Insomniac Games, mastermind game developers behind such popular franchises as Ratchet and Clank and Resistance, have decided to take a dip into the ever expanding pool that is casual gaming. They will accomplish this with a brand new division: Insomniac Click.
None of the workforce other than Brian Hastings, the new head of the division, will be taking time out of development from the main branch of Insomniac Games to focus on Click. According to the recent blog post, the team will be made up completely of newly hired staff.
The immediate reaction might be negative if Insomniac had not handled this new expansion (not a shift) with such an obvious degree of understanding as to how the gaming populace feels about Mafia Wars, FarmVille and that ilk.
"So, what’s the deal, really? Are we jumping on the social gaming bandwagon just because it has an unprecedented daily audience in excess of 100 million people? Is this a sell-out business decision or something we are truly passionate about?
This is something we're passionate about."
Hastings goes on to describe in detail his philosophy behind creating successful and lasting casual titles without jumping on this bandwagon of schlock that has constituted a majority of the Facebook gaming landscape up until now. His problem with the casual gaming market draws mainly from the abundance of tools the games provide, but the lack of a problem to solve or an objective to complete.
"Many social games out there are more activities than games — that is, a set of tools but no problem. For instance, you plant crops and then harvest them to make more money so you can plant more crops. Your tools are: pick a crop, plant it somewhere, harvest a ripened crop. But what problem are you solving? There really isn’t one."
This new step has not been taken lightly by Insomniac. They fully understand the stigma social gaming has created for itself, and want to do everything in their power to avoid that by providing quality games. They've gone so far as to make a Contract with the Audience that they expect to be held to throughout the growth of Insomniac Click:
- Social interaction must be mutually enjoyable.
- Game tuning must benefit the player experience.
- Gameplay Depth.
- Easy to Learn, Hard to Master.
- Make It Fun First.
These seem like qualifications that make up a quality console title. I have never cared for the current trend of Facebook games that incessantly alert me to their presence, and have nothing to offer in terms of gameplay or even objective. Insomniac Click seems completely dedicated to changing my opinion along with countless other who have avoided Facebook games like the plague. From what we've seen so far, if anyone can do it, Insomniac can.
Source: Insomniac Games Blog