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Limbo Developer: Bigger Companies Need "Safe Zones"

Limbo won plenty of honors last year when it launched on the Xbox Live service, and it'll be coming to the PlayStation Network next week.

And with giant blockbusters typically following tried-and-true formulas for mass appeal, independent developers like Limbo's Playdead recognize the pressing need for freshness in smaller packages.

Playdead CEO Dino Patti told VG247 that they were a little surprised at the number of people who loved their game. As for the unique style, Patti explains that his team wasn't going to avoid taking risks. Why? Because the bigger crowd-pleasing titles are just too familiar.

"It’s a deep question, but I believe that we humans too quickly get too acquainted with the past and things that have already been created – so much so that we sometimes lose the ability to think in new ways. I believe that many mainstream games are created by people where this phenomenon is more severe. You take what you know and change a few parameters and then measure it towards statistics when there are things that needs to be decided.

Especially in bigger companies where de-risking is a big part of the individual’s agenda, it’s all about not going too far from the ‘safe zones.’ Arnt Jensen, my working partner and game director of Limbo, just had a vision for the game, and went with his feelings, until Limbo was born."

These safe zones of which he speaks are commonly known to gamers, even if they don't readily acknowledge their existence at all times. But we've said it before and we'll say it again: while one can find innovation and even revolution in big-name games, one can discover freshness on a routine basis in the downloadable world.

Related Game(s): LIMBO

Tags: limbo, limbo psn, playdead, game news

7/15/2011 10:40:20 AM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (12 posts)

Friday, July 15, 2011 @ 11:02:27 AM

This is why I waste more time on these little experimental games than big big blockbusters. They're so much fun and so engaging, and playing them is like getting a breath of fresh air. There are more Live and PSN titles that wow me with their simplicity yet incredible depth or learning curve that I just adore trying it out and getting my friends involved.

Many of my female friends loved Limbo, cos it didn't involve getting the perfect headshot or fastest lap time. You were presented with a chllenge, and completing it allowed you to move on and explore the world further til you hit the next puzzle.

Braid was by far my fave game of 2008 and even 2009. It's difference, simplicity yet level of challenge was brilliant and I continue to play it even though other great AAA titles I own from that year mostly collect dust now.

But just remember, it's not only the little guys innovating. Look at Heavy Rain and Child of Eden. Look at Katamari and Catherine. The big boys can still innovate too, but FPS' are too safe for now. I can't wait for the FPS bubble to burst, I want RPGs to become big again, especially JRPGs!

Last edited by Dancemachine55 on 7/15/2011 11:03:40 AM

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Claire C
Friday, July 15, 2011 @ 12:07:53 PM

You last sentence echoes exactly the way I feel too. Although, Bioshock Infinite might be a good example of a fps that strives to innovate. Either way I still want the bubble to burst. Hehe =)

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Friday, July 15, 2011 @ 8:24:18 PM

If it weren't for games like Bioshock Infinite, I probably wouldn't touch another FPS again.

Battlefield 3 looks pretty good, but it's just another modern warfare FPS with tweaks. Then there's WWII FPS' but that bubble has burst now. Then there's sci-fi FPS' like Halo and Bioshock which I prefer due to there creativity.

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Friday, July 15, 2011 @ 11:03:35 AM

Heavy Rain was a big risk and it paid off pretty well.
PS3 Exclusives like The Last Guardian are taking chances by trying new things in a Blu-ray disc way.

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Claire C
Friday, July 15, 2011 @ 12:01:34 PM

All I could think about while reading his quote was CoD. I couldn't help it!!! :P

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Friday, July 15, 2011 @ 8:27:57 PM

I think we all were. This article perfectly explains why so many publishers are taking the easy road with big titles, cos it's safer. Look at how little CoD, Battlefield, Halo, resistance and uncharted has changed over the years. If it ain't broke, dont fix it. :)

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Friday, July 15, 2011 @ 1:15:23 PM

Yes... but the "little" guys can find it difficult to survive... You have the few that have stood out, and in some cases been bought over... but for every "little guy" that succeeds, as many fail...

I respect them though... they have gonads and want to make a point that gaming should not become digital Hollywood...



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Friday, July 15, 2011 @ 1:22:58 PM

El Shaddai, look into it people, download the demo. Be amazed.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 7/15/2011 1:25:21 PM

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Friday, July 15, 2011 @ 5:02:22 PM

Indeed, I'm liking the art in it it's very cool and the game play is fun. :)

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Friday, July 15, 2011 @ 8:29:35 PM

I got it on 360. It is amazing!! Short, but very satisfying to complete.

I highly recommend it to all. :)

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Lawless SXE
Friday, July 15, 2011 @ 1:36:48 PM

Nah, they don't need them, they just have them. EA had a pair going and doing something like Create, but it didn't pay off, and that's ultimately what they look at: the profit margin. Unfortunately, risky games are less likely to sell, and so a publisher isn't likely to throw their clout behind one.

If only they would put the marketing dollars behind them. I mean, imagine if EA had published Catherine here, and put the Battlefield 3 marketing engine behind it, it would be huge. I'm dreaming though. B-Team, FTW!

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Saturday, July 16, 2011 @ 4:48:23 AM

thats why you only see smaller DL games normally straying from the norm, because to do a big budget release that way would be too risky.
you want to separate yourself from the crowd, but you dont want to separate yourself straight into bankruptcy!
games dont make themselves, people gotta get paid so of course publishers are going to be reluctant in investing on higher risk titles.

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