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20 Nov 2014

Indie Dev Tip: Avoid Developing Indie Games For Yourself

It’s easy to get caught in the trap of wanting to make the game that you want to develop, and you’re not alone. So many artists get caught in the trap of ‘creating what I would want to see created’ that it’s easy to forget why you’re making something in the first place (hint: your audience). Even the best film directors, musician’s, writers – anyone artistic – have had flops in their career, and it usually points back to the artist wanting to create something they felt passionate about with few people sharing their passion.

From an artistic standpoint, there’s nothing wrong with this. After all, if you have the ability to create art that you want to create, then that’s great. Do it. But if you expect it to sell? That’s a completely different story.

It’s easy to become passionate about an idea for an indie game without thinking about whether or not your audience would like the idea in the first place. According to Robert Jerauld, former producer at Enix America:

“You can’t get caught up in making games for yourself believing that you speak for the consumer. You have to take the time to really hear what people have to say, read all the feedback, read all the comments, truly understand what people seek in their experiences.”

Jerauld also points out that:

“Above all, I learned that you have to value the consumer above all else. If you don’t take the time to listen, to hear what people are saying – you are putting yourself ahead of your customers.”

Read the first line of the last quote again. That’s the best way to avoid falling into this ‘passion trap’ we’re talking about. Your audience must come first – always. If you put your wants ahead of what they want like Jerauld points out, disaster is going to follow. Thus, the trick is to find equal footing between you and your audience.

  • What do they want that you can become passionate about?
  • What is your indie studio best at, and how can you use that to win the favor of your audience?
  • Most importantly: can you sell your passionate ideas to your audience and ensure they’re happy with your decision?

If your answer is yes to all three, you may have a winning idea. If you’re unsure? Prototype accordingly and see if your idea is actually worth pursuing and if your audience actually wants it.

Do you have any questions or comments about avoiding the ‘passion trap?’ Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Gamasutra

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