This guide outlines the optimal route to play from start to when you’re hiring your best staff and ready to make Hall of Fame games one by one. I will also tell you a few useful tricks that can make walkthrough a bit easier
In this guide, I’ll try to outline the best tactics to quickly grow your game company from the start of the game to winning your first Game of the Year award. The game doesn’t end at that point, but the resources you’ve earned are enough to do whatever you want in the game: build a top console, continue making GOTY games, or discover every possible type and genre of game.
I assume that you have played Game Dev Story at least once for fun and already know the basic game mechanics. From the glossary, I would only like to clarify the use of dates. Often I will refer to them in Y1M2W3 format, as the game does. In this case, Y stands for the year number, M for the month number and W for the week number.
The information in this guide is based on my experience and is also taken from the English wiki https://kairosoft.fandom.com/wiki/Game_Dev_Story – [fandom.com] and the Japanese wiki https://wikiwiki.jp/kairoparknew/ゲーム発展国++ – [wikiwiki.jp] (use Google Translate to translate into English, it handles quite well)
Kind of video version of this guide is my walkthrough till the GOTY award in under 50 minutes.
https://youtu.be/A4DdODyms2A – [youtu.be]
Any advice or instructions are not mandatory, you are free to play as you see fit, changing aspects of the route in any way you like. Enjoy!
First Office. Outsourcing company
Don’t focus on game development right from start
Okay, let’s accept the hard reality: the games created in the beginning barely pay off. Mainly not even because of weak employees, but because there is not yet a platform in the game world that has enough players.
So we only develop the first game because of the fact that we need to make at least one game to move to the second office. Don’t worry too much about quality or fixing all the bugs: you won’t get good reviews or high sales anyway.
After that, you can drop games and do contracts. But to do this, you need to recruit additional staff…
First hire. Looking for someone worthy
Start your search in Magazine Ad right from the first seconds of the game. You have enough money to do it and, unlike Word of Mouth, you have a better chance of finding not only basic employees, but also someone more interesting. Here are my favorite employees for my first hire:
- Shigeto Minamoto and Abraham Malcolm. Great characteristics, but very rare to find.
- Shirley Ugest is also a top pick, but I don’t even remember seeing her
- Gilly Bates and Ann Deroid. Good standard choice because of above-average stats, plus they often show up in search results
- Maria Sharpovich, Vincent Vangoo, Clementine Jones. Either a bit lacking in characteristics or overprice doesn’t allow me to rank them high, but if there are no top picks and you have the money, you can take them
- Lady Googoo, Chuck Shultz, Holly Cow, Callie Fornia. Acceptable fillers as a third-fourth employee
Usually you want to see 2-3 employees from the first four items on the list and 1-2 employees from the last item. With this team you can do contracts of any level of complexity without additional pumping of employees (who you will later fire anyway)
But how to make sure you get them? Time to speak about RNG manipulation…
Unlike many modern games, Game Dev Story has no seed-based generation at the beginning of the game, so all random results are generated on the fly.
If it’s important for you to get the most results in the shortest possible time (e.g., you’re chasing a high score at the end or speedrunning the game), save abuse can be your friend.
I don't insist on using this trick if you are playing for fun. This tutorial doesn't rely solely on this trick, it just will speed up the game.
Actually, if you get any kind of unfortunate random (you didn’t find the right employee in the search, got low points while developing the game, the event “Equipment Failure” or “Blackout” fell out) – just quit the game and load from the last save. If you do not save manually, it’s okay – autosave is created at the beginning of each game week, so progress is not lost!
But we got a little distracted. So,
As far as first game is published, start working on contracts. To finish a contract, you need to earn some amount of points over the time. You can always pick one of three contracts to do so make sure to choose the best ratio of money to amount of work. The best way to calculate is to divide the cost of the contract by the number of characteristics to be produced, but if you don’t have a time to choose, focus on following options:
- 50+ stats – $400K
- 45 stats – $300K
- 30 stats – $200K
- 18+8 stats – $170K
It’s not a given that contracts will always be that good, so choose close options (e.g., for 50 stats any amount from $250K looks good) If there are no good choices at all, choose a smaller contract to get it done faster and move on to the next one.
Be careful with the choice of large contracts (50-55 stats), especially if you could not find strong employees. There is a chance of not being able to fulfill such contracts in time.
