Commandments of game design: David Anfossi, executive producer of Deus Ex Human Revolution


The latest in our commandments of game design series sees Eidos Montreal executive producer David Anfossi offer up his tips. Anfossi’s CV includes worked on Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. We published our own ten commandments last month, and you can keep track of all the collected rules by using the Commandments of game design search tag.


Avoid being superfluous!

Any game mechanics, systems, or other visual features must absolutely support the gaming experience or themes of the game. All wacky elements unrelated to the universe break the immersion of the player consciously or unconsciously… Avoid at all costs!


Notice to producers!

Never ever rely on a game designer to evaluate the duration of play time. Or, if you do, create a method for evaluating their evaluation: the evaluation of the game designer x 3 = play time. True fact!


Maintain direction!

Yes, we must remain flexible and adapt but this does not apply to the ambitions/directions defined by the creative team during the conception phase. We must stay on track! There is nothing more effective than displaying the ambitions of the game on the walls of the production floor; if there are doubts during development, developers can gather in front of the ‘wall of ambitions’ and answers will become clear and unanimous… it’s a proven technique! 95 per cent of the ambitions/directions set during the conception of Deus Ex: Human Revolution were met in the final game.


Work together!

The game must be built by all departments to ensure a perfect cohesion of all aspects of the gaming experience. It is important that story challenges game design, and Game Design challenges the visual direction, etc… If not, and these aspects are all treated separately, then the final experience will be completely disjointed. So do not neglect any expertise; all must have a representative from the conception phase on.

For comparison, here are our original ten commandments from 2003.