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LionelTheDragon
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« on: March 03, 2022, 10:59:25 PM »

Hi Group,
I recently tied to add my upcoming game to GOG.  I received a rejection e-mail this morning.  I did a search for similar titles and there are a few of them so not sure what the rejection was for and the e-mail is very vague.  Has anyone else been through this?  I am also waiting for EPIC to get back but I'm not so sure now.  Fingers crossed I guess.
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michaelplzno
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2022, 04:37:13 AM »

Rejections, I've had a few. And by that I mean I've been rejected by basically everyone in games. If I were to go to the effort of keeping a list in order to say "I told ya so" when I do make it, it wouldn't even make sense because of the sheer volume of people I'd have to tell off. Some of my rejections include:

GoG
Epic Store
Devolver Digital (After they rejected me they put out an article saying that they were a publisher for "people who don't need a publisher")
Armor Games
Big Fish Games (They got back to me six months after my launch and said that if I wanted I could use their automated system to put my game on their store page but they won't do anything)
Steam (I asked them to add cards to my game and they wouldn't even answer my request, still friends with a guy at valve on linkdin)
Sony (I can't even pitch to them without a static IP address)
Nintendo (Flatly said no.)
A bunch of hypercasual portals (My games weren't original enough.)
An uncountable infinity of streamers (Sometimes if I'm very lucky I've gotten some to play my stuff and poop on it, some of them just ignore me, one streamer said that she only streams games who pay her.)
The entire gaming press ignored the Matchyverse press release, which I'll link to here. https://preview.mailerlite.com/l2z4d7
The Boston Festival of Indie Games told me my game wasn't polished enough and when I said I would pay for a booth the festival organizer posted a rant about an arrogant "student" who didn't take their rejection well enough and called me a baby directly over email.
The Boston Indie Game Collective said "their decision had to be unanimous" and said no.
Firehose Games had an indie incubator and said "I'll drive you crazy if you work with me, so no."

Edit: oh yeah, indiecade, they said their feedback system was "broken" and the IGF said "no one likes games where you have to game the levels to win"

If there are more people who rejected me, I'm sure there are, I'm glad I've forgotten them by now. I'm currently working on a launch on March 8th on XBOX. Microsoft treated me well and accepted my pitch.

My XBOX game looks like its gonna bomb, but if its metaphysically possible I'm going to launch it anyway because THIS IS IT, NUCLEAR COMBAT TOE TO TOE WITH THE RUSKIES:










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woodsmoke
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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2022, 12:03:24 PM »

Hi Group,
I recently tied to add my upcoming game to GOG.  I received a rejection e-mail this morning.  I did a search for similar titles and there are a few of them so not sure what the rejection was for and the e-mail is very vague.  Has anyone else been through this?  I am also waiting for EPIC to get back but I'm not so sure now.  Fingers crossed I guess.
I don't want to be mean but honest; If your the game you are talking about is Lionel the Dragon (from your signature)

(Why didn't you link it?) I would have certainly rejected it too looking at the videos. It looks very bare and buggy, I don't see any gameplay, and the repetitive soundFX would drive me nuts. Nothing in the GOG store looks similar.
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michaelplzno
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2022, 08:20:38 AM »

This trailer is not good, but its got as much potential as something like limbo, at least as a basic idea:





Its just a question of getting the right support structure and you could have something truly outstanding. @woodsmoke, how much does Lionel have to do on their own? The premise of this game could work entirely well and be a massive hit under the right circumstances. GoG might not want to do even say %30 of the work, despite likely taking that much of the profit, but a real publisher and a real team would do much more than the normal industry BS of just posting the game on their store and then saying the rest is up to luck. I still don't know why I'm such a deviant for thinking like this. If I had minecraft money, I would work with a lot of unknown devs to make real projects, as opposed to just saying "come back once you made it big" And those kinds of risks are the biggest payout. If you don't risk anything you aren't going to make much money, so the publishers out there who want to work with someone who is already famous are cutting off their nose to spite their face.
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michaelplzno
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2022, 08:46:37 AM »

Just to fire for effect:

Lets say you were a jeweler and you see a rock that is covered in dirt and all ugly and bad, and you say, "This is not valuable because I only sell cut gems that are set in gold and ready to go." You are a colossal fool.



