What's in a Name: Arrowhead Game Studios

Arrowhead Game Studios
Johan Pilestedt is CEO of Arrowhead Game Studios, the Swedish developer responsible for Magicka. He recently revealed to us the origin of the studio's name and the meaning behind its seemingly dim-witted mascot.

Originally, when the studio was just a "student project," the group called themselves Team Arrowhead. "Arrowhead" was a play on Pilestedt's name, which, in English, means "arrow stead." "But wait, there's more to this story!" says Pilestedt.

"Back in 2008, during the development of the original 2D prototype of Magicka, we were very displeased with the direction the gaming industry had taken," he recalls. Arrowhead felt that "titles were always trying too hard to have a complex story with all kinds of gimmicks," while skipping the "crucial step" of a fun gameplay foundation. "It's not possible to build something great on top of garbage."

The team's mission became "to reinvent the 'good ol' fun' we had back in our youth," and the Arrowhead logo was inspired by a saying the team used: "That's like trying to design something on paper and accidentally driving the pen through your skull."

"With that sentence as inspiration, we fashioned the original logo for Team Arrowhead: an image of Legolas from Lord of the Rings, a skilled archer, with an arrow through his head," Pilestedt explains. "This was a metaphor for what we thought bad game design was," and it "sort of represents what our general opinions are on the gaming industry -- or rather, on how things are really designed." It's a reminder, then, of what can go painfully wrong.


Magicka is currently available on Steam. The game's first expansion, Vietnam, is scheduled to launch on April 12, leading a slate of upcoming 'Nam projects from publisher Paradox Interactive, including Vietnam: Vietnam.

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This article was originally published on Joystiq.