MEET THE HELLWORKERS: MANU MENDILUCE

How is your typical day at Tequila Works?

My day starts before arriving to the office, as I ride the bus using Duolingo, as I need to improve my English. After arriving, we hold two meetings in a row. First, we meet with the whole team in order to get up to date with the game, the different departments, etc. Then, we move to the Design Team daily, where we tackle specific tasks and problems from our department.

The rest of the day varies depending on where we are in development state:

– Pre-production: We start to orientate the project. We attend a lot of meetings and document the ideas, prototypes, layouts, and then we create a whitebox in Unreal Engine 4 (at least for Rime).

– Production: Here I start to work on a level’s layout, up to the point we can play it start to finish, including all the requested features for that area –paths, sizes, navigation, scripted events, chained sequences, etc., always making sure the player is having fun.

– Post-Production: My days become a little more relaxed here. The bulk of the job is done and all that is left is to polish it. Here, our (great) friends from the Q&A department find out where the bugs are and report them back, so we can work our magic and fix them!

What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently working on Stage 3, an advanced level in Rime. We already have the layout done and now we need to create a whitebox for it. That’s the start of the level that people will actually get to play when the game is out. I have to be very demanding with what’s fun and what’s not here, because if I find something boring to play, chances are the player will find it boring too. This is the test where I discover if I have made a mistake or if I have something cool to work with.

What’s the part of your job you enjoy most?

I have two passions: on one side, I love prototyping little, cute things that turn out being essential to the gams. On the other hand, I really like creating layouts –something I have been doing since I started my career at Pyro Studios.

Building a level and bringing it to life, creating tension and emotion in a gamer after countless hours of hard work, is a really rewarding experience for a game designer. It’s great!

And the part you enjoy least?

Documenting the process. I hateit. Each time I have to puttogether a document I feelreallydown. I can’t figure out where to start. Even though I have been doing it for years, if I could somehow avoid it, I would.

What are you playing at the moment, or what game are you eager to play?

I am more of a PC gamer than a console gamer, and since my computer died recently I haven’t been able to play too much. What I am really looking forward is the next expansion (and the movie!) for World of Warcraft. Thus, I will be able to take my nine lvl 100 characters to lvl 110 and create a really cool demon hunter.