October’s issue of Edge features an interview with Jaakko Iisalo – the creator of Angry Birds. When asked about what factors increase chances of success on the mobile marketplace Jaakko provided a number of points – one of which was as follows:

You have to have a great idea for a game. It has to have heart and soul. For me, that’s the most important thing.

The heart and soul can only come from those people who drive a project forward and have personal input and control over the final result – anything else (at the other extreme we have ‘design by committee’) and the game will suffer as it loses its charm. But it’s not an easy thing to do – especially if you are working with a publisher that is investing millions in a game. But for independents it is possible and, for me, is the biggest single attraction to making games. I really think that people respond far better to a quality game with the creator’s stamp or MO all over it.

I keep coming back to the fact that you have to have a game with soul. Someone has to have a strong vision for what the game is about. You get nowhere by just copying and producing a lifeless clone. There just aren’t a lot of folks out there with fresh, good ideas. Just look at the number of Angry Birds clones that are out there.

It’s something to bear in mind whenever you have a confidence crisis in your game – remember that you should be focusing on the experience you want to give to players – not changing your ideas based on what is popular at the moment or what you anticipate people will like. Of course, even if your game is a commercial failure and no one plays it – at least you failed without compromising yourself. If there’s one thing worse than failing, its failing after bending over backwards to please others.