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The most sincere form of flattery


  • a plant or animal that has the same genes as the original from which it was produced
  • someone or something that looks very much like someone or something else
  • a computer that operates in a very similar way to the one that it was copied from

You will never be a professional game designer until you understand the art of cloning. From a first perception, it may seem like something unfair. You are stealing, copying, and ripping things off. But it’s not. Cloning is the most sincere form of flattery.

The risk of copycats

The problem with cloning in companies is that businesses are led by business people. People working ON the game. And business people are not designers (usually). When they see that there is something successful, they want to replicate the success. The smartest ones dream to make it grow better than the original.

And that becomes a problem, often, for designers. More in general, for developers. For people working IN the game. While we struggle to find the best way of understanding why something is working and how to improve it… Looking for other games that the same core audience is playing, to find how to integrate… the “orders” we receive is to put “that thing that the CEO’s son saw in that game” in. No discussions.

What to do?

The non-obvious solution, to me, is that designers should earn a sit at the table. And to do that, you need to learn the business language and adapt to it. If your company decides it will dedicate its effort to hybrid casual games (it’s a mere example), it’s a loss from a creative point of view. Your Players will never look for a hybrid casual game. They will look for a simple game to play on their mobile phone. It makes no sense, from the client’s perspective, that kind of wording. So our goal is to understand how to communicate with the business in their crazy way while we work for the Players.

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