A Film Executive Prevented John Wick Hex From Being a Turn-Based Tactics Game

The Ultimate Assassin Would Never Stand Still and Allow People to Shoot Openly at Him

When John Wick Hex was still in its infantile stages, developer Mike Bithell opted to meet with major executives at Lionsgate Entertainment. Despite only being equipped with an early demo, Bithell was glad to have enough completed to get him in a room with powerful executives. He didn’t realize that insight from one of those executives would ultimately inspire him to scrap hours of work and reimagine many aspects of the game, namely the turn-based combat.

John Wick 2

Jason Constantine is the executive that spoke to Bickell. After watching him play John Wick Hex, Constantine simply asked: “why does John Wick just stand there and let people shoot him?”. Bithell was initially skeptical of the criticism, blaming it on Constantine’s inexperience in the gaming world. However, this justification swiftly changed and Bickell decided to redo a lot of the gameplay. Bickell says, ” I’m standing there and it just hits me how stupid what I’m doing is. I’m explaining to him why my game sucks because of genre”.


While scraping the edges of his mind, hoping to conjure up some amazing idea to rectify the combat, Bithell coined the idea of “timeline strategy”. Timeline Strategy is the idea that a timeline atop the screen determines every action of every character (John and foes). Every action taken adds a bar to the top of the screen, with bigger movements creating a bigger bar.

Discussing timeline strategy, Bithell says “… it just opens up, because you immediately start seeing things you’d have to create a quicktime event or have a very choreographed moment in a regular game. Have a moment to strike that guy, shoot his friend, come back to him. Suddenly that just becomes how you play the game.”

Are you excited for John Wick Hex? What do you think of a timeline strategy? Let us know!

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