訪談:發行商談物色獨立遊戲關注的幾大特徵

本文原作者:Christopher Dring 譯者:ciel chen

Jon Torrens上週寫到了有關獨立遊戲者如何最好地銷售他們的產品的內容,這周我們邁出了更遠的一步,訪問了出版商他們挑選遊戲的標準是什麼。下面是他們給我們的回答。

“我個人來說是探尋那些明亮的眼睛,能做出超乎尋常的,“一些特別的”以及“有感染力的”等等之類的遊戲” 歐洲發行商Raw Fury的負責人Jonas Antonsson如是說。

“也就是說我想要開發者在談論他的遊戲時流露出的激情與熱愛。那種深切的愛會告訴你,所有的小細節和所有難題都會被很好地解決,因爲他們想做出一些了不起的東西。然後,我也希望開發者能在我們身上找到同樣的特質。”

知道你遊戲的潛在受衆嗎?

Do you know the potential audience for your game?

激情似乎是潛在投資者所看重的最重要的一個特質,但是那需要附上現實主義和深謀遠慮的。

potential audience for your game(from gamesindustry.biz)

potential audience for your game(from gamesindustry.biz)

“要遇到對你的遊戲有激情的,對市場有把握的以及以及能洞察潛在發行夥伴的真的是非常重要的。”Curve的發行總監Simon Bryon說道。

“知道能讓消費者興奮的遊戲類型是無比重要的。市場正在進化,去年的流行遊戲今年可能就不流行了。如果你的遊戲是出於興趣愛好,那很好,但是它需要有潛在受衆。還有,不,照搬Steam Spy的熱門遊戲做出一個相似的遊戲是不夠的——如果你有了某個目標,要弄清當下的形勢是否合適。

“隨你所想地問發行商或者投資者問題,他們問你多少你就問他們多少——這表明讓一款遊戲取得成功是需要共同努力的。明白他們如何運作以及他們在資金支持以外還將提供什麼服務。他們會分你多少?他們要如何支付?還有,悄悄地,做一些小調查——他們是否有良好的信譽?他們現下的開發者如何評價他們的?”

事實上,就像任何面試,發行商也需要在這些會面中證明自己。

“事前準備是至關重要的:想想你能和什麼人一起共事?你爲什麼想和他們共事?他們可以在什麼地方幫到你?還有別害怕,去問問你身邊的同行朋友們,”Sold Out的老闆Garry Williams這麼說道。“有緩慢或根本沒有進行支付的歷史的發行商,是你在做會面安排的優先順序時的一個重要線索。一個發展社區就在那兒,所以別害怕好好利用它。”

保持介紹的簡潔也是在會面前需要嘗試和改進的一個關鍵技巧。你想讓發行商立馬就能明白你的遊戲,而你的遊戲可能會是一個很複雜的概念。

Square Enix Collective的負責人Phill Elliott補充說道:“這款遊戲是什麼?你爲什麼做它?有時這有可能會花費一段長得驚人的時間,卻只說清了關鍵的幾點。我這裏建議開發者們練習一下他們的介紹——找到一些好的詞彙和臺詞來描述其種類,視覺風格,比較……無論什麼,你要給我一個明確的表明讓我馬上知道你所構建的是什麼。你這些臺詞練習得越多,你就越能脫口而出——並且這也是能夠自信地開始一場會面的好方法,因爲對一些開發者來說和出版商的會見真的會讓他們很頭疼。”

你能只用一句話解釋你的遊戲嗎?

Can you explain your game in just a sentence?

事實上,事先做好準備是參加這些會面的關鍵。

“準備就是一切,”Williams 繼續說。“你展現越多你思考過的東西,發行合作人對遊戲的興趣就有可能越大。請在做你的遊戲設計文案的同時就把商務計劃做好。商業模式和營銷不應該是事後思量的事;他們應該從項目的一開始就在計劃內。你正在做一個遊戲,但是它需要具備商業可行性(可以賺錢),所以一個可靠的商務計劃和交付計劃就和遊戲質量一樣重要了。

“你需要創建以及表達你的計劃。然後是設定你的宣傳節奏以及你同目標受衆的交流,或者根本沒這些事。近來在數字產品方面,版權擁有者在推進後續DLC的發佈。你可以應對這個嗎?所需要的時間和代價是什麼?你可以把它作爲一個選項加入到初始版本里嗎?”

