Luther Patenge is a loot-box designer turned indie developer. He’s currently running a KickStarter campaign for regency roguelike Ambition: A Minuet in Power, a rags-to-riches tale set at in the looming shadow of the French Revolution, where a single misstep could see you headed for the guillotine.
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Patenge recently ran an AMA on Reddit, in which he discussed the new game, as well as the practicalities of lootbox development. His responses begin with a lengthy response about ‘The Soul Box’ – a seemingly impenetrable lootbox designed to house and protect Patenge’s immortal soul.
Much of the rest of the AMA takes on a more serious tone, however, as Patenge, who designed microtransactions for free-to-play games, discuss whether or not they should constitute gambling. There’s also a lengthy list of “common truths” of lootbox development, which, while far from standard across the industry, were guidelines during Patenge’s time as developer. Those include things like not publishing lootbox odds, keeping costs low, and rewarding people for buying in bulk.
Interesting, further down the list, Patenge suggests that a ‘need’ for lootboxes came about to aid developers to more reliably recoup their costs. That’s something of a given, but Patenge says part of the problem is that the price of games can’t really rise above their current level, which for the most part is around $60. He maintains that microtransactions have a place in helping games make a profit, but that expansion packs are a more “elegant” way of achieving a similar goal.
You can read the entirety of the AMA on Reddit, and watch the trailer for Ambition: A Minuet in Power, which is 95% funded on Kickstarter, above.