Try not to take big contracts at the end of the game week. Once the week ticks down, the amount of time per contract will decrease, so instead of 10 weeks you will only have 9 weeks per contract, even though your team has yet to start
The only reason to distract from contract is Salesman who appears every M5W1 starting from Y2. Make sure to buy 3 career change manuals at Y2 and 2 manuals and Sound boost at Y3. They will come in handy later, and we have the money to buy them right now.
So, if done correctly, by the end of Y3M10 we should have $3+ million in our hands (and close to 400 Research Data which is importand aswell, but a little bit later).
Month 11 welcomes us with the release of the Game Kid console and this is the breaking point of becoming a game development company. The reason is simple – the sales of this console is 5 times more than the PC and a decent replacement for the Game Kid will appear only in the middle of the seventh year with the release of Super IES
You want to make a nice game which still is not able to get high amount of points, but will get better sales so it’s important to get good combination of genre and type. From the starter kit, the “Reversi-puzzle” combo is excellent. That’s it. During game development, around Y4M1W3 you will get a proposal to move to bigger office. Accept it ASAP.
Second office. Stopping for one year
Second Hire. George Marlin
Once you’ve celebrated the move to your second office, order a hire from Vocational School. You can do some contracts to get Research Data Points up to 400, and wait until Y4M4W1 to pay salaries. You should have about $1KK to develop a new game.
When the results from Vocational School come in, you should find George Marlin. If you are a Munchkin, reroll your search results until you find him. Because of his strong stats at the start and the two level 5 professions he is the main candidate, on the improvement of which we will spend all the available Research Data.
You must also take 1 employee for an empty slot and 1-2 employees as replacements. The best candidates are Charles Royal, John Dough (best sound stats in the game without upgrades!) and Max Torque (cheap replacement of George Marlin if you don’t like rerolls).
There is a chance you’ll not have enough money to hire them all. It’s not a problem, because of …
If you hire an employee for an empty slot, you will get an error about not having enough money. But if you are already staffed and replace one employee with another, there will be no error and you will just get a negative amount of money.
Be careful as with negative balance you are not able to start new hiring, game development – literally anything what requires to spend at least $1. It’s okay to get till -$300K for second office and -$3KK for third office, bigger debts are slow to pay as you can only work on contracts.
Spending Research Data
So, after salaries you want to start upgrading George Marlin. Use Research Data to get level 5 Director, then use Career Change Manuals to swap George’s job (You bought them in the first office, didn’t you?). Get level 5 Writer, then go to the “Train” menu and apply “Reading” training to George. This unlocks “Fantasy” and “Romance” game types so that we will have “Fantasy + RPG” and “Simulation + Romance” combos – two amazing AA combination we will use till the end of game. Then get level 5 Designer and swap George to the level 1 Producer. He will have really incredible stats:
And incredible salary as every level up raises salary by 20%. That’s why we waited till M4W1 🙂
Getting minor awards
So, what we want to do is to get 3rd office as fast as possible. So our target is to get 2 awards for Graphics and Music at the end of Y4.
WARNING: RunnerUp award doesn't count!
So we need to develop at least 2 games, one should have 60+ stats for Graphics and another should have 60+ stats for Sound. They should be good enough to sell well, but not too good to not get RunnerUp award. And we have a solution!
- Choose George Marlin to write a proposal for both games. Easy 100+ of Fun and 50+ of Creativity for finished game
- Choose George Marlin as designer for “Graphics” game. There is a chance to fail, but likely you’ll not have a money to hire external designer. Then choose anyone with low Sound stat for OST (for example… George Marlin!)
- Choose George Marlin as designer for “Best Graphics” game. There is a chance to fail, but likely you’ll not have a money to hire external designer. Then choose anyone with low Sound stat for OST (for example… George Marlin!)
- For “Best Sound” game you want to choose Charles Royal or John Dough as OST creator if you
have them, or spend some money earned from “Top Graphics” game for extended worker with 150+ Music stat. Use weak designer for Art creation.
Skip Salesman and GameDex as you probably will not have enough money.
You might ask if using George as a Screenwriter for 2 games in a row is not efficient as there is mechanic of getting worse for making something 2+ times with one person. Yes, but we also have a glich to dodge this problem!
Removing “Prev.” sign
The plan is quite simple:
- Go through the starting development menu till choosing person for proposal
- Press “Back”
- Go through the menu once again
Works for not only proposal, but for all development stages!
End of the year. First Global Game Awards
Probably, after making 2 games you will have some time till the end of Y4. Start new development using all the best resources as now you don’t mind getting a RunnerUp award.
