other three rules he set for development. Firstly, the whole game had to be playable with just one finger.

Secondly, the gameplay had to be original, unique and completely tailored to the iPhone. Expanding on that ethos, Mustard insisted that when it came to touch screen games, "If your game would be great with a controller, you are making the wrong game."

Lastly, he demanded that Infinity Blade be entirely skill-based, rather than relying on fortune or repetition. "Easy to grasp, difficult to master," he read from a slide.

As it turned out, it was a winning recipe. Infinity Blade carved out a glowing 8/10 endorsement from Eurogamer's Mark Brown and has been a huge commercial success. Mustard wouldn't reveal concrete figures, but confirmed that "millions" of people had played the game.

The Chair chief also revealed that the next round of free DLC for the title was almost ready, but wouldn't confirm a release date.

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Fred Dutton


Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.