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Warhorse - Pitching the Game

by Myrthos, 2013-08-07 12:30:21

The blog on Warhorse has been updated last week with more information on how the game has been pitched to potential publishers and what was involved in getting there.

If you want to be successful, you have to know how to sell yourself. You know the drill: Elevator pitch, describe your project in one sentence, what are the most important features of your game… If you want your game to see the light of day eventually, you have to have all the answers at the ready. For some games, based on one or two central ideas, this can be done more-or-less easily, but it’s a daunting task for an RPG where the combination of everything that goes in is more important than any single part.

The easy answer is, of course, saying: “Our game is Like XXX, but better…” Even allowing that it’s true, it’s still a pretty pathetic thing to say. Or you can try to get your point across as you would to your buddies over a pint, but this is very risky – is the person across the table going to be on the same wavelength as your buddy? What are his tastes? Is he going to be more impressed by passion, trendy superficial slogans, or by sales statistics of similar games?

That was my biggest worry in the month leading to our trip and it made my head hurt. To think that you can ruin months of effort of many people by one ill-chosen word, misjudging your partners and their preferences, that’s awful.

The biggest problem I saw in our pitch was the very fact we are making an RPG and a realistic one to boot. For some reasons publishers do not like RPGs and try to avoid them, even though when one is published, it usually sells well enough if half decent. For this reason I put some slides at the beginning of our presentation with the aim to persuade the publishers it would be a mistake to look down on our “adult” RPG. Creating these slides was pretty hard though. Eventually they included half a dozen pictures, including e.g. 1960’s Batman and today’s Batman, or Red Sonja dueling Arnie and a poster for Game of Thrones. They were to communicate a clear message: our game is Game of Thrones, while other RPGs are Red Sonjas! Surely, there are fans who like Sonja, but most people will understand what I’m trying to tell them.

I went through a sort of first round of pitching at last year’s Gamescom when sharing info about our game with some people. The first of them, even before I started, told me: “If it’s not a Skyrim killer, there’s no point in showing it…” That felt good even though I was a bit surprised: it appears as if a few million units sold changes RPG genre’s perception among publishers and it’s going to be easier. It was. But was my defense of the genre useless? It depends. When pitching our prototype for real, I made this bit shorter, but didn’t remove it completely.

Information about

Kingdom Come

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Historical
Genre: Action-RPG
Platform: Unknown
Release: In development