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Subject: Advice on packaging an IP and multiple games for a publisher? rss

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Michael M.
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Hey all,

So I'm working on three different games at the moment, two of which have prototypes and are already being play-tested by both friends and strangers. While mechanically very, very different from one another (a light card game, a dungeon crawler and an arena skirmish game), they are tied together thematically by being set in the same lore that I am developing, a lore which I hope to expand into at least one, if not a series, of mass market paper backs. Given that I am developing a lot of content all at the same time around the same IP, I was considering putting together a "package" for publishers.

Obviously a publisher would only want to commit to one game to start and see if it sells, but the idea would be that if that first game does sell decently, this publisher would have the rights to continue producing games set within this IP, with my involvement of course. I don't know how common this is, especially for unknown IPs like mine would be, but its something I'm working towards, more so than just going one by one or kick starting the games by myself. I know a lot of this does sound like delusions of grandeur and getting ahead of myself. All I can say is that these are game ideas I've been working on for a couple of years now and, as I already stated, aren't just neat ideas rattling around in my head but stuff I've actually made and had other people play.

So, any advice on how I should proceed?
 
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Paul DeStefano
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One game.

Don't even mention the others or the IP.
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Ken Lewis
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Geosphere wrote:
One game.

Don't even mention the others or the IP.
I agree with this.

Adding in that there are other games and an expanding IP only adds in extraneous stuff that a lot of publishers might not want to bother with.

Focus on one game. Then, if it does well and the IP is gaining popularity, that is when you approach them about another game in the same "world".

You also have to be prepared to lose the IP, as some publisher won't want that hanging over a game.
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Michael M.
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Thanks for the feedback! Since you're both listed as game designers, is this based on personal experience? I have to say I'm kind of surprised that packaging multiple products, if they're good and already have working prototypes, is a bad thing. Can you elaborate?
 
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Ken Lewis
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M_Strauss wrote:
Thanks for the feedback! Since you're both listed as game designers, is this based on personal experience? I have to say I'm kind of surprised that packaging multiple products, if they're good and already have working prototypes, is a bad thing. Can you elaborate?
But, you are not just packaging multiple products, you are essentially pitching an unproven product line.

Most publishers aren't going to take the risk on multiple unproven products that are tied together. Many publishers won't even start considering expansions, let alone IP tied games, without a game being considered a success first.




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Bryan Fischer
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Giant_Monster wrote:
M_Strauss wrote:
Thanks for the feedback! Since you're both listed as game designers, is this based on personal experience? I have to say I'm kind of surprised that packaging multiple products, if they're good and already have working prototypes, is a bad thing. Can you elaborate?
But, you are not just packaging multiple products, you are essentially pitching an unproven product line.

Most publishers aren't going to take the risk on multiple unproven products that are tied together. Many publishers won't even start considering expansions, let alone IP tied games, without a game being considered a success first.
Game Publisher here.

While I don't speak for all publishers, the general idea of the "unproven product line" is about right. Whether or not a publisher is going to expand a game through expansions or subsequent games in the same universe has a lot to do with how the game sells. The game will sell based on presentation and how it plays. A lot of cool game universes get left in the dust of bad mechanics and mediocre sales.
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Dwight Powell
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I agree with all of the above - it would be easier for you as a designer to sell all of these IPs at once, but I'm pretty sure that most game publishers want to make it easier for themselves. To that end, they'll want you to pitch your BEST game and, if they like it, they'll focus on producing and selling that game until it proves itself. If it's successful, then they'll come back to you and say "What else ya got?" and you can wow them with your other ideas.
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Michael M.
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Another route I've been thinking of is Kickstarter, though I haven't started going through all the detailed guides on here about hot to successfully kick start a game. I'm thinking of releasing games from "smallest to biggest," since smaller games are less expensive to produce, and are a way to start building a reputation before I try to convince anyone I have the chops to fully design a big complex game. But how does kickstarting AND looking for a publisher work? I know some people have done it. I really have no desire to be my own publisher either.

I've come to agree with most of the comments in this section, I'll focus on just pitching one game at a time. I guess what I don't really get is the degree to which I need to not mention anything else. Yes, the one game is the most important and the mechanics need to be play tested and good, but I don't see the harm in letting a publisher know that you're not a one trick pony and have some other ideas on the back burner. I now totally understand only pitching one game at a time, just not pretending that I don't have any others.

Dwight: Ohhh, now you know what the secret I'm bringing on Tuesday is...
 
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