As part of WN Dev Contest, we are discussing the industry with the jury members. In this installment, we catch up with Grzegorz Drabik, VP, Head of Business Development at Untold Tales.
GWO: What launch strategy makes most sense now for small independent teams (launching on as many platforms as possible, first releasing on one platform only, early access long before release) and why?
Grzegorz: It all depends and is evaluated on the project-to-project basis. We’re not fans of Early Access (especially for single-player games), because we see it as a “soft launch” — so the game is basically out in the world and it messes with the marketing strategy. Also definitely not pushing for all platforms at launch with each title — there are certain projects best fitted for Switch for example, while others may be a perfect fit for other 1st party arrangements. PC seems like a standard — specific consoles TBD.
Is it important for you as a publisher that the developer you work with should implement your workflows and processes? What management systems and tools do you use? Is there any standard across the market?
We believe there’s no standard across the market and each team (dev or publisher) should work with the tools they know best and are comfortable with. We’re not pushing for implementing anything.
It is a popular opinion that publishers are not just looking at the game, they also assess the team behind it. What is a good development team for you, and how do you identify if they’ve got what it takes?
Yes, the team is very important — experience of each member but also chemistry between them and their past accomplishments. But at the same time: you don’t have to be a skilled gamedev programmer or gamedev artist with many published projects in your portfolio. There are other areas (arts, media, interactive arts, marketing) that can deliver people with great skills. Great, unique idea for the game is one thing — but the team behind it, to be able to pull it off as envisioned, is equally important.
What are the main mistakes fledgling developers can make when working on a game (as far as single-player PC and console titles are concerned)?
Working on a few concepts at the same time with a small team, overshooting with the plans (game idea, scope, genre etc.), no proper budget plans/ calculations, no milestone schedule / production plan, staffing plans.
Lastly, what kind of game are you looking for at the contest?
Fresh indie single-player experience with some great narrative/story. It doesn’t have to be told through / limited to typical means (cutscenes, dialogues) — environmental storytelling and player’s engagement in story building are welcome.