Alright. So let's talk about that thing I do with most of my week. Shipping vidya games.
A game should only have/do 3-5 things. Maximum. Depending on your budget, team size, and time remaining. These should be your pillars.
Your game should focus only on those things and, as a team, prioritize them and know what level of quality you want to hit for each.
If whatever a team wants to add or change falls off that list, there are two options: reevaluate and change your pillars or cut it.
Which one you choose depends on how much time is left for your project and how much of that you're willing to sacrifice.
The issue with time, is that unlike money, it's irreplaceable. You will never reasonably "gain time."
The pillars of a game should be the foundation of the project and everything the team does should tie into them. Have a date to lock those and know which ones should not change.
(hint: lock the pillars that require tech first and don't drastically change them)
Looking at a real world example (which I'm playing right now, bear with me here as my thoughts on this are my own from playing the game): Zelda.
Zelda does 5 things extremely well and everything else takes a backseat to those 5 pillars.
1. Physics system. 2. Weather/Elemental systems. 3. Durability and Crafting systems. 4. Puzzle solving (design) 5. Exploration (design)
That's it. That's Zelda; Breath of the Wild. Everything else takes a backseat to those 5 pillars.
(pausing my thread here but I'll be back)
And Zelda is heralded as such a great game because it owns those 5 things and does them well.
It's not a perfect game, I am not a fan of either the controls or the UI. I find both to be uncomfortable at points but it doesn't detract from the overall experience because they're secondary to the core of the game.
The Story is another point. Zelda has a very soft story and that's ok, that's not what the game is. Narrative can, is, and should be a pillar if that's a focus for your game. Example; I would say that Telltale games or Life is Strange would set narrative as a pillar point.
Keep in mind: Your game can't, and shouldn't be everything. It should be 3-5 things and it should be exceptional at those things.
Be extremely clear with the pillars of the game and cut anything that falls outside of that scope.
Be realistic with what those pillars are and don't try to shove a non- pillar feature into your box because "it would be cool"
You know what I've had to do with "it would be cool" features?
I've cut them.

That comes with a heavy cost. It costs time. It costs money. It carries a high emotional cost to the team.
And it's never an easy thing to do but in the long term, I would rather cut something than ship a feature that brings an otherwise great game down to mediocre quality.
Even if the team has spent 2 years on it. Know when to cut your losses.
Anyway. All this to say: I love games and I love seeing what they do and where the potential is. I love helping my teams release great games.
Keep on building and keep on dreaming #gamedev friends. You're doing good work. :)

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