Someone who is really in the business, not just some idiot poser tool (no offense to that crowd, of course), will know what a rough cut gem is and what it's worth is and how to polish it. I heard that the world's biggest uncut gem was almost discarded because no one realized that it actually a diamond due to its strange size. And the person who actually realized the truth wound up making a lot of money, sadly only roughly 200k which seems like a low ball but still.

Its super easy to say "come back when you have that perfect gem," and at least in my view of the world, the people who actually work on the project should get a little something for the effort, as opposed to the "put it in the pile with the rest" types who can't see anything about a project's potential and get upset that they have to send 4 rejection letters in one day because its so much work.
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Rin
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2022, 08:06:13 PM »

Your diamond analogy doesn't hold up for videogames.

The closest comparison would be between a books cover being the first thing that makes someone pick it up and read the blurb.

If I'm scrolling through games and I see one that looks very low effort, I'm not going to bother with it if clearly the developer didn't either.

If a game looks like lazy shit, your not going to play it. Durr...?
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Foxwarrior
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« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2022, 06:43:17 PM »

Imagine polishing other peoples' games in order to sell them in your store. That'd be intense.
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michaelplzno
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« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2022, 03:26:36 AM »

Rin, you are speaking as a consumer, a publisher is supposed to support the developer. Just generally in business, anyone who can't see the idea that with a little work something could be much more valuable is really bad at business. The quintessence of business is the idea of creating value, not just hoarding it. "I only want a house that looks great from the curb!" Anyone who sells houses knows that you can spend a pittance on some landscaping to improve curb appeal. No risk, no reward.

Foxwarrior, if the publisher is taking %30 or more of the worth of the game should they not do at least close to %30 of the work? Or invest capital. Or even just help the developer find the right people to work with. I'm not saying the publisher has to do EVERYTHING, but maybe if they are going to PARTNER with you they should chip in a little elbow grease other than just putting you on their store?

Edit: Imagine running a store and saying "Hey anyone who wants to can put shit on here and we aren't going to decide what deserves visibility other than cherry picking a few features a week and those are personal friends or people who are already famous. This way we can dominate the market by doing almost no work since the bulk of the store is entirely automated. Also we take %30 of all money made on the store. We won't even suggest that a developer improve even just the game's cover thumbnail, and we surely won't help them find someone to make that art even though we are expecting to own a big chunk of the work that is done."

Edit2: One of the biggest toxic relationship indiedevs have is with these store fronts that do nothing to help the devs and take a big chunk of the money. For some reason basically everyone in games but me thinks this is a great deal for developers: "Oh I spent $100 and got on steam, what a deal!" You are literally paying them to do nothing for you and take a big chunk of your games profit.
 
Edit3: I'm tempted to recut the footage in @woodsmoke's youtube they found of the game, improve the audio, and pacing and remove some of the jumps in movement. This project would take about an hour of work and improve the trailer about one million times. How are you guys not seeing this? Am I such a freak that I can see how to improve things?
« Last Edit: March 20, 2022, 03:40:01 AM by michaelplzno » Logged

michaelplzno
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« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2022, 04:44:33 AM »

Here's a recut trailer I made in 30 minutes:





I'm not saying its a perfect thing, kinda schmaltzy and so on, probably still needs work to actually land. Also I'm not sure if this is the direction OP wants to go in? However, my point stands: its a tiny bit of effort on my (or a publisher's) part. All I'm saying is that this project could be a winner, along with a plethora of projects, if some pub actually gave a toot.

Edit:

My notes as a pub would be

1)

Work on a more distinct style for the visuals. Something catchy with some obvious flair to it. As with limbo, they did all black with bloom lighting in the BG. Don't do what has been done before obviously. But in less than a month you should work to get some kind of unique look. Cartoon shading? Big outlines? Weird coloring? Something catchy that hasn't been done before.

