How does the direction of a game during creation affect its success?
This question has been bothering me for a while since I never managed to find a good answer for it. How exactly do all the direction choices when creating a new game affect its ratings, chances of winning an award, or how well it sells?
If I wanted to create a sumo puzzle game and put all my points into developing the game world, what will that affect, than say, focusing on a niche audience?
My experience playing the game has led me to believe that the direction points do not affect ratings, chances of winning awards, or sales... at least not directly.
It seems to me that direction points seem to play a factor (in combination with the genre/type) in how much of the 4 categories (Fun, Creativity, Graphics and Sound) get developed. For instance, I found allocating lots of points to the Innovation direction will cause your game to have a high Creativity score. I also notice high Graphics & Sound scores when I use many points on Polish. These correlations are not direct 1:1 relationships (Innovation does not simply affect Creativity, it probably also affects Fun) and as I've mentioned, I believe the genre/type also play a factor.
As sjohnston mentioned, a higher total number of points used seems to create higher scoring games. And as many other sources suggest, having balanced scores in the four areas (Fun, etc.) seems to help sales and chances of winning GOTY awards. This means that the direction points will not directly affect sales and awards but will affect game's scores which will affect sales and awards.
I would conclude that it would be a good strategy to distribute the direction points in all areas to be fairly balanced but use some common sense to maybe slightly stack a few areas (e.g. stacking Game World direction for Action RPG or stacking Realism for War games). I believe that this will lead to high, balanced game scores which will lead to higher sales, review scores, and chances for awards.