How to know your audience, and sell them a game they could well do without

newbattletoads

Battletoads (TBD)

It mightn’t exactly be best practice to analyse a product before it comes out, but that doesn’t stop the legions of fans out there writing things off, way before they ever come to pass. We all knew the Ricky Gervais episode of The Simpsons would be a disaster, for example. But we couldn’t know that before we watched it, right? Actually, we could, because it really isn’t that hard to read your audience and give them something they want – and not something you think they want. And this is where I, if I happened to run some godawful consultancy firm, would propose millions of job redundancies worldwide.

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You shouldn’t hit a girl, even if she’s shooting at you

perfect dark logo 2

Perfect Dark (2000)

Things have calmed down quite a bit in recent years, but there was a time in and around the height of Call of Duty 17 and Battlefield Minus One that seemingly every popular game out there was a first-person shooter. If you were a developer and you decided you wanted to release a 3D platformer or something, a proper game for the ages, then you could forget it.

If it wasn’t shooty-shooty-bam-bam time and there weren’t 12-year-olds online in an over 18s game, it wasn’t worth your while. It wouldn’t sell, and you would be branded an unbankable developer, with emphasis on ‘leper’, and you’d be beat back down to mobile games with icons of shouty bearded cartoon men. Why couldn’t you just have done the necessary for your now-starving family and made something like Perfect Dark instead?

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Budget is my least favourite word in the dictionary

yooka

Yooka-Laylee (2017)

You don’t need to know me particularly well to gather that I’m almost allergic to spending money. The way I see it, every little penny that I’ve tricked people into giving me is a hard-earned penny indeed. I’ll squeeze dosh from any man’s coffers – government, ignorant employers, family, the lot. I’ve even eyed up beggars’ cups on occasion – that’s how far I’ll go for a few quid.

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