2)

Pick up some kind of narrative hook that gets people invested. In my fan teaser I made it about if the dragon can fly, since usually dragons do fly and the trailer doesn't have footage of it. But some reason why we care about the dragon's quest and struggles is important. Is the dragon running from the dragon police? Is the dragon trying to save their baby? etc.

3)

Make the footage smooth. There were a lot of jumps in the footage you provided and typically (unless you are making french new wave cinema like the old classic Breathless) people see that as a mistake. Keep the footage smooth, and also you could sync it up so the running is seamless and the environment changes.

4) Some extra zazz for the title logo would be good. You could do a squiggle outline for Lionel where there are different doodle frames and it looks like its sort of fuzzy?

5) Don't talk about your release date being 4 years from now or whatever, that is a major red flag. You want to get this done quickly right?

Anyway, just my chip on my shoulder that pubs seem to do very little and are annoying. Maybe you think steam and the other app stores are right to simply either accept everyone, or only accept famous people or whatever. I disagree.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2022, 04:55:31 AM by michaelplzno » Logged

Foxwarrior
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« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2022, 09:36:26 AM »

I agree that it's unreasonable for a game store to be taking 30% in exchange for what they provide; I blame banking's poor adoption of technology for making people want to stick to a few online stores they trust. However, I don't think it'd work for the game stores to actually put in 30% of the work, or even a decent bit of work on giving detailed advice. They don't share your creative vision, they don't know you, they're probably not all that artistic, so they can only give you some rather generic advice for how to make your game look better in a standard and conventional way... I guess it might be cool if they chose to be relentlessly negative in detail in their rejection letter, listing all the things they felt didn't work and then leaving it to you to find creative solutions to most of them before you resubmit.
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michaelplzno
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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2022, 10:33:33 AM »

My point is that if it is a partnership (especially one that involves such a big percentage as %30) there should be some teamwork. Which I think we mostly agree on. If the publisher is just about money, and businesspeople who only see numbers, that's really a weak publishing outfit. Knowing what is and is not good creatively is essential to someone in a creative field, even if they are just an accountant or a lawyer or probably even the janitors who are cleaning the building. Why build an entertainment company full of people who don't have a sense of what fun and good creative work is?

I was gonna post the A team, which was a tremendous hit that everyone loved, but I guess it's not ART in the way that people really respect so I'll post this instead:





The formal stuffiness of a room full of people with egos the size of Russia might be more relevant here than a goofy action show where a bunch of rebels solve all their problems with dynamite. Here Mozart takes a composition that is not so bad and adds layers and harmonies that make the composition much better. Of course, a lot of people will feel like they are robbed of their thunder when someone comes in and makes their own vision stronger, but a real pro would be happy to have their vision enhanced. In this example, it does seem there is an actual partnership between the two composers. Not that one side is so happy about it.

To use an even simpler metaphor: it doesn't have to be a pitch meeting, it can be more of a game of catch. And I know there are a lot of artists who want publishers who just write a check and say nothing about the creative end of things, and I know there are a lot of publishers who are overbearing and try to impose a direction that isn't what the artist wants because they see dollars, or they just really like bossing people around with or without consent.

The dream is a team of some kind.

Edit:
If a dev were to say "Oh I don't know what anything costs, or how much time or budget anything requires, I'm an ARTIST and I don't expect to know anything about taxes, the law, business, or numbers" that would be a major red flag. Why isn't it a red flag when a publisher says, "Oh I'm about the numbers, law, business, taxes etc, I don't really know any creative stuff or art or anything like that."
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ThemsAllTook
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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2022, 11:02:40 AM »

I think a publisher and a store site are two pretty different things. It sounded to me like this thread was about a listing rejection, not a publisher relationship rejection?
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InfiniteStateMachine
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« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2022, 07:33:05 PM »

I think a publisher and a store site are two pretty different things. It sounded to me like this thread was about a listing rejection, not a publisher relationship rejection?