If all goes according to plan, you will receive awards for best graphics and best sound at the Global Game Awards. If not, don’t worry too much, you have more than enough resources to get second award during Year 5.
As far as 2 awards are earned, you will get a proposal to move into the third office. Accept ASAP.
Third Office. Let the fun begin!
First hacker -> first Hall of Fame game
At this point in time, we have six employees and we are developing a game. Finish development and look how far are you from M4W1. If you have ~2 months, start new development, else do some contracts.
Then you want to order hiring from Hollywood Agent at M3W3 to make sure you won’t pay salary to new employees. Who we are looking for:
- Stephen Jobson. Top stats, reasonable cost
- Donny Jepp/Charles Royal/Bubbles Morgan/Mindy Crawford. Not that strong stats, but you want to have one of them to fill the empty place
- Walt Sidney/Dexter McPhee/Francoise Bloom. Hackers are the best employees in the game and you want to find one of them (only one now due to their cost). Walt Sidney is top pick as his contract fee is just $4500.0K (cheaper than Sophie Kairo!)
If you have negative funds, execute contracts until you reach +$1KK. You now have enough resources to create a Hall of Fame game! Just use the previously described tricks with a roll and removing the “Prev.” sign and everything should work. Skip the salesman, you’ll buy the items you need next year.
This Hall of Fame game should be the foundation for the sequel, which will be the game of the year. For now, you can just develop new games and earn money till next salary payment. Having strong team and making HoF games you can earn $20KK+ to make another hire and start doing GOTY
Final hire and GOTY development
Order another Hollywood Agent hire and get other hackers you didn’t hacked already. Consider taking Sophie Kairo if you have free $10KK, her Sound stats are top-notch!
Probably, during previous year you’ve got 500+ Research Data points. If not, finish several contracts. Now you can level up George Marlin as lvl5 Produder -> lvl5 Hardware Eng. -> lvl1 Hacker. Now you have 4 hackers!
Wait till salesman at M5 and buy Creativity and Graphics Boost. Fun boost mostly isn’t that neccessary.
Time to start making GOTY. Make sure to get 50+ stats during every milestone (proposal, game art and music), consider rerolling if someone has under-performed. Get a chance to make a suggested improvement and spend all the Research Data required to increase chance to success to 80%. If you see that some stat is lower than 160, use an item to boost that stat. Be careful as every usage is much less effective, but Research Data cost is the same.
The end result should look like this:
After shipping the game, relax and wait till Global Game Awards, skipping all the events. At M12W3 you’ll get Grand Prize!
At the end of year, you’ll have:
- Top-tier team with 4 hackers
- About $30 million
- First Game of the Year award
- 1-2 game series you can make sequel from
This is a good base after which you can continue to develop games of the year with sales of millions of copies, get all the achievements, develop your game console, hire all the secret employees etc. Enjoy!
But what if that’s not enough and you want to break the game completely? I have an option for you…
In fact, each employee in the game has its own ceiling of stats, above which you can not jump. You can improve his profession up to level 5, spend a lot of money on the most expensive training, but at some point the progress will stop and the characteristics will remain at the same level. With one exception: Pinball training!
Basically, pinball is a meme type of training that most often gives +0 to all stats and rarely gives +6 to all stats. The advantage is that pinball is not affected by current stats, so it will always give either all +0 or all +6.
This seems like a lot of money and staff energy to spend because of the large number of unsuccessful attempts. But you do remember that random is generated anew every time you load a save, right? You’re going to have to do a lot of rerolling. VERY LOT OF REROLLING. There’s so much rerolling to do that I couldn’t handle it, so I’m attaching screenshots from another Game Dev Story player’s gameplay. Thanks to https://www.speedrun.com/user/zeta0218 – [speedrun.com] for permission to use these shots!
If you can get your staff stats up to 999, the results will be incredible:
That’s it. Thank you for reading to the end, I hope the information was interesting and useful!
If you like Game Dev Story, know cool tricks and interesting strategies, feel free to share them in the comments.
And if you’re interested in speedrunning, join our Discord server, where we gather all the Kairosoft games runners and just fans of the best tycoons series!
Here we come to an end for the From Zero to GOTY: Strategy and tricks – Game Dev Story guide. I hope this guide has helped you with your gameplay. If you have something to add to this guide or believe we forgot some information to add, please let us know via comment! We check each comment manually by approving them!
- All Game Dev Story Posts List