Once we have a solid understanding of the game idea, we dive deep into research. Are there other games out there with a similar idea? It is our job to determine if this has been done before.
Game mechanics are hot topics in our social circle. It is our job to know what is new and trending. Nailing down a game mechanic, theme, concept, and differentiator is critical to a games success. We say this because it is extremely difficult to change down the road.
Research is always the first step in Game Design. This is because we want to have good information to back up the rest of our decisions in a games design.