Mar 8, 2021
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Valheim’s biggest secret? Trusting the player

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I’m utterly charmed by the early access survival game Valheim, and with over 4 million copies sold since launch, I’m not alone. I’m also an avid survival game fan, and play pretty much every example of the genre that I can find.

But something about Valheim is different. More refined and elegant. It all comes down to one thing: Design negative space.

The concept came up while I was sitting with our design team at Blackbird Interactive during our weekly Design Sync, in which we discuss recent games, design principles and phenomena. The team is made up of brilliant designers of all career stages: Elliot Hudson, our creative director; Jeremy Hardy, who leads our ship team; Ian Longiaru and Ryan LeMesurier, who are part of the…

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