當然了,最大最實際的問題時赴會時真正該帶什麼去。盡你所能地把遊戲內容儘可能多地展現出來。你展示得越多,你越容易成功。

“能有一個demo交上去是最理想的了,但是一個視頻或者pitch docuent也能起到同樣效果,”Byron繼續說。“無論你挑的是遊戲的哪個方面,確保你能在進展過程中展示出一個清晰的計劃,這個計劃應該包括靠譜的資金計劃和關於里程碑的好想法。”

Elliott 補充道:“你對最終質量和執行越有把握,我這邊的風險認知就越低。如果你有一份作品的vertical slice,那很好——這讓從直觀上看清團隊實力和交付能力變得容易。但是如果你只有概念設計,那可難多了。也不是不可能--但是你至少試着想出一些直觀的東西讓我看看你所想的遊戲操作是什麼樣的。

Rising Star Games開發者聯繫部負責人Martin Mathers也同意:“面對面或者通過郵件,能獲取我關注的概率是相同的:一個可玩性高,能顯示大量你所做的內容的構建或者一個內容充實,能展示這個遊戲的視頻總是效果最好的。

Pitch docs很好,但是他們只是一些單詞,而單詞會在進展過程中變化……很難單靠它做到讓開發商刮目相看的程度,尤其是像在Rezzed的展會上。而最終,你需要有熱情,真誠以及對你正在做的事情有實際認識——如果你有些很棒的東西,那幾乎它靠自己就能賣得出去……注意是‘幾乎’”

一個發行商讓開發者們記住,他們買單的原因不僅僅只是遊戲本身。

“一個發行商會買一個團隊的單更甚於買一個遊戲概念的單,”KISS的發行負責人David Clark說。“別擔心你是否有曾經開發過AAA級遊戲的經歷,只要你明白自己在做什麼,對一切抱以虔誠之心,現實之感——時間線、成本、可玩性——可以參考《龍潭虎穴》(Dragons Den英國商業投資真人秀節目).

“在Steam2016展會上發行的遊戲已經有5000多款了,今年的數字可能也是差不多的,那麼爲什麼客戶要投資的你的遊戲而不是其他4999款中的一款呢?”

一個關於遊戲運營的demo或者一段視頻會讓你成功的機會大很多

A demo or a video of your game running gives you a far better chance of success

A demo or a video(from gamesindustry.biz)

A demo or a video(from gamesindustry.biz)

第一印象很重要,能讓發行商感你所感會讓一切變得大不相同。

“爲什麼不在會面中隨機應變問問發行商想要看到的是什麼--預告片、可以玩的遊戲、正式的文案?還是把它們全部都準備好隨時能用,”Humble Bundle商務拓展負責人John Polson這麼建議道。“發行商將因此有投入感,而你作爲開發者將很快地學會如何最大化的利用你的短暫的會面時間。

“其他小貼士:練習讓你的介紹在結束後還有時間空餘。你和出版商都會喜聞樂見,這讓你不會爲下場會面遲到,或者不用突然中斷這次對話。在一開始和最後透露一些很棒的東西,留下深刻的第一印象和最後印象。

William還說:“你是在被挑選。所以不可動搖的規則很重要。那就是別遲到,確定集合地,練習你的文案。禮貌真的也是有作用的,一句簡單的“感謝您抽出寶貴的時間”在會面結尾真的會留下很久的印象。”

一些發行商甚至會在與遊戲創作人說話的時候尋找一些特定的東西。Channel 4的遊戲專員想看到的是:

“一個清晰的主題——能想出一句話的電梯遊說就是確保達到效果的好方法,”他開始說道。“我想看到的是那些開發者們能充分利用自己的優勢。這樣做出來的遊戲纔對於目標受衆纔會是一個擬合度高的遊戲。這樣做出來的遊戲纔會是優秀的

與此同時,TEAM17的老闆Debbie Bestwick想要的是:“焦點。要有目標,兩年內你想到達到什麼程度?你對此有什麼計劃?以及對遊戲持續性的計劃。我們會問這些因爲我們在意你的長期目標。

“堅韌。確保你在潛在受衆和競爭產品身上所做的功課,如果你不確定如何處理這個,我們可以幫你。”

