“I have a great idea for a film….

…and I think it would make a great game”

I have had quite a large number of meetings over the years that started with that line, both as a publisher and as a developer. My reaction has always been the same; I feel used. From talking to other game people they seem to say the same things. Their thoughts go along the lines of:

1. If it’s so great why doesn’t a film company pick it up.
2. Seems to me that you want to make a game just so that (when it is successful) the film companies will see what a good idea it was and buy it – in other words you want use us to get to your real goal.
3. If this isn’t what the project was originated for then it most likely won’t be your main focus – and as a result the game will suffer.

4. You think that games are in some way an easy touch. That we will buy a “reject film idea” that no film company has taken up or that we are incapable of coming up with enough great ideas of our own.

Passion is vital in the success of creative projects. It is this passion that gets a film crew through a miserable nights filming or the 100th retake of (what should have been) a simple scene. Likewise it is passion that gets a programmer to rewrite working code for the third time because it now needs to work with something someone else is adding. You don’t actually need everyone to be passionate – but you do need the person leading the project, the person whose idea it is to focus and drive the project forward.

I think part of the reason why film/TV people believe they may be able to sell their idea to a game company is because we produce so many film licenses. The point they are missing is that game publishers buy licenses because they have proven value – either the film is already a success or it is coming from a top director/has big stars. They know how much of a marketing budget the film will have and that they can ride on the coat-tails of this when selling their game version. Just because it was originated as an idea for a film that doesn’t give it any value as a game idea.

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