Shigeru Miyamoto is one of the most famous game designers in the world, having created series such as Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong. Over the decades he has been instrumental in ensuring that his employer, Nintendo, has remained near the top of the video game tree, so the guy clearly knows what makes for a good video game, right?
Speaking in a 1989 interview with BEEP Magazine (translated by Shmuplations and resurfaced by Dave Rupert), Miyamoto was asked what it takes to be successful in the video game arena. He replied with the following:
Well, what’s worked for me so far is finding something I want to make that matches up with what the market currently needs.
If you believe in your idea, and that it’s something people will want, then all that remains is for you to polish and raise it to a sufficient level of quality. So no matter how talented of a staff you’ve been blessed with, if you don’t have a clear direction for your idea, I don’t think a good game will come out of it. The goal is for each staff member, individually, to contribute to the overall “finish” of the work, so it’s just a matter of having each person fulfill their role. And as the lead creator, even if the rest of the staff sometimes loses sight of the whole picture, it’s your job to hold the course and make sure you keep to that initial vision.
Unfortunately I’ve seen it happen many times where the developers get carried away with themselves, and they’re having a really good time, but it ends up harming the playability of the finished game.