We continue the mini-series of interviews within the framework of the WN Dev Contest. In them, the jury of the competition shares tips on working in the game market. This time we talked with Mikhail Isidorov, Head of Products at Wargaming Nexus.
WN Dev Contest is a competition of games created on Unreal Engine 4. Held by WN Media Group in conjunction with Unreal Engine and Reboot Develop.
App2Top.ru : Many teams, especially those that have received funds and assistance from the publisher, overestimate their strength and make mistakes in the timing. Can you give me advice on how best to plan the development stages and how much additional time should be invested?
Mikhail: The best advice that can be given at this stage is to try to do the most detailed work on the vision of the future product.
If we talk about us, then, as a rule, we study the audience for whom we make a product, try to understand how they live, what their motivation is. Only after that, our designers begin to create game concepts that will be tested later. The less uncertainty there is at the level of the concept and its primary decomposition, the fewer the risks of being in a situation of burning deadlines.
In addition, it is worth building a real partnership with the publisher from the very beginning of your work. An external producer who comes from the publisher to the project is a full—fledged member of the team with often more substantial experience behind them. It helps to take a sober look at the tasks, the amount of work and the risks.
App2Top.ru It's good that you brought up the topic of producers. Can you reveal in detail what Wargaming producers are responsible for in external projects?
Michael: They are responsible for all stages of the product lifecycle: concept creation, prospect analysis, product delivery to the player and much more.
Important: depending on the company, the producer's role may vary. It also depends on the format of interaction between the studio and the publisher. A producer can be directly involved in game design, as well as responsible for a creative concept, exclusively guiding the studio to the goal.
App2Top.ru : When working with a developer, the publisher appoints a producer for the project. The producer for the team is always an outsider. Won't he introduce publishing standards for teamwork? For example, is it important to you as a publisher that the developer uses the same management tools and systems as you?
MICHAEL: The processes in the studio are not a factor of primary importance for us. Even at the stage of evaluating the studio before the start of cooperation, we conduct a technical assessment of it, clarify the experience of creating at least one decent product and check the motivation to work together.
Most often this happens on the basis of prototyping. On a daily basis, we work with the studio team, discuss ideas, work on game design, art and technical components of the game. In such close communication, it becomes clear how mature the studio is, how the team communicates internally and how well-established the interaction processes are. Motivation, stability and responsibility of the studio for the result are more important to us than the framework within which it functions.
App2Top.ru: By the way, does it often happen when a team declares before signing a contract that another publisher has offered it more? Thus, she forces to improve the terms of the deal.
MICHAEL: Yes, such cases happen during negotiations, although I cannot say that they are widespread. We usually conduct a very thorough evaluation of the studio, including for compliance with its specific proposed product type. Based on this assessment, the most honest and decent terms of cooperation are offered. And from my point of view, in such a situation, the whole scope of the transaction is important for an experienced team, and not just an attempt to make a small gain on financial terms.
App2Top.ru Questioner: And the last question: what projects are you looking for in the competition?
MICHAEL: Perhaps the military theme is in our legacy, but I would also be glad to see fresh ideas appealing to a completely different audience. It will be especially interesting to look at products that effectively use the capabilities of the Unreal Engine, will be able to engage the audience with innovative mechanics, create a community around themselves and, perhaps, even go out on several platforms.