9-01-04[someone said:] Whenever possible I favour ground up design, i.e. design that works to exploit what you can do well. Good designers are able to find those gems that a) you can do effectively, and b) players want. A good example of this is simulating car crash dynamics. I think that Burnout 3 will do very well, it will probably sell several million units.
This is an excellent way to make games (it seems to me Doom 3 was made this way). Pick one strong tech or design feature that's novel and interesting and then build up a game around that feature using well-known and traditional elements (car driving, shooting, what have you).