We’re glad to present an interview with David Sirlin, a famous video and tabletop game designer and fighting game player, the developer of Codex: Card-Time Strategy.
The interview features the captivating story of the 10-year history of Codex and problems it tried to solve, as well as answers to the question why this game is so successful and which faction David likes best himself. Read on!
Hi David, to the people who don’t know about David Sirlin, who are you? What do you do?
I’m a game developer and former pro fighting game player. I wrote the competitive gaming book Playing to Win and I was lead designer of Capcom’s Street Fighter HD Remix and Puzzle Fighter HD Remix.
I’ve designed and published several tabletop games, including Yomi, Puzzle Strike, and Codex, and I’m currently working on a video game called Fantasy Strike.
How did you start designing games and board games in particular?
I worked in the video game industry for a long time. As I worked at several different companies, and did consulting for lots more companies, I saw so many of them make bad games.
I started to realize one of the reasons they made bad games was each company’s “burn rate”. That means the amount of money they have to pay employees every month. If a game needed, say, 8 more months of development, maybe they could only afford 1 month of salaries, so they’d have to finish and release it anyway.
I wanted to make a game that I thought was very good quality, so I started thinking about how to not fall into the burn rate problem.
By developing a card game, I wouldn’t have to pay a team of programmers every month for a long time. I could do all the graphic design myself. For character art, I could pay contractors. If such a game needed more months of development, I’d only have to worry about my own expenses, rather than the expenses of a whole team. This way it could take as long as it needed.
This is how I developed Yomi. It turned out that getting the art I needed for Yomi took so long that I developed Puzzle Strike and Flash Duel while waiting for the Yomi art to finish.