5th Cell Says Publisher Expectations Cause Problems
If developer 5th Cell has tried to emphasize anything with their projects, it's innovation. Having previously crafted unique games such as Drawn to Life, Lock's Quest, and Scribblenauts, the independent developer has been motivated to turn out quality content that offers gamers a different type of experience. And while not all of the company's games have been flawless, there's no denying the motivation and drive that 5th Cell showcases every time a new title gets developed.
In an interview with Gamasutra, 5th Cell's Jeremiah Slaczka and Joseph Tringali opened up about publishers and their expectations, which can diminish a game. One of the primary issues is the assumption that creative formulas used for other games will work for all games. "A lot of publishers will say, 'It worked on this game,' or, 'It worked on that game,' but just because that's true for one studio doesn't mean that's true for all studios," said Slaczka.
Problems also arise when publishers put too much attention on the game-making process, ignoring the actual concept of the game. Rather than supporting developers and focusing on their product, publishers become obsessed with production with deadlines. "Those things should support the game rather than the game following this process because that's how it's done," said Tringali.
Creativity seems to be a trouble spot for a lot of developers. 5th Cell isn't the only developer pushing for more freedom in the industry. Recently, Final Fantasy IV designer Takashi Tokita said he felt creativity was limited in the game-making space due to an unwritten set of standards that publishers, other franchises, and sequels force on developers.
5th Cell is one of those rare developers that do business their way and squeeze creativity into each of their games. Currently, the developer is working on a downloadable third-person shooter for Xbox Live Arcade called Hybrid. The game is set to feature some innovative gameplay mechanics, but not much is known at the time. It's going to be interesting to see how the folks over at 5th Cell create a game for a genre that's fairly streamlined.