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Thatgamecompany: Industry Doesn't Recognize That 'Gamers Are Not Stupid'

Kellee Santiago of Flower developer Thatgamecompany tells Gamasutra the industry doesn't take gamers seriously -- and credits the indie developer's success to the di
As part of a new Gamasutra feature interview, Kellee Santiago of Flower and Journey developer Thatgamecompany suggests the industry doesn't take gamers seriously -- and credits the indie developer's success to the discerning tastes of hardcore gamers. However, Santiago doesn't use that term. She prefers "literate gamers." "It’s interesting when people think that our games are for some weird subset of, I don’t know, experimental gamers. You know, we’ve been very successful on the PlayStation Network, and we’re talking about the PlayStation 3 audience. That’s like as pretty hardcore a gaming audience as you can get. And there is, I think, just an interest in content that’s different," says Santiago. According to Santiago, gamers are hungry for new experiences -- particularly in the current economy. "We’re even more, as gamers, considerate of the value for our dollar. So we want experiences that are going to be fresh and different, and there's a lot of competition for those dollars right now, so the bar is higher," she says. However, companies that put out me-too games are not thinking that strategy through, she suggests. "It turns out gamers are not stupid, and I don’t think we should treat them like they are." While many would assume the hardcore audience would be the least receptive to games like Flower, it has turned out to be not at all the case. "That was a suspicion that Jenova [Chen] and I had founding the company, and I’m glad to find out that it’s true," says Santiago. The full interview -- in which Santiago dives deeper into the developer's creative process and discusses the need to further innovate on gameplay rather than mimic Hollywood -- is live now on Gamasutra.

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