STRATEGY, PUBLISHER PITCHING
A bespoke plan of action to build publisher interest
As soon as we began speaking with Moonloop and spent some time with their game, it was clear they had a gem on their hands. The question was: how do we convince other people of this, and help the team get the momentum they needed to finish the game and drive toward a successful launch?
We began by walking through some options. We could design a strategy to build toward a second run at Kickstarter, or we could try to seek investment and support via a publisher. Ultimately, we determined that either route was viable, and that both required the same basic initial steps: going back to the drawing board, effectively positioning the game, and generating some initial attention.
We began by undertaking some deep-dive market research and competitor analysis. To date, Hauntii had been advertised as a twin-stick shooter – a relatively niche genre on Steam, and a crowded market. We found that almost all of the highly successful games in this genre in recent years had something that clearly set them apart – another angle, a certain personality, that helped them appeal to a much wider audience than the typical twin-stick community.
Upon playing the game, it became clear that there was much more to Hauntii than just its twin-stick shooting. Its ethereal atmosphere, gorgeous audiovisual direction, and unique central mechanic (in which the player ‘possesses’ both the environment and other characters in order to carve out their own solutions to challenges) gave the game a beguiling feel, and presented many opportunities to sell the game to a wider audience.
We identified three specific types of gamer who we believed would be interested in the game for their own unique reasons, and crafted audience personas to help us visualise who we wanted to reach and what we wanted them to think. We also set out an aspirational statement: if we imagined one single sentence that represented how we would want Hauntii to be remembered, what would it be? This aspirational statement would go on to focus our attention as we began to plot out unique selling points, elevator pitches, and key features and messages that would form the heart of our communications strategy.
With this product positioning work undertaken, we moved into planning. Moonloop, as a small micro-studio, had a limited budget but the willingness and desire to learn how to execute good marketing themselves. We crafted both a short-term and longer-term plan that would allow them to begin driving momentum – raising awareness of Hauntii through organic means, relying on the new messaging we had built together. We acted in an advisory role, walking the client through our plan and consulting on how best to execute it – leading to early coverage by the likes of Rock Paper Shotgun, and significant improvements in social media reach and engagement.
At this stage, in consultation with the client, we ascertained that working toward a publisher agreement was the best way forward. Using our knowledge of and contacts within the indie game publisher space, we identified some potential target publishers and began working with Moonloop on a comprehensive set of pitching documents and presentations.
We helped Moonloop to piece together a full production plan and a budget breakdown in the format that publishers would expect to see. And we designed and crafted an attractive pitch presentation, setting out all of the key information about the game, its USPs and target audience, how it will be marketed, support required from a publisher and anticipated returns.
We subsequently supported the client through this pitching process, ensuring they had the knowledge, expertise and insight they had to confidently pitch the game. As a result of our work together, Hauntii was ultimately signed by Firestoke Games, a publishing house founded by industry veteran and original GTA designer Paul Farley, receiving the full funding and support requested.
“I reached out to GIYA after a friend of mine recommended them. I had launched a Kickstarter campaign for our game, but things weren’t going quite to plan. They were quick to respond, and went above my expectations. GIYA took time to carefully understand our game and went out of their way to fit into our timelines. They were able to create a plan specifically for us which included a number of pathways to funding and release.
I honestly can’t give a higher recommendation. GIYA truly understand the current game market and how indie developers operate.”
Founder - Moonloop