Evan Hill drops in to talk a little about Solar Ash Kingdom and Torment: Tides of Numenera, and a whole lot about his current work at Naughty Dog—though don’t expect any new details on The Last of Us Part II itself. Evan keeps that close, and fair enough. What he does talk about is just what a level designer designs, thereby frustrating our casual notions of auteur theory on the one hand, and of design-by-committee on the other. Level designers show us the inadequacies of both those frameworks, as far as understanding how games actually get made.
Aside from that, this episode covers the ugly magic of loot tables, Evan’s abiding love of Liz and the Blue Bird, and the oft-underappreciated usefulness of mediocre criticism.
• Here are Evan’s two Extra Credits episodes, as well as a few of his talks.
• And I will never shut up about Ways of Seeing, so there.
“All The People Say (Season 3)” by Holly Hyperion.
“Bit by Bit You’re Breaking My Heart” by Murray Bloom, preformed by Charles Dornberger and His Orchestra.
“Apple Blossoms” by Vernon Geyer.
“Dog on the Piano” by Ted Shapiro, performed by the Isham Jones Orchestra.
Logo by Aaron Perry-Zucker, using Icons by by Llisole, Dávid Gladiš, Atif Arshad, Daniel Nochta, Mike Rowe, Jakub Čaja, Raji Purcell and IconsGhost from the Noun Project.