Something I appreciate about Evolve is the level of transparency we as staff have into the goings on of the company. One such example is the internal evaluation process for feedbacking if we are interested in working on any number of the projects that come by our [email protected] inbox. A result of this process is that usually the folks who showed interest in a given title or working with a specific client are assigned to those roles (depending on overall workload, of course).
Lately, partially because of this process but also partly because we really need to think outside the box with marketing these days, I’ve been mulling over why I gravitate to say ‘yes’ to certain games within that process of ours.
Let’s take a step backward for a second!
About a million years ago, while working at the Bell Fund / Independent Production Fund, we used to talk to producers about ‘the wow factor’ and how it impacted their funding applications. It is an indescribable, yet integral component of how a media project is pitched. Something about grabbing the attention of the jury members (and thus, hopefully, the audience at launch), having a spark of creativity to it, a uniqueness that would help it cut through the noise.
Nowadays I carry that spirit forward a little bit when I’m evaluating how and why I think a game might just be able to capture a slice of these saturated games marketplaces. Sometimes it’s a big budget, sure, but usually those big budgets are just a gateway to having more capacity. Ultimately, a game needs to be Very Good to cut it out there; especially if it’s coming from a smaller or unknown team. That’s the baseline, and USPs along with anything distinct about a title… well, that’s the good stuff right there.
What does this look like for me? Mostly over the past year or so I’ve been gravitating to projects and clients where the freedom to really be weird or try new things are welcomed. Anything that can break us out from cookie-cutter campaigns is neat by my standards.
Finding a drag queen to do a sponsored stream for Terrorarium is a fun example of this. Instead of my usual ask of 2hrs we agreed on 1hr of makeup + 2hrs of gameplay and it was fantastic. The game, the streamer, and the Nemesis community all seemed to be in sync.
Airplane Mode (check out the Halifax Teaser) just straight up existing was enough to get me on board. It’s quirky, unique, has a clever name, and just kind of catches your attention.
At the agency level we see quite a few games each week / month / year. Just think about the sheer volume that a games writer sees in their inbox! They all start to blend together, unless you find a way to stand out from the crowd.
So, after all these years the Astrid-version of the ‘wow factor’ has evolved into something new. What is it called? I’m not so sure (suggest something to me on Twitter!).
I can say this though: it is when I raise my eyebrows and do a double take on the pitch, it is when I write back ‘wwhhaatt in the heck’ in chat, but most importantly it’s when I can almost immediately feel my brain juices sloshing around thinking about engaging (and sometimes ridiculous) ways to market the thing.
My final note to close off this rambly diatribe: pitching and marketing your game is an integral part of building and shipping a title. The biz and the dev sides are two sides of the same coin; don’t ignore one at the expense of the other.
Good luck out there everybody! <3