“The platform is like a wizard” – Metric Empire’s Story Self-Organizing Playtests With Antidote

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A video interview with Nicholas Routhier and Pier-Luc Papineau, Co-Founders and Directors at Metric Empire. In this case study, they discuss their experience working with Antidote.

Quick Summary


  • Metric Empire, the studio behind Battle Shapers, sought external player feedback on the game’s roguelike mechanics and gameplay.


  • The main challenge for the studio was the logistical aspect of organizing and executing the playtests.


  • To solve this, they partnered with Antidote to conduct an FTUE Longitudinal Study, utilizing our GUR platform and opting for an in-depth UX report.


  • Based on the insights uncovered through Antidote, the studio implemented design changes that included improved pacing, optimized level duration and enhanced damage feedback systems.


  • Metric Empire highlighted Antidote’s platform as intuitive and easy to use, which simplified the setup process and saved them countless hours organizing playtests.

The Company

An image showing the Battle Shapers gameplay


Metric Empire is a game development studio based in Montreal, Canada. 

The studio is dedicated to crafting innovative, engaging and highly replayable games. Their first major project, Battle Shapers, is a thrilling, roguelike first-person shooter with distinctive gameplay elements. 

In Battle Shapers, players take on the role of Ada, a spirited android fighting to reclaim the city of New Elysium from mighty robotic Overlords. 

The game features an evolving challenge system where enemies adapt and change their tactics, making each run progressively harder and unique.​

The Challenge

An image showing the quote that explains Metric Empire's challenge


The team at Metric Empire wanted to playtest their flagship title, Battle Shapers, before its official release. 

They aimed to gather feedback from an external player base on the game’s initial impressions and mechanics to understand how their target audience perceived the roguelike gameplay.

To learn more about the studio’s experience of collaborating with Antidote, we arranged an interview with its two co-founders:


  • Nicholas Routhier, Technical Director at Metric Empire


  • Pier-Luc Papineau, Design Director at Metric Empire


When asked about the specific assistance the studio was seeking before working with Antidote, Nicholas replied:


“Battleshapers, being a roguelike game, is a game that players will have to go through several times. It’s a game where that’s part of a genre that the player will face problems, die, start over.

And so what we wanted is to make sure that the player has zero frustration when playing the game.”


We also inquired about what made them realize that external help from a service like Antidote was needed for the playtesting process:


“Well, running external playtests is always a logistical pain for developers.

We have to find the right players. We have to prepare a survey for them and prepare questions that we want to ask them. We have to gather their feedback. We have to analyze all of it. We have to prepare for a video capture of their playtime.

And that’s something that Antidote helped us all do in one place. So this is a big workload that is off our shoulders and that we can delegate to a partner like Antidote.”


Reflecting on that, the studio wanted to examine whether the game’s replayability element was engaging amongst the players and to uncover any factors that led to early drop-offs. 

However, Nicholas highlighted that the logistical aspect of organizing a playtest, from finding participants to analyzing the results, required a substantial amount of time and effort. 

Consequently, Metric Empire partnered with Antidote to eliminate these logistical burdens and streamline the research process.

The Solution

An image showing the quote that explains Metric Empire's services used with Antidote


The team at Metric Empire decided to conduct an FTUE Longitudinal Study to understand the initial player experiences and determine how the target audience engaged with the game’s roguelike mechanics.

The studio used Antidote’s GUR-specialized platform to playtest Battle Shapers, utilizing its native features to capture live gameplay and collect post-session feedback.

Nicholas expanded on this by saying:


“We used the Antidote platform to create our own playtests, all from our browser, creating a playtest session, uploading our build, sharing the questions that we want to ask the player and also identifying which type of players we wanted to test the game with.

Are they casual, hardcore players? What kind of genre are they used to play? So, we were able to find our target audience and validate that our game resonated with that audience.”


For the playtest, we helped Metric Empire find the ideal participants from our player community who met the following requirements:

  • Fans of FPS or Roguelike game genres 
  • Able to playtest the game for 4 hours over the 2-day period


Once the participants were vetted and recruited, the Metric Empire team conducted a self-organized playtest using the Antidote platform.

Additionally, the studio opted for a tailored UX report constructed by our in-house user research team. The process involved analyzing all the collected data from the playtest sessions and translating it into actionable feedback for the development team.

The Result

An image showing the quote that explains Metric Empire's results

In-Game Improvements


The feedback gathered by working with Antidote was crucial in refining and fine-tuning Battle Shapers’ final gameplay. 

Antidote’s detailed UX report simplified the analysis process and provided in-depth insights into player experiences.

Nicholas highlighted the value of this report:


“The UX report that Antidote provided helped us speed up the analysis time of our play sessions. We have the input of a professional UX designer to understand what players were experiencing with our title. This helped us greatly get more value out of each play session.


