Braid co-creator Jonathan Blow argues that the pursuit of innovation is a prerequisite for making a great game.
Calling the zeal for innovation in games an idea he used to promote but now considers "a little bit misdirected," Braid designer Jonathan Blow recently described a possibly superior design goal:
In a recent interview with The Independent Gaming Source, he said:
"I think gameplay innovation can result in things that are interesting, but at the same time it doesn't automatically result in something that is deep - often it's a gimmick. I am interested in deepness and richness of game design. You can get that with deliberate innovation or without; I think the issues are orthogonal. At the same time, I think if a designer is working on something he really cares about, and is really exploring some ideas in his own style, bringing his own particular insight to the table, then he will automatically come up with something different than most other games; furthermore, this will be a deeper, more-compelling kind of innovation.
There's plenty more on that idea — including specifics — from the ever-interesting Blow in the interview. Also in the full piece are details about some scuttled ideas that were once planned for Braid.