GAMING BLEND

Game Dev Feels Companies Rely Too Much On Copy-Cat Designs, Lack Of Innovation

By William Usher 2012-02-01 13:50:16 discussion comments
Kixeye's Will Harbin had some eye-opening words for developers out there of any and every size. He believes that too many companies have become reliant on data, feedback and statistics to determine the design outcome of a game as opposed to good old fashioned creativity and innovation.

Kixeye hasn't exactly entered into mainstream media recognition amongst most core gamers, but they have titles like Battle Pirates and War Commander to their name.

In an interview with GameIndustry.biz, Harbin states that...
"...we definitely do not design our games around data. We try to make improvements around data, and actually I had to give this speech to my team yesterday about being a little bit less reliant of A/B tests and data and trusting our intuition and instinct, since it seems to be more effective at moving the needle at a larger scale than doing a lot of micro data analysis."...

"But it's very helpful when you come to a decision where you have two or more options, it's good to allow data to influence some decisions. But you can't do game design through data exclusively. It can be an aid, it can be a tool, but if you're not creative, if you're not a thoughtful gamer or you're not super passionate about the space then you're not going to make a good game."

It's true, very true. I was just thinking about why a game like Limbo sticks out in the way that it does...you could easily tell that the designers had a vision and a goal with the game. It was such an engaging experience because it was such a unique and creatively compelling game that didn't stick to the "norms" so to speak. PlayDead was even encouraged by its investors that the game should have had some kind of multiplayer to be more "competitve" with other games on the market...I'm glad they stuck to their guns and kept the game a single-player, thought-provoking title instead.

Anyway, Harbin goes on to say that because so many developers and publishers rely on data feedback they oftentimes end up copying another game either to mimic its success or play it safe.

Harbin also bites into social gaming company Zynga, essentially saying that they aren't eating into the core market with their games and Playdom, Zynga's rival, isn't doing anything else different from Zynga itself.

You can check out the entire interview over at GameIndustry.biz
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