“坦誠——各個層面上的——從作用域上、資源上還有所需要求上。記住,如果我們知道問題在哪,我們爲你分擔並且幫助你的,所以從一開始就要彼此坦誠相待,成爲彼此出色的合作伙伴。

“決心——我想我們都清楚創作遊戲的困難,而且我們也以此爲生。我們想看到的合作伙伴是能從頭到尾見證整個實施過程的,有聚焦點,有決心的。”

本文由遊戲邦編譯,譯者ciel chen,轉載請註明來源,或諮詢遊戲邦,微信zhengjintiao

What publishers look for in indie games
Road to Rezzed: We speak to several top indie games publishers to discuss why they pick the titles they do

Christopher Dring

Gamer Network

Later this month we are running an event at EGX Rezzed that unites indie creators with the wider games business.

This includes publishers, who will be looking to find the next big thing amongst the games being exhibited at the show.

‘Publisher pitching’ events are common place at most major events, even London Games Festival has its own in the form of the Game Finance Market. Yet they can be tricky affairs for both parties. Meetings often take place rapidly – sometimes as quick as ten minutes – in which developers have to convey their product to the publisher, leaving time for questions and feedback.
Communications coach Jon Torrens wrote last week about techniques for indies to best sell their product, and this week we’ve gone one step further and asked the publishers themselves what they’re looking for.

This is what they told us.

“I personally look for shiny eyes, on top of the normal – ‘something special’ and ‘emotional impact’, etcetera,” says Jonas Antonsson, head of European publisher Raw Fury.

“What I mean by that is enthusiasm and love that just oozes from the developer as he talks about his game. That deep love tells you that all the little details and all the tough things that are needed to make something glorious will be taken care of. And then I hope the developers see the same in us.”

Do you know the potential audience for your game?

Passion seems to be one of the single most important things that potential investors are looking for, but that needs to be combined with realism and foresight.

“It’s really important to come across as passionate about your game, knowledgeable about the market and wise about your potential publishing partner,” says Simon Byron, publishing director at Curve.

“Understanding the type of games which are exciting consumers is massively important. The market is evolving, and the games that were popular last year may not be popular now. If your game is a labour of love, that’s great – but it needs to have a potential audience. And, no, quoting headline Steam Spy figures for similar games is not enough – if you are getting specific with figures, make sure you know the context.

“Feel free to ask publishers or investors as many questions as they ask you – show that making the game a success is a joint effort. Understand how they operate and what services they will provide over and above any financial support. How will they account to you? How will they pay you? And, separately, do a little digging – do they have a good reputation? What do their current developers say about them?”

“One game we’ve recently signed put its six-word elevator pitch front and centre – we were already on board before we’d seen anything specific

Simon Byron, Curve

Indeed, like any interview, the publisher also needs to prove itself in these meetings.

“Preparation is vital; think about who you can work with? Why do you want to work with them? Where do you think they can best help you? And don’t be afraid to ask around your industry contacts,” says Sold Out boss Garry Williams. “A history of slow or no payments are clues you need to heed as you prioritise your meeting schedule. There really is a development community out there, so don’t be afraid to use it to your advantage.”

Keeping it simple is also a key skill to try and develop before attending these meetings. You want to get the publisher to understand your title immediately, and games can be complex ideas to get across.

“One game we’ve recently signed put its six-word elevator pitch front and centre – we were already on board before we’d seen anything specific,” continues Byron
Square Enix Collective head Phil Elliott adds: “What is the game? Why are you making it? It can sometimes take a surprisingly long time to get a clear understanding of just the main points. I generally advise people to practise their introduction – find some good words and lines that describe genre, visual style, comparisons… whatever it is that’s going to give me a good indication of what you’re building – right away. The more you practise those lines, the easier it’ll roll off the tongue – and it’s also a great way to start a meeting with confidence, since meeting publishers can be nerve-wracking for some.”

Can you explain your game in just a sentence?

Indeed, being prepared is the key to nailing these meetings.

“Planning is everything,” Williams continues. “The more you can show you have thought things through, the greater the interest from a publishing partner is likely to be. Please make a business plan at the same time you are making your game design document. Business models and marketing should not be an afterthought; they should be planned in from the very beginning of a project. You are making a game, but it needs to be commercially viable, so a solid business plan and delivery schedule is as important as the games’ quality.

