GDC 2012: Stop trying to be the next Angry Birds, says Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP dev

Making a 'game for everyone' is a lottery

GDC 2012: Stop trying to be the next Angry Birds, says Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP dev

Looking to create a hit game for the App Store? Just stopping trying to be the next Angry Birds, then!

That's the advice of Capybara Games's Nathan Vella, one of the masterminds behind the wonderful Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP.

During a talk at the Game Developers Conference (GDC), Vella argued that while iOS developers seem to be under the impression that they should simply try to make games that'll have widespread appeal like Angry Birds, the best idea is to make a title that's more edgy and focused.

Huge success stories

"I personally believe that one of the scariest parts of the massive success of the iOS platform is that it has taught developers that they should try and make games for everyone," Vella said.

He continued: "It seems like an obvious choice because games like Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, and Cut the Rope sold 10, 20 million copies but, believe it or not, I actually I think that's a really bad business decision."

"When you say 'I'm making a game for everyone' it actually means you're not really making a game for anyone."

Risky business

Vella explained that if you attempt to make a game that is aimed at the entire market, you'll be competing with the hundreds of other developers who are doing the same. Therefore, it's actually a lot more risky.

However, if you try to make a game that offers something completely different, you can forge your own unique space or niche in the market.

"You're trying to make the next Angry Birds, so what you're doing is basically walking up to a slot machine, putting the budget of your game into the slot, pulling the lever, and praying to God that you get three f*cking cherries," Vella contended.

He concluded by noting that "It's very important that your game stands out. Digital platforms are a f*cking sea of games and basically every day that sea's tide rises and there's 10,000 more... So when standing out is so critical, is making something risky, really that risky? Or is it actually more risky to make something that doesn't stand out?"

Mike Rose
Mike Rose
An expert in the indie games scene, Mike comes to Pocket Gamer as our handheld gaming correspondent. He is the author of 250 Indie Games You Must Play.