Omerta Balances Depth and Accessibility, Says Developer

The studio wants gamers to learn while playing and creating stories

Bisser Dyankov, a game designer working on Omerta – City of Gangsters at Haemimont Games, believes that a successful title needs to balance depth of mechanics with accessibility in order to appeal to a large potential audience.

The developer tells Gamasutra that, “As a ground rule, we do not go into the direction of the choice between 'depth or accessibility’. They are two different aspects of the gameplay, but they are not the opposite ends of the same line.”

Omerta mixes a Tropico-inspired real-time management of buildings and agents with tactical battles that are somewhat similar to those offered by the recent XCOM from Firaxis.

Haemimont Games re-designed the strategic side of the game quite a few times in order to make sure that players had a lot of options to keep them occupied while they expanded inside a city.

At the same time, the team tried to make sure that the learning curve was smooth enough to allow newcomers to understand what was happening and how to control the actions of their mobsters.

The balance between depth and accessibility is hard to nail down but the Omerta team says that the final product is a good example of how to appeal to newcomers and long-term fans.

Dyankov adds, “Introducing the possibility to focus on the city-building is a nod to our fans, and does not limit the experience of the players who want to get their hands as dirty as possible. It is not a 'win-or-lose' decision, actually.”

The developer also acknowledges that XCOM is a great game to be compared to and he hopes that two similar systems can exist on the market at the same time.

Omerta – City of Gangsters is designed to revive the spirit of the interwar period and allow players to create their personal criminal empire, fuelled by booze and weapons.

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