Ken Wong is a lead designer and artist at ustwo games where he worked directly on their wildly popular iOS game Monument Valley and their latest VR venture Lands End. Ken talks about the challenges of following up a success like Monument Valley and how he and the team are always finding ways to remind themselves what it is they love about creating. He shares his passion for game design and how he believes the industry is pushing the boundaries like never before. It was clear talking with Ken that he is a true artist with a serious love for his craft.
Tell me a little bit about your current role and the work that you're doing right now?
At ustwo games we've been pretty loose about roles and responsibilities. When we worked on Monument Valley I really didn't have a formal title. I became the lead of that project sort of organically. Afterwards, when I started talking publicly about Monument Valley I had to make up a title for myself [laughs]. I called myself "Lead Designer", and we've run with that. I suppose in other places it might be the equivalent of Creative Director. I have a role in art direction, coming up with stories and game ideas. Also working with some of the less experienced designers and working with producers and technical folks to get projects made.
Things are always changing. I don't know how much you know about game development, but unlike say, film or writing the medium is so fluid. You're constantly inventing. It would be like film except if you were constantly re-inventing the camera or inventing the language of film. The language of video games is constantly shifting, and because of that our team is constantly in flux and changing.
Currently, my role is helping some of the other guys get into the field of game design. They may have done some level of design work; or art direction before. A lot of people, they want to have their shot at being a game designer. The way we see it, it's a bit like being a director of a film, with a lot of responsibility in terms of making decisions. I'm coming up with exercises, and passing on what I know and training them up.