VAN, 03:38 PM
VAN, 03:38 PM

2023 Wrapped: Hear from the Creative Leaders at Room 8 Group

2023 Wrapped: Hear from the Creative Leaders at Room 8 Group

2023 left a significant mark on the entire game industry, influencing both major companies and small independent studios alike. We decided to discuss the year that passes, the games it introduced us to, and take a peek at what lies ahead with the creatives of Room 8 Group. Check out our brief interview with them and discover what drives our artistic minds!

Did our teams experiment with new pipelines, techniques, or technologies in 2023? What results and observations can you share?

Anastasia Shevchenko, 2D Division Art Director, Room 8 Studio:

Our work involves constant experimentation and choosing the best pipeline that meets the client’s requirements. I can’t imagine external partnerships without such practices. The game development world is constantly evolving, and we evolve with it. Currently, there’s a strong emphasis on creativity and thoughtfulness in concepts. This year, we thought a lot before starting to draw, and it allowed us to participate in some of the best projects of the year.

Maksym Makovsky, 3D Division Art Director, Room 8 Studio:

Working on multiple AAA projects, utilizing various engines and software, gives us a level of experience that is rare to find elsewhere. And this expertise truly helps, especially when our teams integrate with the clients’ pipeline as early as the pre-production stage. That way, we have opportunities to experiment, contribute ideas, and help set the project’s foundation. While not all experiments work, this is a part of the process of delivering beautiful and well-optimized games for the target platforms.

Matthew Zoern, Head of Studio, Solid Bash:

The key differentiator this year was the way we approach the development production pipeline. We optimized the production framework and got better visibility than in past projects. We also see the fruits of our decisions from three years ago, when we successfully built LiveOps and full-cycle development, which turned out to be a great call.

Hunter Wright, Associate Game Director, Dragons Lake:

We’ve been using Unreal’s World Partition system a lot, exploring its capabilities in creating massive open worlds and examining how we can apply these techniques to both client projects and our internal efforts. The results so far are really promising.

As you look back at 2023, what is your personal pick for The Game of the Year among the games Room 8 Group’s brands worked on?

Roland Birsan, Head of Production, Dragons Lake:

My favorite game among those we have worked on at Dragons Lake is Lords of the Fallen. Our team developed online components and core functionality for this title, and I should confess that I’ve been spending way too many evenings playing this game. It’s that good!

Matthew Zoern, Head of Studio, Solid Bash:

The one that sticks out is Redline Royale. It is a super fun battle royale racing game and our first LiveOps project. We launched that game, did optimization work, and are currently working on sponsoring and advertising aspects. Judging by the scope of our work made for this game, this is definitely my pick for the game of the year. 

Hunter Wright, Associate Game Director, Dragons Lake:

For me, it’s Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. I mean, it’s got everything that you could want in a Star Wars game. It’s a great sequel to Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order that expands on its strengths while introducing a lot of new and innovative features. And it’s a very immersive, engaging experience for both Star Wars fans and action-adventure game fans. I also like the job we did on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. I have a lot of friends who work on this game from the Activision side. It’s great that we can collaborate with them and help them to make this game.

Maksym Makovsky, 3D Division Art Director, Room 8 Studio:

My pick for the Game of the Year in 2023 is definitely Alan Wake 2. I am proud of our 3D Environment and Hard Surface team, who delivered outstanding assets over the course of three years of dedicated work. The game received multiple nominations at the latest Game Awards and won three, including one for Art Direction.

Anastasia Shevchenko, 2D Division Art Director, Room 8 Studio:

It’s too hard to pick just one, so I have to pick both Diablo IV and Alan Wake 2. Two incredibly beautiful games with a focus on atmosphere and details. Both of them are stellar examples of game developers paying extra attention to aesthetics and narrative, which is very pleasing.

Which game coming out in 2024 are you most excited about?

Hunter Wright, Associate Game Director, Dragons Lake:

I’ve got two. The first one is Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth. I’m a big fan of the Yakuza/Like a Dragon series, the last one turned out to be among my favorite games in the series. So I am sure that this upcoming title is going to be another classic in the series. The second one is Dragon’s Dogma 2. The original was kind of a cult classic with a ton of cool features and crazy boss battles, so I am thrilled for the sequel. 

Maksym Makovsky, 3D Division Art Director, Room 8 Studio:

I am skipping 2024 and looking forward to 2025. Can’t wait for the release of GTA VI.

Anastasia Shevchenko, 2D Division Art Director, Room 8 Studio:

Never too late to hope for Half-Life 3! 🙂

Roland Birsan, Head of Production, Dragons Lake:

I would say Throne and Liberty. It looks like a great MMO with a Lineage vibe to it, so I can’t wait.

What are your expectations from 2024 in gaming? What emerging shifts do you see coming to the industry next year?

Matthew Zoern, Head of Studio, Solid Bash:

I think that we see changes in the overall idea of mobile games. Right now, there is an ongoing transition from fast games that feed your compulsion to quality games. As we move through times now, we are also seeing platforms being much more agnostic, which was also a big theme this year. I would also point out the trend of a lot of non-gaming companies trying to find new ways to make their product visible through games. We started to do more research in that direction, and explore the ways of integrating marketing experiences in games like Fortnite. This venue looks promising, so next year, we plan to offer a new service aimed at that to our clients, too.

Roland Birsan, Head of Production, Dragons Lake:

The game industry surprises me every two or three years. If GTA VI is going to be as much of a hit as everyone expects, it can create a wave of similar projects from smaller studios. And if it really resonates in the community, it gets picked up by bigger studios as well. We’ve already seen this with the battle royale genre and PUBG a few years back.

Overall, creating games primarily for fun, not for profit, is the secret ingredient that makes them better. From what I see, more and more modern games are designed for fun first and profit second. A good game brings profit as the collateral.

Anastasia Shevchenko, 2D Division Art Director, Room 8 Studio:

Looking back at this year, there were a lot of successful releases that combined open-world elements (like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom) with strong graphics (Baldur’s Gate 3 and Alan Wake 2). I look forward to next year’s releases that will meet this standard. I believe many developers will pay more attention to these trends. From my subjective perspective, I’m eagerly awaiting indie projects to find their rightful place, where the focus has always been on heart and narrative.

Maksym Makovsky, 3D Division Art Director, Room 8 Studio:

In 2024, I expect further significant advancements in AI technologies for game development. I am particularly interested in 3D asset and character generation, following the breakthroughs already seen in 2D image creation. I expect these innovations to revolutionize the way we produce games.

Hunter Wright, Associate Game Director, Dragons Lake:

I think user-generated content will continue to become a bigger part of gaming. It’s a powerful tool that can help you connect with gamers on a deeper level and drive engagement. It’s great for letting fans try to develop certain things, building up on the concepts and foundation laid by the developer. We intend to learn how to leverage it in games where it’s appropriate.

Check out the portfolios of Dragons Lake, Room 8 Studio, and Solid Bash, and stay tuned for more in 2024! 🎉

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