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Add the big 5 to your Personas

When I start a new game or design a new functionality for one I’m working on, an activity that I always facilitate in a team is to identify Personas.

It is about matching the profile of an imaginary Player with the team. You can be more or less informed by data and interviews, but in general it is good to focus internal discussions on the players.

It is important to create something that people want to buy, not something that we will buy. It generally marks the difference between success and failure.

There are many methods to organize a Persona, in this post I will tell you about the Big Five Personality Traits. It is a form of grouping people’s personalities, developed in the 1980s in the context of trait theory. According to this method, we can identify a person in 5 traits:

  • Openness to experience. Traditional VS Open to Novelties
  • Conscientiousness. Deep VS Superficial
  • Extraversion. Solitary VS Outgoing
  • Agreeableness. Analysis VS Adventure
  • Neuroticism. Reactive VS Receptive

This system is also called “OCEAN” or “CANOE”

The tendency of a team is to sometimes create personas with an OCEAN setup like this:

My advice for designers is to push to extremes, let team members choose one feature or another in no uncertain terms:

It’s much easier to argue about the various mechanics and dynamics like this!

Exercise: Take a game you are playing or studying and try to think in 3 different OCEAN configurations. Imagine how they would react to the important features of the game.

Published inGame Design

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