« on: April 11, 2013, 10:23:50 PM »
For my two cents:
* Indeed it would be a mistake to introduce a MOO/Civ style 4X at this time, six months ago would have been a better time. In my mind, the bulk of the audience interested in a 4X have had their fill with the one major indie effort that has come out (forgot the name and TBH it didn't look all that great), and those that aren't will soon be with StarDrive. Fortunately, Arcen doesn't seem to be proposing anything of the sort.
* Arcen should not stop creating games that Arcen likes to make and genuinely likes to play.
* Arcen should definitely look beyond its own forums for input on what games will sell.
Now, where option three can actually be found, I'm not sure, but it shouldn't end with Reddit. I don't think this is something you can go out and find, "hey folks, what do you want from us?" You kind of have to play the game that you feel you want to play, but also the kind of game that you know just isn't out there.
Then you have to get lucky, hitting just the right sweet spot in the greater indie game consumer market, and/or catching the ear of the major talking heads of the indie circuit. That's a hard target to reach, and again, it's almost completely up to luck and just an amazing amount of standout talent. IMO, the golden god of good luck meeting genuinely good design, meeting an amazing design aesthetic is the one man show of Blendo games. Chung's best stuff is on Humble Bundle right now, and his strong catalog stands to earn him enough money to finish his awesome vision for Quadrilateral Cowboy... and then some. And honestly, his stuff is so good, so weird, so inspired, he deserves every penny.
A good example of Arcen just BARELY missing the mark would be Shattered Haven. I've seen lots of opinions about it, and many of them are like this: "This looks like the strategy roguelike zombie scavenger open world game I have been craving for! But it's a puzzle game and it's ok. Well, the search goes on."
I felt that way myself. There's a half-busted, survival, ASCII flavored roguelike called Cataclysm, and visually, SH looked like everything Cataclysm wanted to be, but wasn't.
Shattered Haven is a good game, but it's not enough to make a good game. You almost have to come up with a masterpiece that no one has ever seen before, or fulfil a need that just the right group has been slavering for.
One thing that I think shows the Arcen operation is moving the right direction is: smaller, cheaper games, shorter turnaround. They definitely have heart, they have the will and energy to put out a solid game, and the experience and talent to boot. But it seems like what Arcen may be lacking (we're in opinion territory here) is some genuine inspiration and the knack for spotting a real demand in the indie megagenre.
yep, not a word of this is really helpful.
except for this:
Arcen should make games that Arcen loves to make and really wants to play. And also make sure they know what audience with money will want that sort of game.