When is a good time to approach a publisher?
I''ve never had anything published so I have lots of niave assumptions. I can''t afford to complete the project in its entirety, so I am looking for some funding. But I don''t want to waste my time hunting down publishers just to get rejects.
Any good advice out there?
Limit the scope of your project so you can complete it without publisher funding, because, let''s be honest, you probably won''t be getting any development advances from a publisher unless you and your team have a good track record.
I agree 100% with the previous post. If I was a publisher and someone approached me for an advance, my first question would be "What finished games do you have?" and if I didnt like the answer there wouldnt be any more questions. Finishing a game is very depressing, you have to do the tedious stuff like debugging, Load/Save games, hardware caps-testing and putting together sounds. Hardly anybody can be bothered to do this, so its the few that can that get somewhere. I can walk into any meeting with a publisher with a boxed game under my arm. Its not quake3, but it proves I can finish a project. Imagine how much more attractive that makes me to a business partner than someone who has only ever produced design docs. Good Luck
How likely is a publisher to back a nearly-completed project? For example, what if the game code itself is complete, and all that''s left to do is replace the stopgap graphics and sounds with the professional stuff you couldn''t afford? Would any publishers provide an advance in this case to get the last contracted parts of the game completed?
Publishers are unlikely to back a game that is nearly completed because if it was a game a publisher *would* back, why didn''t the team get a publisher at the beginning?
Or, to look at it another way:
If it is a game worthy of a publisher, why don''t you have one already?
Horribly circular, isn''t it?
But it boils down to this: If you plan to complete a project (that''s an actual game and not some form of "demo") on your own, be prepared to self-publish it.
For those who might actually put some effort into a business and/or a marketing plan: In your projections for how well the game will do, have the "publisher picks it up" option under the "Incredibly Optimistic" heading.
Actually I don't really agree with David. Almost all publishers will turn down a great game idea if they don't think the team has the ability to pull it off (meaning if the team is new and unproven). If they then go ahead and make that game it is still a great idea and the publisher no longer has the worry so they will pick it up. In fact on several occasions I have seen publishers pick up a game that clearly isn't as good as it should be just because it is finished. There is no risk and they know what they are getting and can plan the marketing budget accordingly.