To some extent, yeah. I like being the Wright Bros instead of Boeing, would be the fitting description inside your example area. If someone else has already done something and done it well, then I don't have any interest in going over there and trying to chase it and do it better. My motivations come from doing things that have never been done before, or which in my opinion have been done poorly.
AI War came out of my frustration that I had never liked any space-based RTS games, ever. If you asked me in 2008 what I thought of space-based RTS games, I would have said "slow, clunky, and not fun." But I really like space, and I really like RTS games, and it seemed stupid to me that I couldn't find some game that didn't feel like my ships were in molasses and where I could feel like Ender Wiggin. So I did it myself.
Shattered Haven came out of my love for both Zelda and Lode Runner. I was frustrated that there had only been (to my mind) one really good Lode Runner game, and nothing to come close since. And I thought the general idea of it had a lot of potential that had been left untapped, but also that the side-view perspective was really limiting the sort of stages that could be designed. So I made my own take.
Valley 1 came from a whole host of desires, most of them "things I'd like to see but that are not based on any one particular game since there's nothing else really close to it." Trying to make a better Metroidvania title than anyone else ever has (with far more budgets and experience than me at the art of a very long-running genre) is something I'd run screaming from. I'm excellent at invention, but making super-polished late-life entries into an existing genre is something best left to others.
And while we're at it, Skyward Collapse came from my desires to create a form of living boardgame that involved tile placement in a fun solitaire fashion where you are your own enemy and there is no enemy AI, there's just you versus a very tough situation. The whole "god game" aspect actually was something that we backed into, it wasn't the core thing about it. I've never actually really played god games before, other than maybe two hours of Black and White, which I didn't like. I missed Populous. I loved Actraiser, thought that doesn't really count. And Actraiser was one inspiration among many for Valley 1.
Whew. Anyhow, perhaps that clarifies. I like swooping into spaces that are either ignored or served poorly. And then innovating there. That's the strength of Arcen, is coming up with new and crazy things. Getting into a direct battle over who can do the best art, or perfect every last nuance of gameplay the best, is an area we'd lose out in. I'm sure we could do it, but the budget would be large and we'd be trying to innovate while doing the other stuff, and that rarely is going to work out well.