CGD Podcast Episode 16: A Conversation About Rogue-likes with Black Shell Games


I had a conversation with the main developers at Black Shell Games – Daniel Doan, Raghav Mathur, and Thomas Espinoza – on the topic of Rogue-likes, a design pattern that has appealed to both of us. In the episode, we cover topics like the relationship between Rogue-likes and gambling, grinding, difficulty, replay value, and other related concepts.

Check out Black Shell Games on Steam. Here’s Black Shell Games’ – which also acts as a publisher – complete list of games.

(Side note: apologies about the audio. There were four people on the conversation total and there’s a bit of noise, but I think it’s easy enough to hear.)


  • Van

    I think that games like Diablo can be solid, but they’re presented in the most thoughtless and lazy manner possible. I just went back to grinding the second things got tough. That’s how I ended up leveling up to level 30, before even attempting the first boss, whereas my hardcore gamer friends beat the entire game at around level 24. Some of them say they can beat it at level 20, but the game just gives them too much experience points. What I was playing was “grind, until you’re strong enough”. What they were playing was “figure out how to properly utilize these tools in these situations”. So essentially the game allowed me to spoil my own experience, simply because there’s nothing in-game to tell you that you’re supposed to do everything without any grinding.

    I like how in Auro you’re asked to reach a certain goal with the tools you’re given. At first I thought that 30 points is almost as good as it gets. But then more difficult goals came in just like that hardcore gamer friend who’s telling you “it seems too difficult at first, but you’ll figure it out and you’ll enjoy it a lot”. It’s surprising that so many critically acclaimed games fail to include this very essential concept.