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Scribblenauts success inspired by Nintendogs

Scribblenauts developer 5th Cell looked to Nintendogs for cues as to how to become a platform leader on the DS.

"People think that Scribblenauts was some crazy idea, but when I was designing the base concept, I looked at Nintendogs," 5th Cell's Jeremiah Slaczka told Game Set Watch.

"I asked, 'Why is that a market leader?' And I broke it down scientifically, looking at things - the art style, how the input works. The core theme is puppies, and you know, nobody hates puppies."

The creative director chose imagination and surprise rather than puppies or kitties and Scribblenauts - a game that went on to be one of the system's top third-party sellers - grew from there.

Slaczka says 5th Cell is extremely conscious of its reputation for quirkiness.

"We call it 'marketable innovation' here," he said. "Commercial viability is extremely important to us. When we do something, we don't just throw it at a wall and hope it sticks. We look at market data, what people are interested in playing, and offer our own take on that.

" ... We call ourselves innovative and different -- that's kind of our MO. So if we're going to say that, we shouldn't be stuck in our comfort zone. Whenever we do another project, we want to push the boundaries of what's comfortable to us. ... That's why we come into work every day."

5th Cell's next project is Hybrid, an Xbox Live Arcade shooter. Nathan was pretty impressed by what he saw of it.

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