The Abstract

Marvel’s Avengers and Genshin Impact: Designing the perfect video game

In this episode, we offer an inside glimpse into the development of video games.

Mrs. Marvel in Marvel's Avengers.
Crystal Dynamics / Square Enix

Since the earliest days of video games, players and developers alike have argued over the most important aspect of the gaming experience.

From the plot to the characters to the precise way graphics splash across the screen, video game creators have mastered the art of gameplay.

Whether it’s figuring out how to make a despised video game genre irresistible like the breakthrough game Genshin Impact or orchestrating the perfect sound that tells a compelling story about the game as a whole — like the sound composers of Marvel’s Avengers managed to do — a look behind the curtain unravels the complex science of developing games.

In the end, there’s making games — and then there’s making money. (Which is the real music to developers’ ears…)

In this episode of The Abstract, we offer an inside glimpse into the development of video games.

In our first story, the composer of Marvel’s Avengers describes how music designers create a unique sound for each video game. With music able to subtly influence a player’s very mood, sound design has emerged as a critical aspect of gaming development.

Our second story is about how free-to-play role playing game Genshin Impact made over $100 million in less than two weeks after launching. While the game remains free, its meteoric success shows how much money “gacha” games can really make in a competitive gaming space.

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Right now, facts and science matter more than ever. That's part of the reason for The Abstract, this all-new podcast from the Inverse staff that focuses exclusively on science and innovation. Three new episodes are released a week, and each covers one theme via two related stories. Each features audio of original Inverse reporting, where the facts and context take center stage. It's hosted by the Tanya Bustos of WSJ Podcasts. Because we're Inverse, it's all true but slightly off-kilter. It's made for people who want to know the whole story. Nick Lucchesi, executive editor, Inverse