If you’re working on a creative project with multiple people, think about your essence statement. An essence statement is a single sentence that explain the core value and purpose of your product. It is not used for external communication like a product pitch is, but is mostly for internal communication in the team. It doesn’t describe the mechanics or aesthetics as much as it discusses what the goal of the project is as a creative product.
Nuclear Throne is a top-down shooter that’ll stay fun to play for us as creators.
LUFTRAUSERS is a game about being the best fighter pilot in the world.
Ridiculous Fishing is a game with an infinite and positive feedback loop.
Super Crate Box is a game against camping.
Every game is different, and the thesis for each game is different. Being able to communicate why you’re making your game, or what feeling you’re trying to effect in the player, will help a lot with figuring out what your goals are. Is your essence statement more of a feeling – like we did in LUFTRAUSERS – you’re probably going to want to focus on things that create that feeling. What makes a fighter pilot feel like the best? Skimming over the water, avoiding ridiculous amounts of bullets, taking out overwhelming odds, airobatics and stunts. In Ridiculous Fishing, our focus was elsewhere entirely – we tried to create a multi-stage feedback loop that was rewarding and positive regardless of level of play.
Communication is hard enough without a clear direction, and I find essence statements help me lock on to what we’re creating.