We are not finished developing our awesome game! … Now what. I’m now setting aside some time to reach out to press.
I summarize a bit of what I learned below.
Editors will more likely cover your game if they know you. So introduce yourself at game shows and be part of conversation on social media. I know it doesn’t sound right that editors favor “their friends” over complete strangers, but that is not that point. The people editors know are just acquaintances. Having met these developers and actually playing their game, they will trust that their game is truly special in some way. These editors receive hundreds of emails every week and the need to prioritize, so prioritizing games they trust that are special makes sense.
But searching out press during game shows while your are busy taking care of your booth is not an easy task. Personally I have not been that successful in this respect. Most journalist that I meet are ones that drop by our booth proactively. Things that I will try to do in the future is to get press lists early and try to make appointments with press. If that doesn’t work, set aside some time during the show to actively track down editors and introduce myself. Another reminder for myself in the future is to reach out to press early and continuously as we reach important milestones of development. This could possibly help us develop relationships with press.
Your email needs to have a hook that lets readers quickly know what is special, unique or better about your game. This needs to be done quickly in the first paragraph if not the first sentence of your email. Also consider what is news worthy about your game and is there an interesting developer story? I know not everyone has an inspirational or dramatic story, but we can share our inspirations and goals for our games. Being an introvert, sharing details of my life can be difficult for people like me. This is something else for me to overcome.
After the first paragraph, you can go into more details about your game and developer story. But try to keep it short and to the point since big walls of text will send your email to the trash. It is recommended that the email is 3-4 paragraphs long.
Be Personal Be Human
Editors like to be addressed directly by their name. They want to read emails that come from real people and not boilerplate press releases that comes PR departments. So relax and be yourself and talk to them like you would to any friendly person.
List of Things
Here is a list of thing to include in your email.
– Free game code
– Links to trailer, screenshots, web site and press kit
– Game information: release date, download link
– Your contact information
Show Me the Email!
So enough with all this talk. “What does your email look like?” you are asking. Well this is still a work in progress and I will probably make improvements in the future. A couple things to hopefully help our email get noticed are:
1. Add any important recognition that your game received at the start. It acts are a 3rd party reference for our game and it is not just the developer yapping away about how great their game is.
2. Add screen shots and trailer links right after the first paragraph, since pictures and video can quickly give the reader a better idea about the game and it’s quality.
3. Add headlines for last couple sections to give the reader an idea of what that section is about and to keep them interested.
Overall I think this email is just serviceable. You don’t need to follow any email template to reach out to press. Actually if you have a really creative email, I think this would work even better. I remember reading a game developer email that was in a humorous QA format that went viral and got a lot of attention. Too bad I can’t find it now. So be creative!
And finally I try to personalize each email a bit if I know the contact personally or know more about why they would be interested in our game. Well if you have any tips or recommendation for me and other develops please comment below.
My name is Min Tsai from Taiwan. Our game Monster Medic was selected for EGX Rezzed 2015 Leftfield Collection and is set to be released Jan 28th, 2016.
Monster Medic is a 2 Player CO-OP shoot’em up for the iPad. It is a game that focuses on connecting people through teamwork and chaos. Both players control the same ship and it’s weapons to maximize devastation. I wanted to get people face-to-face and interacting with each other. That is why Monster Medic runs on a single iPad and is designed only for CO-OP mode. Even though building such a niche game shrinks your market, I wanted to make a game that people will love playing with their best friends.
Geometry Lovers and Dead Twisters
Monster Medic is an area shooter where waves of enemy germs keep spawning similar to the classic Geometry Wars. The twist is that 2 Players are required. We initially developed prototypes where players control their own ships but that resulted in little communication. But putting 2 Players into the same ship like Lovers in Dangerous Space Time greatly increase players’ urgency to work with each other. Both players are given the same thruster and blaster controls that can be used simultaneously. Players who pull the ship in opposite directions will find themselves unmoving in the face of enemies and players who don’t focus their attacks will find their weapons are less effective. Working together and in unison massively increases both speed and damage.
To help provide peaks and valleys of excitement, I found great inspiration from Left4Dead’s enemy design principles and their AI director that dynamically spawn enemies. Another unique aspect of Monster Medic is its touch controls. Originally we used virtual joysticks, but touch controls proved to be more intuitive, faster paced and introduces physical teamwork when fingers need to avoid each other like a miniature version of Twister.
Can Niche Game Survive?
I loved playing SNES games while growing up, but my fondest memories were of playing CO-OP games with friends. There is such a great feeling sharing and overcoming a challenge with a friend. CO-OP experiences was a way for me to build closer relationship with friends. Just before the development of Monster Medic, my wife gave birth to our son. I wanted to build a game that my son and I can play together in the future.
During development, I showed the game to people I respect in the local game industry and publishers. They thought the market is too small and that we should develop a single player version. But I stubbornly wanted to serve niche CO-OP market and seeing people enjoy Monster Medic at game shows in London, Singapore, Busan and Taipei has been really encouraging.
If you are interested in Monster Medic, I’ve included a Promo Code and more information below.
Thanks for your time!
App Store Code: …
Platform: iOS – iPad
Download Link: http://appstore.com/monstermedicletsplaytogether
Release and Embargo Date: Jan 28, 2016