Simon Flesser and Magnus Gardeback of mobile game studio Simogo urged developers at GDC Europe today to "base [design and business] decisions on what feels right instead of what is considered right."
With the studio's first game, 2010's Kosmo Spin
for iOS, the two-man team created the game following all the rules you're "meant" to follow -- 99 cent price, small file size, lots of updates and a very casual setting. These are the elements they had read would make their game sell.
Simogo's second game Bumpy Road
also attempted to incorporate a number of these "popular" mobile game elements, with lots of updates released post-launch and cut-price sales from time to time. However, the game was priced higher than 99 cents, and yet still managed to sell solidly, making the development pair question whether there really was a set way to sell mobile games.
Earlier this year, Beat Sneak Bandit
was released -- a rather niche rhythm game that was "deliberately difficult" and required that the player had a lot of patience.
It broke every mobile game rule, says Flesser and Gardeback, providing players with hardcore gameplay that featured no in-app purchases, no cross-promotion, no ads, and no cut-price sales at all.
The game never even received a single update, and the duo does not plan to ever release one, noting that they don't feel the need to build on the experience as it's full enough as it is.
Nor is the team planning to port the game to other platforms such as Android, even though the Unity engine allows for fairly simple porting. "We'd rather spend our time on new things rather than porting," explained Flesser.
Through breaking all the rules, the studio says that the game has been a notable success and shown that there isn't a set way to make your mobile game reach great heights.
"We wanted to stay true to our vision, and we want to make memorable experiences," added Flesser. "If you have a really good feeling about something, don't let popular opinion get in the way of it. Trust your gut."
Gamasutra is in Cologne, Germany this week covering GDC Europe. For more GDC Europe coverage, visit our official event page. (UBM TechWeb is parent to both Gamasutra and GDC events.)