Uncertainty a sign of a healthy industry, says Capy head

President of Below developer Nathan Vella says not knowing what works inspires weird risks, stupid calls that lead to success

Capy Games co-founder and president Nathan Vella doesn't know quite where the industry's headed, but he thinks that's probably a good thing. The head of the Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP developer told GameSpot recently that the industry is going through a "strange mix of more opportunity than ever and more uncertainty than ever," with consoles, distribution, and business models all seemingly in flux.

"I don't mind the uncertainty at all," Vella said. "In fact, I think the second that we get comfortable, the second that everybody's like 'OK, cool. This is how the industry is,' it's going to cause more problems than if we don't know what it is. The lack of certainty right now I think really elicits or requires people to think about things creatively and take some f**king weird risks. Make some stupid calls, and those stupid calls could end up being the most successful things out there."

Of course, believing such turbulence is a net positive for the industry doesn't necessarily make it easier for an individual to endure it.

"Since we started the studio eight years ago, I've never really felt comfortable," Vella said.

Capy Games has two announced projects in the works. Super T.I.M.E. Force is set for release this year, with the Xbox One timed-exclusive Below expected in 2014.

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Latest comments (2)

Gil Salvado 3D/2D Artist 6 years ago
It's an easy thing to say if you made a successful title. Try talking sense into a publisher, that he really needs to give you money for a redesign of a feature that ain't fun. Most will tell you that the system works just fine as it is right now. Try to explain them why you cannot copy any title in half the time the original was produced. Not understanding why some games are fun and others not as much is the reason why they're are so many copycats. Especially on the new platforms.

I've been in another industry before. One were there is a lot knowledge of how things work to be profitable and successful. It thrives on and on and still innovates annually. Same goes for other industries which have existed for more than a century. It's 80-90% knowing what you do and the rest is gut instinct and taking chances.

Uncertainty is the number one reason why so many skilled people leave the gaming industry and with them their knowledge and momentum. Taking "weird" risks is only a sign of ignorance and aimlessness.
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@Gil Everyone knows games is a business but there's too many folks who see it as *just* a business, and not entirely coincidentally they're often those with the least creative interest in and love for the medium. Yes there is failure but videogames are not static defined software products or objects of a known quantity, easy to measure. We are not building a house here and just because we have Zerabytes of data collected on our players finger movements does not mean we are distilling the human brain or, dare I say, soul. Games function much more like albums or movies do - our audience buys experiences and the formula for a great game experience remains as elusive as the formula to a No.1 album. So unless you are comparing games with these other creative industries, your analogy about uncertainty being "ignorance" makes no sense. Uncertainty is part of the package, in fact when dealing with art/craft or whatever, not knowing what comes next is where greatness, if it arrives, comes from. This seemed to me what Nathan was talking about, he wasn't talking about certainty in the business sense such as ability to predict the next fad, or expert discernment of which bandwagon to jump on. He's talking about the place we launch our ideas from and where we connect with our customers the most - the gut.
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