Moreover, Pier-Luc added how the neutral perspective from the UX report helped avoid bias:


“I would add to it that it was also very nice to have a neutral take on some of the comments, which is sometimes something that causes bias or hot reactions within the team… It helps to have a different perspective on the data.”


Armed with actionable insights, we asked the founders about some of the highlighted changes implemented in Battle Shapers’ mechanics based on Antidote’s feedback.

Pier-Luc replied that the team realized they needed to adjust the pacing by observing how players progressed through the game:


“We looked at the length and duration of the sessions and how players progressed in the game. This helped us validate that we needed to speed things up and provide a faster progression in the game, which we’ve adapted in the builds after the playtest.”


A GIF of gameplay progression


In addition to pacing, the playtests revealed that levels took longer to complete than intended. The team optimized combat encounters and level design to match their ideal game time:


“Our ideal time had always been to have players roughly make it through levels in about 15-20 minutes

Following the Antidote playtest and extrapolating from various player footage, we discovered that in fact players took on average about 35 minutes, significantly longer than expected, to clear the levels. 

As a result, we took different measures to speed up combat encounters, optimize chambers, progression systems and balance difficulty to get us back closer to our intended target.”


A GIF of one of the gameplays from Battle Shapers


Lastly, improvements were made to the health, shields and damage feedback systems to ensure players had clear information and reduced frustration:

“We discovered that the health, shields and damage feedback we had in place did not provide sufficiently clear information to the player. 

Notably, the feedback of getting hit, both visual and audible, and the ability to identify the source and cause of the damage weren’t clear enough, causing some frustrations in gameplay

As such, we dedicated more resources and efforts to improving this key game system and notably supported players with clearer video tutorials that better explained the crucial function of the Takedown mechanic.”


A GIF. showing the tutorial gameplay form Battle Shapers


Through these targeted improvements, Metric Empire enriched the player experience in Battle Shapers, delivering a smoother and more enjoyable gameplay for its audience.

Collaborative Success


Using Antidote’s platform proved to be a seamless and intuitive experience for the Metric Empire’s team. 

Nicholas highlighted the platform’s user-friendly nature, which simplified the entire playtest setup process:


“The platform is like a wizard. It’s really easy to use.”


Pier-Luc echoed this sentiment, highlighting the well-designed interface that made navigation straightforward and efficient:


“I think the interface is built very well. We know where to find the information, where to go in order to look at the segmentation of the players, who is from where, what their profile is, and consult the videos. 

All of that is really put nicely on an accessible platform. We were quite happy with it.”


The platform’s design allowed the team to quickly access critical data and insights, making managing and reviewing playtests more well-organized.



Furthermore, Antidote’s solutions significantly reduced the logistical burden during the development and testing phases.

Nicholas explained how working with us freed up valuable development time:


“We saved some days of work just looking for participants, setting up the session, recording everything, gathering everything, and analyzing all the data.

I think it’s fair to say that we’ve saved quite a lot of days that we were able to spend acting on the feedback that we gathered instead of setting up the sessions.”


The collaboration with Antidote’s UX team was another highlight. Nicholas found the communication process to be smooth, stating:


“Working with the (Antidote’s) UX team was a very fluid experience for us. It was like discussing with somebody from our team, and we were able to get their take on our game and quickly turn around and be able to act on that feedback.”


Expanding on the quick turnaround time, Pier-Luc added:


It was very quick. For us, it’s important because when we do want to schedule a playtest, sometimes we need it now and quickly.

The ability to shorten the delta between ‘let’s do it’ and ‘we’re doing it’ is really important. So I remember the process being fast as well and no latency, so to speak.”


The combination of an intuitive platform, significant time savings and effective collaboration with Antidote’s UX team highlight the successful partnership between Metric Empire and Antidote.

Why Metric Empire Recommends Antidote

An image showing the partnership logos between Antidote and Metric Empire


We asked Nicholas whether he would recommend other game studios to work with Antidote:


“Yes, I would recommend other developers to use Antidote. Just for the time that you’re saving, setting up a new playtest session, it’s already worth it.

But on top of that, with the UX report that we were able to get out of those play sessions, it’s even more worth it!”


In summary, the key benefits of working with us include:

  • Intuitive Game User Research platform
  • Saved time and effort coordinating the playtesting sessions
  • Comprehensive UX reports


If you are a game studio seeking an all-inclusive playtesting platform for self-organized research studies, Antidote is your go-to solution.

Empower your development team with actionable insights using Antidote’s native features, including:

  • Data points collected through face, gameplay and think-aloud recordings, built-in surveys, transcripts and more
  • Advanced analysis tools like sentiment analysis, word clouds, automated insight reports and more


Alternatively, we can help you streamline the entire playtesting process with our managed services.

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