5th Cell's Hybrid is "Marketable Innovation" at Work
The makers behind the quirky title Scribblenauts have revealed their philosophy behind balancing innovation and marketability. “We call it ‘marketable innovation’ here. Commercial viability is extremely important to us. When we do something, we don’t just throw it at a wall and hope it sticks. We look at market data, what people are interested in playing, and offer our own take on that” states Jeremiah Slaczka, creative director at 5th cell.
Take, for example, how Scribblenauts came to be. “When I was designing the base concept, I looked at Nintendogs,” he explains. “I asked, ‘Why is that a market leader?’ And I broke it down scientifically, looking at things — the art style, how the input works. The core theme is puppies, and you know, nobody hates puppies.” In an earlier interview with Game Informer, 5th Cell expounded on the rationale used to design Scribblenauts. “With the DS, we said, what is the DS and who is the market? Thus, using the same line of inquiry he came to decide that ‘surprise’ and ‘imagination’ fit the bill and Scribblenauts was born.
Hybrid, on the other hand, markets to a totally different audience than Scribblenauts did. After all, Hybrid is as cover based post-apocalyptic shooter that will release as an XBLA title. The market for the DS and the 360 are different enough that 5th Cell didn’t feel comfortable continuing their signature quirky/cutesy games on the platform. “Porting over Drawn to Life to the Xbox is a bad idea because no one is going to buy it. That’s fine. We’re all hardcore gamers. So Hybrid has guns and its post apocalyptic. Unsurprisingly, 5th cell is taking cues from games like Call of Duty and Gears of War. “To try to be successful, we look at the market leaders and say, ‘What are they doing right, and what should we take from that?’ Then we ask, ‘How should we be different than that?’”
Despite going in with surgical precision, Slaczka assures that they’re not in it for making a big hit. “If we fail, we fail. If we succeed, we succeed. We actually don’t care that much [about making it a big hit], but we want to be successful.”