A returning problem when doing game-based learning is the budget size. Its a really hard battle to fight against AAA-titles. We have learned the hard way that this is really not the way to go. Our first series Global Conflicts was by some players compared/confused wtih GTA which caused numerous problems in terms of expectations. Players would say something like; hey this looks kind of cool but it sucks compared to GTA. After some time they realised that it was more engaging and challenging than your average textbook but nevertheless the initial impression for those (mostly boys) were taunted.
I am convinced that game-based learning need to redefine the battle field. This is what I think both Itza Bitz and Horrible Histories tries with their graphics style. Itza Bitza is really succesful whereas Horrible Histories have some interesting ideas that seem to fail. Itza Bitza settle for a strong, simple side-view with a clear gameplay. We are trying to go in the same direction with Playing History, where we make a charateristic timeless style with a touch of humor (below a screenshot from the latest build day – we are getting there).