Treating The Whole Industry Like A Game

, , , , | Working | January 10, 2019

(I work in video game publishing as a producer. Part of my job also involves evaluating the pitches we receive, and highlighting any that are particularly noteworthy and worth discussing further. One guy is adamant that he wants to pitch his game to me over a call because he says it’ll give him a chance to really “dive into details.” This is already sort of a red flag; refusing to send us a proper pitch document through the channels makes him sound like a bit of a handful that could be difficult to work with, but I decide to give him the benefit of the doubt and grab a call with him. He describes his game, shows me some VERY simplistic and cheap-looking screens, and, well…)

Me: “I’m sorry, but… honestly, that’s just [Insanely Popular Indie Game]. Literally everything you’ve said just makes it sound like a copy, from the characters to the plot details to the mechanics.”

Caller: *dismissively* “Everything is inspired by something.”

Me: “No, this is literally a copy. Note for note, just with different art and names and wording essentially.”

Caller: “Well… you can see that because you’re a professional, ma’am.”

Me: “No, I can see that because I have eyes. [Caller], it’s clear you put a lot of work into this, but I would urge you to channel that into an original project s—“

Caller: “Listen, listen! You’re thinking too small. People will eat it up, anyway. This sort of thing happens all the time.”

Me: “Not at our company, it doesn’t.”

Caller: “So, do you want to cut me an offer or not?”

Me: “Not!”

(While I was annoyed at having my time wasted, I was also amazed at how brazen he was with this completely transparent rip-off. We have had clones of varying quality pitched to us over the years, all of which we also passed on, but this one really took the cake. The cherry on top; he DID send over more documentation later, regardless, and one of the items on his budget was 50k USD to “clear personal debt and improve focus.” It’s been several years and I haven’t seen hide nor hair of his “work.” Guess other publishers have eyes and integrity, too. Who’da thunk it?)

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