People of NRG: Jozef Iľko

Jozef is a dynamic and witty game designer who demonstrates a blend of creativity and pragmatism in his role.

Meet our colleague at Nine Rocks Games, one of the brains behind Way of the Hunter's game design. Jozef handles the game design with his creative craft, skillfully handling everything from weapons and damage systems to the complexities of animal trophies. He joined our team less than a year before we launched Way of the Hunter. This marks Jozef's debut in the gaming industry, a career he aspired to since discovering its existence. In his own words: "I am very lucky to be able to work alongside such experienced developers and at the same time with such great friends."

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His day-to-day is a mixed bag of tasks, from researching how animals react, to setting up new animal trophies. It's a bit of internet searching, tweaking game settings, sorting out player feedback to keep the game on its toes, and even playing other games for inspiration.

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In his search for information, he stumbles upon fascinating data, tidbits that infuse curiosity and richness into Way of the Hunter.

Way of the Hunter isn't just a game, it's a passion project, a labor of love. And our colleague, through his dedication and creativity, is making sure it's an unforgettable journey for players around the globe. "This is what I like about working as a game designer in a smaller team - more variety and variety of work." From Jozef's work, players can for example enjoy the music he chose for the Nez Perce Valley and Transylvania maps, rebalancing shotguns, setting up bows and crossbows, and trophies in Alaska or Africa.

Here are a few facts about Jozef that may not be essential but are certainly delightful to know:

In a nutshell, Jozef isn't merely a game designer; he's a lively persona that brings creativity and laughter into our company. Immerse yourself in his world through our questions and his answers.

Beyond gaming, what are your hobbies and passions outside of work?

In my free time, I'm all about gaming - any kind, any time. I try to stay in the loop with the gaming world. I'm also addicted to getting new information - I like to have a broad overview of world events, politics, science, and technology. I like to read good fantasy or sci-fi books, and manga as well, but I don't mind a good horror movie or anime. Besides, I change my hobbies like I change my socks - I thrive on trying new things. I also love animals and have kept all kinds of them - lizards, snakes, spiders, cockroaches, various beetles, scorpions, fish, a cat, a frog, millipedes, mantises, snails...and most recently, especially my own child.

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I even dabble in 3D printing, I've played Dungeons & Dragons, so sometimes I print figures on my 3D printer at home and color them. Additionally, I enjoy fishing, attempt balcony gardening, and am your go-to guy for dark, twisted, and perhaps politically incorrect memes and humor. I'm into all things strange and bizarre, including Jojo's Bizzare Adventure. I love experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, letting my passion for good food shine through.

If your life were a game, what genre would it be, and what would be the main goals or challenges?

If my life were a game, it would probably be an indie JRPG with lots of side mini-games. In the end, the player would have to face the final boss - themselves.

What would be your go-to karaoke song?

Purely hypothetically, considering I sing like a baboon when under the influence of fermented fruit and my sense of rhythm mirrors a politician's promises, it would probably be 'Armpits of Immortals' by Nanowar of Steel or 'Devil's Dance Floor' by Flogging Molly.

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Joseph receives Christmas gifts from his reptile, Wajto!

How do you approach balancing creativity and functionality in your game design process?

I'm quite pragmatic, which can be a disadvantage, especially when inventing new features. At times, I find myself limiting ideas by estimating what our team could manage within a given time frame. That's why I have to remind myself to let my imagination run wild and be more daring when creating new features. Otherwise, I default to the tried-and-tested way of balancing - something may look great at first glance, but I always consider the real benefit for the player and the workload it would entail for our team.

If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring game designers, what would it be?

Maintaining a broad outlook is crucial; you never know when obscure information might serve as inspiration. The more you delve into various fields, the greater your arsenal for creative work. Additionally, always keep in mind that games are crafted for players. Strive to understand your audience - what they enjoy, what they desire, and what they'd rather avoid in a game. Don't take every criticism to heart; instead, see it as an opportunity to learn and grow.


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