I'm similarly confused
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michaelplzno
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« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2022, 11:18:12 AM »

I may have derailed this with my personal BS/Saga/whatever.

It seems like if a store listing is just a store listing, then 30% is a ton to take despite being the industry standard. Also, yeah, in Lionel's case, to be listed in a store is a bit much considering what they have presented so far. It doesn't seem to be shippable in its current state.

However, for my own grandstanding: if a publisher is actually acting like a publisher, then it's a partnership instead of just a one-sided thing. It grinds my gears, lol.

Edit: also store listings can be really bad because the store gets to keep all the information about your customers, and they are difficult to contact again at will. Lionel, you are better off trying to find a group of loyalists who really believe in your own particular idiom, instead of relying on GoG which is just gonna create a wall between you and your biggest supporters.
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Armorman
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« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2022, 12:00:58 AM »

guess you made a good new game then
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Yes
michaelplzno
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« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2022, 03:51:47 PM »

I am best game designer of all time:





It does feel like since I'm totally independent it's kind of weird. But whatever, that's my lot in life: less email is kind of a blessing when you think about it.
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Rin
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« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2022, 09:09:25 PM »

Rin, you are speaking as a consumer, a publisher is supposed to support the developer.

Because this video is titled as the games trailer... As a consumer, see that trailer, I would not buy it.

It looks like the low effort stuff you see flooding Steam and other platforms which is justification enough to reject if your a busy platform moderator processing hundreds of submissions a day.

White Knight, please dismount from your high horse and think logically.

 I was definitely far too blunt in my initial post and I'm sorry to OP for that.
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michaelplzno
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« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2022, 08:17:41 AM »

It obviously needs work, I'll concede that. And yeah, flooding platforms with crap is bad. I do think that with more support a lot of stuff could be *not crap* and I also am sort of self inserting because I wish I had more support. I have a lot of projects that have a lot of vertical room to grow but I would need someone to HELP ME.

Edit: one of my points is that Steam *should not* accept everything. They should create a minimum of what is needed to be on the platform. For $100, you should get at least 10-20 minutes of work from a steam moderator to say "ok friend, here's where you need to improve for us to take you more seriously." If the mods are very busy, hire more, $100 for 20 minutes of work is a good deal by any means. I literally can't get Steam to communicate with me, they just ignore my communication.

Edit2: Steam accepting everything is a tactic to dominate the market without doing any work. They let everything through and then silently move stuff to the back shelves so that its difficult to explain that something bad even happened to your project. They take games that are secretly marked as "crap" and hide them so that its impossible to put your finger on why your game didn't make it. Sometimes this is really what a game deserves, because it didn't have enough work done on it. But sometimes, its not quite so clear that is what is going on. They can also can show your game to notoriously critical reviewers, or just generally make discoverability really unpleasant so the reality matches their label of what they think your game is. Then its impossible to know why your game failed, when of course some mediocre game that is AAA budgets gets the royal treatment so that Steam is still the dominant publisher.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2022, 08:37:35 AM by michaelplzno » Logged

b∀ kkusa
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« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2022, 06:08:34 PM »

For $100, you should get at least 10-20 minutes of work from a steam moderator to say "ok friend, here's where you need to improve for us to take you more seriously." If the mods are very busy, hire more, $100 for 20 minutes of work is a good deal by any means.
Invalid point since they  give you back that 100$.

https://store.steampowered.com/sub/163632/
"This fee is not refundable, but will be recoupable in the payment made after your product has at least $1,000 USD Adjusted Gross Revenue for Steam Store and in-app purchases."



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michaelplzno
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« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2022, 02:50:55 AM »

lol

They don't need to give you back your $100 imo, if they are providing a service for that money.

Secondly, once your game has made $1,000 they have taken $300 for their cut, so I think 10-20 minutes of review time is reasonable in either case.
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