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How to make a popular game

by NSDG • Jun 20, 2018 • 0 Comments
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Fortnite is arguably one the most popular video-games at the moment.

Created by Epic Games it was originally a zombie survival game with a building elements, but it took a heavy turn when a Battle Royale phenomenon became to rise in popularity (After the release of Player Unknown's Battlegrounds ("PUBG")).

Fortnite Battle Royale


Shortly after the release of PUBG, Fortnite has been reworked adding a Battle Royale mode (100 players battle against each other, until there is only one surviver/winner).

Unsurprisingly this move paid off, making Fortnite almost an overnight success (later surpassing an already popular Player Unknown's Battlegrounds).

So the question arise. Why some games become popular while others do not?

Let's investigate.

The Truth is in the Name


Almost every game developer starts by picking a name for their game.

The good and catchy name goes a long way in attracting the new players.

But when it comes to retaining the player base, the name itself is not enough.

Halfway there: Gameplay mechanics


Gameplay mechanics is the second most important aspect that adds to the game popularity.
So what's exactly game mechanics?

Basically it's how the game feels while playing it.

All popular games have one thing in common: gameplay feels satisfying, making players return for more.

But there is one thing, that if done wrong, can outweigh the good name and gameplay.

The Lighting


That's right. Lighting is what fills the world you are moving in.
It can either make you feel adventurous and excited or feel like you're stuck in the box.

For example check the screenshots below (click to expand):

Player's Unknown Battlegrounds gameplay screenshotH1Z1 gameplay screenshot

Image on the left (or the first one) is from Player's Unknow Battlegrounds and on the right (second one) is from another game called H1Z1 - a game with somewhat similar mechanics and with identical Battle Royale mode.

Despite being similar, PUBG enjoys millions of players while H1Z1 is on a steady decline, why is that?

We could speculate many reasons, but the main difference between these 2 games is: The Lighting.

In PUBG the colors are more vibrant and the ambient is more profound while in H1Z1 the lighting is too bland and un-inviting.

Conclusion


There are many variables that affect the game popularity, but the 3 most important are: The Name, Gameplay Mechanics and The Lighting.

Combine those 3 and you have a popular game on your hands.

Fortnite already had 2 of them (A catchy Name and a good artstyle/lighting), the last thing they needed, is to improve the gameplay mechanics, which they did by adding a Battle Royale mode.