How AI Helped King Studio Develop 13,755 Levels for Candy Crush Saga

candy crush ai

King, the developer behind the popular mobile game Candy Crush Saga, actively integrates artificial intelligence into the game’s development and optimization process. In a recent interview, Sahar Asadi from AI Labs Activision Blizzard King (ABK) explained how they managed to accelerate level development by 50% using AI.

Level Design

Since April 2012, ABK developers have been releasing an average of more than 4 new Candy Crush levels daily. This impressive productivity became possible after acquiring the AI startup Peltarion in 2022. Specialists from Peltarion took key positions in AI Labs King and developed plans to create bots for level testing. These bots, trained on player data, help automate bug detection before updates release, reducing manual fixes by 95%.

Balancing Difficulty and Personalization

King’s AI doesn’t try to beat humans like AlphaZero; instead, it aims to mimic them. This approach requires a different method.
“For us, the key element of game testing is to make it as human-like as possible. How can we ensure the bot’s actions resemble human behavior? Suppose you’re on the second or third move: the bot looks at the board, evaluates possible actions you might take, and then chooses the best option. And ‘best’ in this case is the one most likely chosen by a human.”

Level 13300 in Candy Crush Saga

Asadi reports that the level-testing bot reduced the number of manual level adjustments by 95%, allowing for 50% faster level changes. However, the bot does more than just speed up development.

AI enables developers to understand which game elements are most popular and which cause difficulties. AI helps tailor the game to individual player preferences by adjusting level difficulty and offering personalized bonuses.

Testing and Optimization

Level-testing bots help developers understand a level’s difficulty and how changes impact gameplay. This allows quick identification and resolution of issues, optimizing gameplay before updates release.

The Importance of the Human Factor

King specialists emphasize the importance of synchronous work between humans and AI.
“Undoubtedly, we need designers,” Asadi firmly states. “We view AI as an assistant to designers. It’s a support tool that provides gameplay insights before release. Ultimately, level designers know what makes the game engaging for players and what they want from the gameplay. With this data, they can decide whether to release a level or iterate further.”

AI automates routine tasks, freeing up time for more creative and meaningful work. Human designers and other game development specialists remain key figures in creating engaging game experiences, as only they can determine what makes the game “fun.”


Using AI allows King to not only speed up level development but also significantly improve quality. Despite extensive AI use, human input remains an integral part of the process, ensuring a balance between automation and creative approaches.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments