In Case studies, Games Analytics

La Cosa Entertainment is a development studio, based in Los Angeles, who specialize in videogame design and production for PC and console. In January 2016 they launched a 2D puzzle platformer for the PS4, called Klaus.

In the game, Klaus is lost and alone. He doesn’t know who he is, where he is, and why he has woken up in a basement with the word KLAUS tattooed on his arm.

La Cosa has created a precision based puzzle platformer that features a geometric kaleidoscope of pop art. It borrows much from classic platform games of the past, but with a twist, or lots of them, as you control the main character, dual characters, and even the environment. There is a lot of physical skill in Klaus as you regularly have to abandon your pre-conceptions of what you do, such as using the controls in reverse, and avoiding accidentally killing the main character as you control a swinging death blade.

In Polygon’s review they described the game as “a beautiful, stylish platformer.” The review from wegotthiscovered.com gave Klaus 4.5 stars and said: “Klaus is an impressive puzzle platformer that constantly defies the player’s expectations. Building up mechanics only to break them, La Cosa Entertainment has crafted one of the most interesting platformers in quite some time.” They also said, “Just when you’ve mastered one skill, they introduce another.”

In designing and testing the game, playability was crucially important, particularly with the game controls throwing-up fresh challenges as you progress through the game.

La Cosa chose deltaDNA to analyze the way players were interacting with the game as they progressed through the control changes. Their analysts were able to access their raw data in deltaDNA’s big data analytics platform, and by using the plotting power of R, they were able to undertake spatial clustering, which enabled them to adjust the usability of the controls.

Victor Velasco, Klaus’ creative director and lead designer said:

With the game consisting of many changes to the controls and gameplay, it was essential that when these changes arose, we had to provide the right level of challenge to the players, without making the game impossible to play. For example, players who are playing the level where the controls are in reverse will take a long time to become as proficient as they are with the controls the right way around, so we have to adjust the rest of the gameplay to ensure levels can be completed with the right amount of difficulty. The data focussed our development efforts to deliver a fun and highly playable game.

Lysiane Charest, Master Data Cruncher from Execution Labs agreed:

DeltaDNA was the best platform available for use with PS4 games. It was easy to implement and the Direct Access capability allowed us to plug the data directly into R, which meant we could give La Cosa actionable insight and a granular understanding of their data. Consequently, the development team at La Cosa were able make fine adjustments to the game during the testing-phase, based on real player interaction, resulting in great reviews!

Mark Robinson, CEO of deltaDNA responded:

DeltaDNA has recently become a Sony Middleware Partner, so we are committed to building the leading analytics and marketing platform for the PS4 platform. Our Direct Access capability is unique in the market. It provides analysts with their own blisteringly fast Big Data environment, so they can plug in their tools and make changes to their games really quickly, as they interrogate their player data in real-time.

Only by understanding how your players interact with your game and making fine adjustments based on highly granular data, can you build games that players will love and want to keep playing time and again.

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