Creative Chronicles: Asymmetric design

Creative Chronicles: Asymmetric design

August 14 2019 | Legacy Project

Creative Chronicles brings together key insights, information and statistics from the experts at Creative Assembly. We hope this will inspire students and those considering a career in game development.

What’s the right amount of asymmetry and how do you master this essential design challenge?

For the last 20 years, Creative Assembly has built a deep understanding of asymmetric design in its games: the enemy ecosystems of Alien: Isolation, the faction-based grand strategy of Total War, and the diverse sub-factions of Halo Wars 2. The talk discusses why inherent asymmetry is important, its value to the player, and its popularity among audiences.

In this BAFTA tutorial we look at why inherent asymmetry in games is important, its value to the player, and its popularity among audiences. Our Lead Game Designer shares what he’s learned about asymmetric design over his career – its costs, challenges and opportunities.

Click here to read more about Game Design at CA.

The Sweet Spot of Asymmetric Design - Creative Assembly and BAFTA Games Livestream


At CA, we believe in the ability to proactively craft gameplay rather than iteratively discovering it. The fundamental design principles are the foundation for a designer’s skill set, and those skills are best developed and honed by working on high quality games. 

From unique gameplay design that instils fear for the player in Alien: Isolation, to championing multiple innovative features in Total War, our designers have many opportunities to work with incredible materials and try different things, owning their features and core mechanics from inception to final game.

We have around 80 designers across our UK and Bulgaria studios, with a range of specialisms including campaign design, battle design, sound design, and systems.




  • Total War: Three Kingdoms lead designer talks about the perfect Total War setting
  • Senior Designer, Simon Mann, describes ways to think like a designer and help build a strong game design portfolio in this Gamasutra article.

  • Laura Kampis, Game Designer, spoke to Prospects about her journey into the industry and top tips for becoming a game designer.

  • Creative Assembly has a number of presentations in the GDC 2018 vault, you will need to register to access. This includes Game Director, Janos Gaspor, discussing the Total War design pillars.
  • In this 2012 GDC presentation, previous Total War Lead Designer, James Russell, explores design mechanics, looking at different perspectives and debates on typical design problems.
  • Creative Director, Mike Simpson, discusses the intricacies of game design in this MCV article.
  • Read more about Game Design at CA HERE.