Game Design Lessons from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

What the iconic franchise can teach us about asymmetric design

Josh Bycer
Jun 30 · 7 min read
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is built around unique and colorful characters.
  1. The first person to figure out the enemy’s power must fight and prevent that person from attacking their friends
  2. Two or more people are caught by someone more powerful and they must team up to take the enemy down

What is asymmetrical design?

The first point to be made about asymmetrical design is that we typically see it in games with abstracted gameplay. On one end of the scale are games where players can choose different guns or character builds. And on the other end exist fighting games and card games where players have a wide range of move-sets and options.

Gaining the advantage

Obviously, JJBA wasn’t written with game design in mind (although there have been several JJBA games released over the years). However, when looking at the anime itself, we can see several design elements that directly relate to good game design, especially when it comes to balancing asymmetrical character traits or capabilities.

Striking a balance

Asymmetrical balance isn’t something we see often these days outside of CCGs, MOBAs, and fighting games. But when done well, it can lead to some incredible titles. Left 4 Dead was one of my favorite games thanks to the clever way it built a compelling experience around an asymmetrical landscape between four human cooperators and swarms of the infected.

Original article courtesy of Game-Wisdom. Edited and re-published with permission. Header image by CrazyDiamond.

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Josh Bycer

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Josh Bycer is the owner of Game-Wisdom and specializes in examining the art and science of games. He has over seven years of experience discussing game design.

Super Jump Magazine

Celebrating video games and their creators