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How viable do you think a 2D platformer is in today's indie market?

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#1 Marscaleb   Members   -  Reputation: 164


Posted 18 December 2012 - 04:02 PM

I'm working on building my own game. I've been going over a number of details to make it's something I can do by myself in my spare time. I've done some tests, made some plans, and it's time for me to hit the rubber to the road.

But there is one last question I have. See, I've got two different games I want to make. One would be a side-scrolling platformer. The other would be best described as a Zelda clone. In either case I would built it with a SNES-era visual style, and it would be targeted at PC's. (Not mobile devices.)

I've been going over the pros and cons of each one, but there is still a matter that I can't quite decide on without some external help.

I am worried that the platformer might be white noise. I see so many platformers out there on the indie market, and so I begin to wonder if there is room for another one. I'm not designing something ground-breakingly innovative like Braid or Fez, just a simple love-letter to the games I grew up with like the classic Castlevania titles. Now to be fair, I don't see "that many" indie platformers that try to be Castlevania, but it still isn't terribly innovative and distinguishable. I could garner recognition for having solid gameplay and a fun experience, but I also foresee the title struggling to get anyone to take a second glace at it or care long enough to discover the solid gameplay.

The Zelda clone however sounds more original. Everybody loves Zelda, but I don't see too many people trying to steal their formula. I can see it gaining a lot of attention and people wanting to try it out, without having any original qualities. At first glance, it sounds to me like I'd make more sales with this title than a side-scroller. It probably does less to establish my prowess for creating something original, but it might make the difference between being recognized.

But in the end. this is all my own personal speculation based off of some very limited examinations of the market. And while of course, it's all speculation; no one knows what the market will be like in a couple years when I am ready to publish, and even I don't have an exact understanding of how appealing the game will be. But regardless, it is important for me to do as much research as I can. And since this research is entirely speculative, I might as well ask for the speculations of other folks, seeing how many would confirm or deny my amaturish analysis.

So I ask, all things being equal between the games I could produce, which do you think would be more successful? And by what degree?
Is there still enough room on the market that another side-scrolling platformer could be successful? Would a Zelda Clone really be something that people would want?

Edited by Marscaleb, 18 December 2012 - 04:05 PM.


#2 emcconnell   Members   -  Reputation: 909


Posted 18 December 2012 - 09:15 PM

I'm no expert in market forecasting, but just make whatever you are most excited about. Most games that people consider ground breaking aren't, they are just really well done. You mention Braid, a game in which nothing from a mechanics standpoint is ground-breaking or innovative. If you make a game you love to play, chances are others will love it to.

Thematic elements and art are great ways to distinguish your game if mechanics are very common. There are many games where the visuals are compelling enough to engage players when gameplay is lacking.

#3 Marscaleb   Members   -  Reputation: 164


Posted 19 December 2012 - 02:23 AM

I agree with everything you said. (Except perhaps to say that Braid wasn't innovative. What, just because two other titles did a rewind thing but in a different manner?)
I do respect these thoughts, but they are also things I'm already considering. I am excited about both of these ideas, but I only have the time to pursue one. They would both have the same compelling visuals and would both be a labor of love. So really, that leaves market speculation as one of the biggest factors in splitting this decision.

#4 lithos   Members   -  Reputation: 413


Posted 21 December 2012 - 03:13 PM

The last 2D game I played was Mark of the Ninja just recently, and had a massive team on it.

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