Wan Hazmer: This is the Most Important Skill for A Game Designer!

By Arya Wibowo

Learn Wan Hazmer’s plan for the future, his advice for aspiring developers, and the Final Fantasy XV designer’s most important skill as a game designer.

Wan Hazmer, the game designer of Final Fantasy XV has his own thought about the most important skill for a game designer.

At Level Up KL 2017, Game Prime interviewed Wan Hazmer, the game designer of Final Fantasy XV from Malaysia. He shared about the reason behind his resignation from Square Enix, the most important skill for a game designer, and his plans for the future.

So here is our interview with Wan Hazmer:

Why quit Square Enix, why now?

Because I have been planning to do that since five years ago. But I had to finish Final Fantasy XV, and after it is done I want to go back to Malaysia. Why now? Because I want to know more about VR. I have had a game idea for a long time, so I’m gonna do that first. It’s going to be on PC and console. I’m looking to build a team of 15.

Have you been in the Final Fantasy XV team since the name was Final Fantasy Versus?


Who are you looking to work with?

An environment artist and a concept artist, better if he/she can do both. I’m looking for a programmer and a VFX artist.

Any clue about your next game?

It’s gonna be crazy and funky, something that reflects my personality.

Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV

Do you have any plan to collaborate with developers in this region (Southeast Asia)?

Of course, I’m really looking forward to doing that. But I want to prove my worth, I want to build a prototype first. So that’s the biggest priority right now, to make a prototype. Then, we will talk about collaboration.

How many years were you in Square Enix?

Seven years.

What is the lesson that you learned in there?

People, they evolve. Usually, they see people as talents, but they forget that they are also human beings, they have their private lives. So that is what I learned when I was in Square Enix.

What is the most memorable game that you were involved besides Final Fantasy XV?

I think the one that is most memorable to me is Final Fantasy Type-0. I was there for only three months but I learned so much.

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Final Fantasy Type-0

What is the most important skill for a game designer?

So as I mentioned this before, a good game designer design games, a great game designer design less games.

What I mean is a game designer shouldn’t just care about games. The worst thing is designers that always talk about their games but rarely talk about how they create their games through their interest. They always relate this game similar to Battlefield, Final Fantasy (and so on).

But actually when I created this game, I went to Turkey two years ago and I was very fascinated by the cityscape. That is much more fascinating than you just experiencing a game and just putting it (together).

So a game designer has to experience more life. If you want to make a game about massages, then you must experience massaging yourself.

And also the other thing is every time I see game designers in an interview they always say as it is. For example I created this level and the level is very narrow that a fat guy can not go through. … I mean when you see the level you know exactly how your road is, but you are not telling me what is the experience of the users go through, traveling through the level.

For example it is a much stronger statement to say that I created this level because I want the user to understand that being big is not only about being strong. There are also many many weaknesses to it and I want the users to suffer through this narrow path and because of that for this narrow path I have created a special animation just to maximize the suffering of the user.

That is a totally different dimension of the game designer compared to the previous one. From there you know that game is more to an experience than a mechanic.

When can you confirm about your new game?

December-January when I have built the prototype.

Wan Hazmer 1

What can you tell about the future of Wan Hazmer?

Well, I hope that the future of Wan Hazmer is one, he’s not just talk. Right, because I’ve been under the wing of the entire business division too. So which is why you know, doing stage presentation I can say I got this advice, we have created Final Fantasy XV, it’s a great game.

But now that I am back here, I have to prove what I said, being practical and useful, his real self.

So number one, I want to be that kind of Wan Hazmer. Number two I want to be Wan Hazmer that inspires many people, that inspires many many many more people to join the game business, to do whatever they’d like to. In fact, not only limited to game but anything, whatever they want to do. If they want to draw comics then I really want to guide them to the whole process of it.

And as I said before I have planned to open a school, and also set up programs that support creativity. So yeah, that’s the two of Wan Hazmer’s future.

Advice for people who want to join the game industry?

So the first thing that you have to do is be multidimensional. Don’t just care about games and nothing else. You won’t get anywhere.

And I think second is just do it. Talk is cheap. You can say whatever idea that you like, but if I don’t see a sh*t of it then it has no meaning. Nowadays it is so easy to prove your concept, when I graduated from college, the tools were very limited. We didn’t have Unity or Unreal back then, now you can just download Unity.

If you want to prove that your platforming works, let’s say for example I want to create a platformer where you can control a mirror and the bullets can come through. If I hear that back then I will say “are you sure?”  You can create a very simple level, I haven’t touch Unreal before but I’m sure it will take about five days to prove the concept.

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It will take another one week to learn Unity. So many books about Unity right now to learn it in one week. So take two weeks to prove your concept. A lot of people don’t do this, I don’t know why. They have an idea and just stop.

Edited by Devi




About Writer

Arya is a gamer dad, boardgame geek, and game industry enthusiast. He loves strategy games and soccer games.