“You need to create and to verbalise your plan. Then your publicity heartbeats and communication with your target audience need to be set, or they just won’t happen. Lately on the digital side, format holders are pushing to have follow-on DLC at launch. Can you handle this? What is the timeline and cost? Could you add it to your initial pitch as an option?”

Of course, the big practical question is what to actually bring to these meetings. The advice is clear – show as much of the game as you can. The more you can showcase, the more likely you are to succeed.

“Having a demo to hand is ideal, but a video or pitch document can work equally well,” continues Byron. “Whatever you pitch, make sure you also illustrate a clear plan through development, with solid financial planning and a sensible idea of milestones.”

Elliott adds: “The closer you have to the final quality or execution, the lower the perception of risk from my side. If you have a working vertical slice, great – easy to see the team competence, and ability to deliver on the vision. But if you only have concept art, that’s harder. Not impossible – but at least try to come up with something visual that shows me what you expect in-game action to look like.”

“Pitch docs are fine, but they’re just words and words can change over the course of development. It’s hard to make a publisher sit up and take notice on promises alone”
Martin Mathers, Rising Star Games

Martin Mathers, developer relations at Rising Star Games, concurs: “Face-to-face or via email, what gets my attention most is the same: a playable build that shows off a good chunk of what you’re doing or an extensive video demonstrating the gameplay always works best. Pitch docs are fine, but they’re just words and words can change over the course of development… it’s hard to make a publisher sit up and take notice on promises alone, especially in meetings like those at Rezzed. And ultimately, you need to be enthusiastic, honest and practical about what you’re doing – if you’ve got something great, then it’ll almost sell itself… almost.”

Remember, says one publisher, that it’s not just the games that they’re buying into.

“A publisher will buy in to a team quicker than a gaming concept,” says David Clark, head of publishing at KISS. “Don’t worry if you have not delivered three AAA games in the past, just come across as knowing your stuff, being believable and being realistic on everything – timelines, cost and gameplay – think Dragons Den.

“With 5,000 games having launched on Steam in 2016 and a similar number likely to do so this year, why should customers invest in your game and not one of the other 4,999 games?”

A demo or a video of your game running gives you a far better chance of success

First impressions count, and getting the publisher to feel engaged with you can make all the difference.

“Why not be adaptable and ask what the publisher wants to see during the meeting -trailer, game to play, formal pitch? Have them all ready to go,” suggest John Polson, business developer at Humble Bundle. “The publisher will feel engaged, and you as the developer will quickly learn how to make the most of your short meeting.

“Reveal something awesome at the beginning and end of your meeting, to make strong first and last impressions

John Polson, Humble Bundle

“Other tips: Practice and wrap up with a few minutes to spare. You and the publisher will be happy you are not running late to your next meeting or having to abruptly end the chat. Reveal something awesome at the beginning and end of your meeting, to make strong first and last impressions.”

Williams continues: “You are pitching to people. Hard and fast rules are important. Don’t be late. Be sure of the venue and practice your pitch. Politeness really does work a simple ‘Thank you for your time’ at the end of a meeting really does go a long way in creating an impression.”

Some publishers are even on the look out for specific things when they speak to creators. Channel 4′s Games Commissioner wants to see:

“A clear proposition – getting a one sentence elevator pitch down is a good way to ensure this,” he begins. “I want to see That developers are playing to their strengths. That the game is a good fit for the target audience. That there’ll be something remarkable about – read Seth Godin’s Purple Cow if in any doubt of the important of this. That the developers are being realistic with their ambitions, and likely to be able to do what they propose.”

“I think we all know that making games is difficult, and we do this for a living also. We like to see focused, determined partners who will see this process through to the end”
Debbie Bestwick, Team17

Meanwhile, the boss of Team17 Debbie Bestwick wants: “Focus. Having goals and where you want to be in 2 years? How do you plan to achieve it? And plan for sustainability. We care about your long term goals so we will ask.

“Diligence. Make sure you’ve done your homework on your potential audience and competing products, if you are unsure how to tackle this, we can help.”

“Honesty – at all levels – in terms of scope, resource, and requirements of what you need. Remember we will share your problems and help you if we know what they are, being honest and transparent from the start helps both sides achieve a great partnership.

“Determination – I think we all know that making games is difficult, and we do this for a living also. We like to see focused, determined partners who will see this process through to the end.”(source:gamesindustry.biz