There are games with fantastic graphics, with environments which is just stunning. There are games with great combat and movement mechanics, games with really good AIs, games with lots of options to create and customize things, etc. Generally speaking all these things are important for a game, naturally depending on what kind of game it is. Putting a lot of effort in a combat mechanic for a puzzle game isn’t exactly what I would focus on for example, but I think you get the picture.
There is however one thing which is above all these things in my opinion, the game feel. It really doesn’t matter how amazingly rich the graphical details are, how brilliant the movement mechanics are – if it doesn’t make you get the right feeling.
This is for example why I liked Read Dead Redemption better than GTA, even thought they’re built on basicly the same engine. It had a much better feel and charm, and because of that I could also be indulgent with some flaws in the campaign story.
So if someone would ask me what’s the most important thing in a game; the answer is darn easy to provide. It’s the game feel. But if someone asks me exactly how you create a good game feel, or asks to me explain exactly what’s this feeling is about – the answer would be all but easy.
It’s like trying to describe why you’re in love with someone: “Well you know, she’s funny, good-looking, has a big warm heart and she makes me feel really special”, and when you think about what you’ve just said you realize these are words which could’ve also been said about a really good friend. There are things you just can’t describe with words, but you can feel them. And thank God for that.
The game feel is naturally the most important thing in Hattrick as well, and I also think the game feel is the main reason why Hattrick is a success and also why so many managers keep on playing year after year. That said, looking back I also have to admit that there may be times when it has been put in the shadows. Unintentionally and maybe not totally out of focus, but nevertheless. And even though I still think the game feel is really good in Hattrick, I’m also certain we can make it better.
The old saying “it’s all in the story” isn’t true for games, but the story is certainly of importance for the game feeling and to be honest we can become much better at telling a story. Just to mention one thing. But all in all, never forgetting about the game feel in everything we do is the best service we can give ourselves.