160 Predictability Vs Consistency

In game design, consistency is good. Your player learns what to expect from the game, what they can and can’t do, and how. But the distinction between consistency and predictability is important. Predictability is tired, boring, and potentially frustrating. Predictable game designs are those titles that seem on the outside that they should be fun, usually have excitement and hype around them, but ultimately score low with gamers and critics.

Predictability can be found in the narrative, the interaction, the AI, the music, and even in the general mechanics design. It’s the reason why so many match-3 games aren’t exciting to many long-time gamers (and subsequently why the occasional match-3 game that mixes it up in a unique way can be a big hit).

There’s no hard and fast solution to what creates consistency versus predicability in games, but it’s something important to keep in mind when designing fun and innovative interactive experiences.

June 9, 2015