Interview: The Game Design Team

The Game Design Team conceptualizes new features and gameplay elements for World of Tanks Blitz and works with a team of artists and programmers to introduce them in-game. Stepan Drozd and Konstantin Chernyakov tell us about what it’s like to work in a tightly-knit team that has long since become like a second family to all its members.

Stepan is the head of the Game Design Team in the World of Tanks Blitz Department. As he puts it, his team oversees the “brainwork” of the whole project. Before something is ever sent to production, it’s his team that develops a concept for it and prepares a game-design document for their colleagues. After that, employees from the other teams turn this original vision into game elements, whether it's the balance, the game's economic system, vehicle combat characteristics or a host of other core game components.

Konstantin, or Kostya, is the head of the Level Design Team. He works closely with the Art Team, designing and creating original battle arenas for World of Tanks Blitz. “I’m responsible for the whole process of map production—from the creation of concepts to communication with the QA Team and the release of the map.

And of course, both Kostya and Stepan play World of Tanks Blitz a lot.

“We played the soft launch version of the game at home and play-test the project at work to gain insight into whether the game is achieving its set goals. It’s a critical phase of the development process, especially when we add significant new elements or mechanics,” says Kostya.

Stepan and his team often play World of Tanks Blitz together. It helps them to see the big picture and take into account all the issues while the game was still in development. They both felt satisfied with the soft launch.

Stepan and Kostya were amongst the members of the original team that started working on World of Tanks Blitz. Kostya, for example, was the game’s first level designer and is one of the few who can recall the working title of the game: Sniper.

It is no surprise that they treat the game like their baby.

“The game will live, grow and evolve with us like in any family,” says Stepan. Kostya backs him up. “We’ve raised the project like our own child and continue to help it develop.”

The two of them were highly enthusiastic about the global release and excited to hear what the global gaming community would think of their project. “It’s always exciting to look at a job well done from an outside perspective,” Kostya explains.

Stepan believes that the development of the game is more like a family, because it evolved from a team of only a few dozen members. Now, every department has only one or two people from the original team that preserve the earlier philosophy of unity and friendship in the newly grown team.

Stepan is sure that such close relationships in the team help game designers do what they do; however, discipline and responsibility come first when working on such an important and complicated project as World of Tanks Blitz.

Kostya believes that the past two years have helped bring the team together even more, not just as friends but as a team of professionals.

“During the first year of development, we didn’t communicate a whole lot with our colleagues from the PC version of World of Tanks,” admits Stepan. “As time went by, though, we realized that the closer we were working together, the better results we got. The team of World of Tanks on PC shared information about the difficulties they had while developing the game. We then took this into consideration when we developed World of Tanks Blitz.”

Outside the office, Kostya is an avid hockey player and participates in the “Wargamers” team. Stepan plays Defense of the Ancients (DotA), loves card games and participates in Wargaming corporate poker tournaments.

Both Stepan and Kostya are unanimous in their belief that the whole team can call World of Tanks Blitz their dream project or the project of their lives.

When it comes to giving credit to their colleagues, Stepan is sure that creating something amazing takes both complete commitment and a high interest of all the participants. Each and every member of his team has invested a lot in the project. He’d like to thank the developers who generated, created and coded the countless number of features for the game, as well as the artists from the Art Department and the Framework Department who literally make everything work. “Whatever we designed was miraculously implemented by the other teams,” says Stepan. “The QA Department was the forefront of our team. They’ve put great effort into the process of making a really cool game.”

“Every person in our Department deserves personal praise,” adds Kostya. “And even that is not enough to show how much I appreciate what some of the guys have done for the project. I’d like to thank all the guys from the Art Department who have become my second family, as well as Mumza, Lyska, and Lera. I’d also like to single out Katya Apet, who has been with us for almost a year, and Alesya Savicheva, our HR Manager, who became a part of our close-knit family.”

Stepan is sure their success would not be possible without the management team of Andrew Karpiuk, Vitaliy Borodovsky, Dmitry Yudo, and Alexey Alexeev, who created the perfect conditions for their team to achieve all their goals and see their visions become a reality.

Kostya thinks of the global release as the first step in a long journey with new features, ideas and maps to follow. Stepan is certain that World of Tanks Blitz will simply be the best mobile tank game in the world.