Terra Nil Lead Designer on developing strategy games

We spoke with Free Lives' Sam Alfred to learn more about Terra Nil and working in the strategy genre.


Terra Nil was released late last month, bringing about the latest environmental strategy game. Developed by Free Lives, the game tasks players to take a barren wasteland and turn it into a “thriving, balanced ecosystem.” Terra Nil is far from the first game developed by Free Lives, so we sat down with its Lead Designer to learn about what the team learned from previous projects and how it was applied to Terra Nil.

Shacknews’ Greg Burke spoke with Sam Alfred, the lead designer on Terra Nil to learn more about the game’s creation. Funnily enough, Free Lives’ previous game, Broforce, is centered around destruction, starkly contrasting Terra Nil’s serene nature-centric approach. Alfred spoke about this during the interview.

“One of the interesting things about free lives is that as an organization, we’re allowed a large amount of creative freedom,” Alfred said. He went on to explain the studio’s internal process, stating that so long as a member of the team has an idea that they’re able to demonstrate and articulate its potential commercial success, the studio will allocate resources towards fleshing out that idea.

In the interview, Alfred also discusses creating a strategy game, especially one with a unique design like Terra Nil. The team at Free Lives has dipped its toes in a handful of genres, and the creation of Terra Nil sounded like a unique development experience. If you enjoyed our chat with Sam about Terra Nil, subscribe to the Shacknews and GamerHubTV YouTube channels for more insightful developer interviews.

News Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Scream nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

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