Zynga’s approach to games mirrors their origin as a web company they rely heavily on user metrics. Zynga’s chief games designer, however, defended Brian Reynolds says that’s a gross simplification.

“Game designers don’t necessarily do a lot with metrics. Zynga does a lot with metrics,” clarified Reynolds. “But that’s a discipline, that’s a craft for us and there are people that do that and they bring that in and add that. And some game designers get interested in that and they want to do some of that themselves, and anybody on my team, I love it when they want to have two specialties and learn more but it’s not actually the thing we’re looking for in a game designer. It is something that’s in our culture, having come out of the web industry. Zynga’s original DNA was more web than game and so that learning is there and we’ve gotten really good at it… and the great thing is, at its best, it adds on to the creative field of game design.”

“To game designers who feel like if they came to Zynga, all they would be doing is massaging numbers and tweaking them, well, no, that’s not even what game designers do,” added Reynolds. “They think of the idea ‘Well let’s have romance in the game’ or ‘Let’s have characters and put them in there and let the player choose who’s going to fall in love with who’ and ‘How many whatevers are you going to have to do to do that’ and ‘What are you going to click on’ and ‘What’s the story and how does this fit into the picture ‘ That’s what the game designers do.”

Source: IndustryGamers {link no longer active}