The poker-themed deckbuilder game, Balatro, has been making waves in the industry with its unique gameplay and mechanics. Developer Localthunk recently shared insights into the creation process during a Q&A session on Reddit. Surprisingly, the game’s biggest influence was revealed to be a deckbuilding roguelike called Luck Be A Landlord, rather than the more traditional card-based roguelikes.

Localthunk explained that they purposely avoided delving deep into other card-based roguelikes in order to engineer the best possible game. While they admit to hearing comparisons to popular games like Slay the Spire, Localthunk revealed that they intentionally steered clear of the genre to pave their own path and explore the design space with fresh eyes. This decision allowed them to make their own mistakes and truly innovate in the field.

The decision to draw inspiration from a lesser-known game like Luck Be A Landlord, rather than following the trends in the genre, speaks volumes about Localthunk’s creative process. By taking a step back from the mainstream influences, the developer was able to infuse Balatro with a sense of originality and freshness that set it apart from its competitors. This unconventional approach to game development proved to be a key factor in the game’s success.

Unprecedented Results

Despite the lack of exposure to popular titles like Slay the Spire, Localthunk’s unique research process yielded impressive results. Balatro managed to capture the attention of players and critics alike, showcasing the power of thinking outside the box in the gaming industry. By staying true to their vision and avoiding the temptations of following the crowd, Localthunk was able to create a truly remarkable game that stands out in a crowded market.

Balatro’s journey to success serves as a testament to the importance of originality and innovation in game development. By daring to be different and avoiding the well-trodden paths, developers can create truly exceptional experiences that resonate with players on a deeper level. Localthunk’s commitment to exploring new design spaces and making their own mistakes has paid off in the form of a game that is not only successful but also groundbreaking in its own right.


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