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Feature: The Travails Of Pressure And Iteration
Feature: The Travails Of Pressure And Iteration
June 29, 2010 | By Christian Nutt

June 29, 2010 | By Christian Nutt
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In Gamasutra's latest feature, Finding The Game In A Sequel To A Sequel To A Sequel, PlayFirst game design manager Patrick Baggatta unravels the complications of the creative process behind Diner Dash 5.

The series is one of the most popular and iconic in all of casual games, but that history lead both to creative stagnation and tremendous pressure mucking up the development of the latest game, writes Baggatta.

"Assumptions of any size are a potentially fatal temptation in game development, but by the time we embarked on our sequel to a sequel to a sequel, it turned out we'd already made the biggest assumption of all," he states. "Because we'd made so many of these games over the years, we assumed we 'had a game' by default and started moving forward before anyone was able to specifically say what it was supposed to be."

That wasn't the only complication. "Our customers were telling us they wanted something big," he writes. "Something new and exciting. And so, the rally call of 'Time Management Game of the Year' was born. It spoke to overall expectations, but lacked substance, except, of course, the paralyzing subtext that anything short of the "biggest and best" equaled failure. This well-meaning mantra quickly took on a sinister tone that would haunt the team for months. It was top-down direction in a really dangerous form."

Over the course of the feature, he explores the trouble the team ran into and the lessons learned -- lessons which ultimately helped PlayFirst produce "a game that lived up to the good name of its franchise while delivering a few new and exciting enhancements," and most importantly, he writes, "the fans got what they really wanted all along."

The full feature, Finding The Game In A Sequel To A Sequel To A Sequel, is live now on Gamasutra.


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