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Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida and Greg Rice dish the do’s and don'ts of indie games development

Day two of Develop: Brighton opened with plenty of advice for indie games developers
Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida and Greg Rice dish the do’s and don'ts of indie games development
  • Shuhei Yoshida is the head of the Indie initiative for Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Greg Rice joined the Sony team in 2019 and is known for his work helping to create the Day of the Devs

Day two of Develop: Brighton kicked off this morning with a keynote entitled 'Supporting Indies and Creativity in Game Development', presented by Fundamentally Game’s Ella Romanos, who was joined by Sony Interactive Entertainment's Shuhei Yoshida and Greg Rice.

Shuhei Yoshida joined Sony Corporation in 1986 and has been the head of the Indie initiative for Sony Interactive Entertainment for the last five years. Greg Rice joined the Sony team in 2019 and is also known for his work helping to create the Day of the Devs. 

What makes a great game?

When discussing what makes a great game now, there was a clear message that the industry has changed. While years ago, you could perhaps stand out with one great aspect of your game, the market is now so competitive and saturated that it raises the bar to new levels. 

Rice commented, "Now there are so many games out there, you must excel across multiple areas. It’s across art style, it’s design, and you need to have good gameplay hooks.”

Yoshida added, “To me, it’s always about how the game plays. The uniqueness of this medium is its interactivity, so when I give feedback, I first play the game. How the game itself plays is crucial." Yoshida continued by explaining what indie developers should do with their game to ensure it’s at the right level: "You need iteration, polish and testing. Any game you make, you should be showing it at events, show it to friends and family, and really watch how people play because you already know how the game works, but they don’t, so watch for what they see in your game and make changes.”

Developer mistakes

In game development, mistakes and challenges can sometimes be unavoidable, but for indies, particularly, too many mistakes can change the entire trajectory of a project or throw it entirely off track. Discussing what mistakes developers are often seen making, Rice noted: “For indies, it’s often overestimating what’s possible. Having enthusiasm is great, but it can take over, so it’s really important to have a clear vision.”

Rice continued, “Indie developers specifically, sometimes I find they go be really heads down and immersed in the development aspect, but if you’re an indie, there’s a good chance you’re also doing your own publishing, your own marketing and other aspects.

"Sometimes, these important parts are an afterthought and something they visit towards the end of development, but you’ve got to remember these areas are just as important as the development; don’t wait to tell the world about your game.”