Josef Fares has an interesting grasp on how to make a successful game. He has several games under his belt. Each of the three is a critical or financial success. Each based on a relatively unexplored mechanic or narrative concept.
For Fares, a game must not be fun to be successful. It certainly doesnt hurt, but a game that has a unique interactivity, even one that isn''t traditionally fun to play, will be truly successful.
Yes, games might be fun, but the best moments in games, for me, haven''t been about fun. Journey, or the beginning of The Last of Us, is something that wasn''t about fun.
Sometimes its not about being fun
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a good example. Fares'' first foray into games isn''t what I''d call fun. It''s engaging and compelling. It''s emotionally resonant. But that game does not work without the unique controller. Fares wanted Brothers to be played cooperatively with each player using one half of the same controller.
Interactivity is critical to the experience, and the experience is less difficult without it. In retrospect, the mechanics of using the single controller are even deeper. At a certain point the game causes a loss, and that sudden lack of interactivity brings the whole thing home.
You play with these brothers, connect really well, and then one brother will die, according to Fares. Physically, one brother''s left hand was the one you lost, because youre used to controlling the camera with it.
Fares followed Brothers up with two more success stories. A Way Out and It Takes Two are more traditional mechanically, but use a split-screen multiplayer to capture a similar collaboration feeling.
Games that I don''t believe should be fun to succeed is a concept that I suppose would not be beneficial to everyone. However, it seems to work for Josef Fares, and the games industry is better off.