Check out our interview with Philippe Pelletier-Baribault, Designer and Co-Studio Head at Sweet Bandits Studios, the team behind “Deceive Inc.

How long have you been working in the games industry?

About 12 years now.

What’s the story behind your game?

I’m a huge fan of player creativity in pvp games. The original seed that led to creating Deceive Inc. was planted when looking at some of the strategies people would use in Dark Souls PVP. Some players who disguise themselves as mobs present in the level and act like them to take other players by surprise. That was a really inspiring idea and as we looked deeper into it, we thought that the spy theme was a perfect match to really dig into this. Of course, many other games inspired us along the way: The old assassin’s creed multiplayer, Garry’s Mod, The ship. The list of inspirations is pretty long, but they all share a DNA of giving players options to mess with their enemies.

What was your role in this game?

I’m a designer on the game, doing a bit of level design and game design in pretty equal measure. I’m also Co-Studio Head so I spend quite a bit of time planning ahead for future content and additions to the game.

Why this game?

We’ve created our studio with the idea of making fresh multiplayer games with innovative ideas. We think there is still quite a bit of untapped potential in how games can leverage player vs player interactions. Deceive Inc. was a very natural extension of that goal.

What has the reception of the game been like?

It’s been great! There is always that fear when working on something that is not a direct one to one analog to another game on the market that people might not “get it”, that what we see in it is not easy to see to the outside world. It’s safe to say that people did see it and that removed a huge weight on our shoulders.

Any important lessons learned in the game since release?

Too many to count honestly! One big thing we really came to learn is that a lot of our players are quite simply much better at the game than we are. That really changes how we have to look at introducing some mechanics and how we think about skills for characters as we need to project them into higher level plays than what we can do with them ourselves. It’s a fun, if daunting, challenge.

Work Life

What does your day-to-day look like?

It’s quite varied. One of the things that comes from being a small team is the wide array of tasks a single person gets to work on. In my case, a day could be spent designing a new system to present to the team, prototyping mechanics in-engine, lighting a level or looking at overall balance of the roster. I think that’s one of the most interesting aspects of the indie life: you get to learn a lot of skills.

A lot of readers also want to work in games, what advice do you have for those wanting to work in gaming? Especially for your role?

Start creating playable stuff. There are more and more games that allow players to create their own content and I think there is no better way to flex your design muscle than to create content that can be played, outside of the realm of pure theory. I myself used to make maps in far cry in my younger days. Despite being terrible maps by all metrics, they helped tremendously to gain a better understanding of what makes a good (or bad) map. 

Is the game accessible for new players?

The learning curve can be a bit daunting at first with the sheer number of options, but we have a tutorial that will run you through the basics to get you field ready. For a new player I’d say your best bet is to stay low profile as you learn the game, using the stealth mechanics to take the time to soak in the feel of the game before getting into the action.

What’s the best way to learn/master the game?

There are some great content creators playing the game on twitch, sharing on our discord. I think watching some of the top players is always very educative (if not a bit out of reach from depending on the skill level). They are sure to pick up quite a few tricks from watching them. 

Any cool community stories to share?

I think my favorite part of the community reception has been the emergence of the Deceive Inc. Lore community. I just can’t get enough of watching them come up with wild theories and see them guess some stuff we barely even hinted at yet. It really energizes us to go even farther with this kind of stuff and look into expanding the universe we created.

How do you balance implementing community suggestions/feedback with following your own design/vision choices?

We keep our overall schedule rather flexible. We have big ticket items worked on from a long time in advance. This includes new characters, new maps, but we keep very flexible on the system changes and balance to the overall game to be able to pivot with community feedback.

Anything you can share about future plans for your studio?

We are still all-in on Deceive Inc. The entire team is working on it and we have quite a few major new content drops planned from the near feature to longer term.

Anything you want to plug before we sign off?

Yes! Be sure to join our DI discord to have a close look at all upcoming releases. Of course, you can buy the game on Steam, Epic Game Store, PS5 and Xbox to jump right in. There has never been a better time with Season 2 dropping.

Bonus Questions!

Favorite game of all time?

I’d have to give to The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind. It was truly a mind-blowing moment for me first playing it and the world, atmosphere and overall experience still sticks with me today.

First real game you ever played?

Might have been Maelstrom for mac I think. I’m not entirely sure though.

Games you’re playing the most right now, when you have time?

Hunt: Showdown. Probably my favorite multiplayer title and one of the game I find the most inspiring in sticking to its vision and bringing something very fresh thanks to it.

One Underrated Game that you think more people should play?

Not sure if it qualifies as underrated entirely, but Kenshi is a absolutely fantastic game I don’t hear enough about.

One Overrated game that you never really got into?

I’m terrible at and really hate playing League of Legends. I think that counts?! 

What element matters most to you in a game?

I’m really a “fresh ideas over polish” kind of person overall. I much prefer a rougher game that has incredibly innovative mechanic or well though system than a perfectly executed game with no new ideas. I am definitely on the gameplay and immersion side of that equation.

  • This is actually really relatable

  • Love these interviews with folks who develop games...  It gives you insight to their thought process and personality!

  • How's the game? Anyone playing it? 

  • Wow this looks really good. Please bring it to the Xbox and Nintendo switch. Elder Scrolls is a great game. I didn't play Morrowind much, but liked the next game.

  • great to see inside the mind of a creative genius