Adventures in Biz Dev

Dear Insane Children, 

Biz Dev is one of the constant processes that happen in the background on an almost daily basis – emails, phone calls, quick messages, strategy chats, spreadsheet building, document editing… that isn’t very interesting to record, share, or talk about. But it is critical to our success – because all the amazing art and story in the world will not self-fund its way to a published game. 

I do try to provide some insights into what goes on in the Biz Dev space… it’s not special, magical, or difficult to understand. Though there are tons of little things you learn over the years about how the process works – it’s a constant negotiation. Every bit of info you reveal during BD talks can and will be used against you later – to bargain down some aspect of a deal, or to force some concession among a list of contested issues. 

Sharing this stuff publicly while it’s still an ongoing process, therefore, presents some unique challenges that we don’t have with, say, sharing concept artwork. 

One thing you’ve no doubt noticed is that I am unable or unwilling to share the names of the parties with whom we’re negotiating. This is sometimes because I am not allowed – as a function of an MNDA (mutual non-disclosure agreement). NDAs exist for many reasons but one simple one to think about is…. in the case of a publicly trading company (say, EA for example), conversations about potential investments into new products need to be kept confidential because they can have a dramatic effect on stock prices – and someone could use that sort of info to manipulate prices for an (illegal) gain. 

In other cases, you might have someone try to “poach” your deal – as in, “Oh, hey, American is pitching to [REDACTED], which means that publisher/investor is looking for new titles, let’s go over there and talk shit about American and his team while also pitching our concept for a new game!” That’s not nice. And it happens all the time! 

Anyway, all of this is a long way of saying… 

Attached to this post is a Document containing some of the back and forth that we’re having with [REDACTED]. They read and liked our PDF we previously sent. And our chats have continued mostly online, using WeChat, since delivery of that document. But as they bring more people into the conversation, they’ve asked us to re-present most of the info contained in the “pretty” documents we’ve sent… in simple text format. Hence the document I’ve attached here. 

That document will be at the center of a conversation we have scheduled for This Morning – about 3 hours from when I am typing this. Cross your fingers that it goes well! 

And in the document, you can see the sort of “drilling down” that a potential investor/publisher does in the process of exploring and vetting a deal. 

So, have a look. You might learn a few things about how we position ourselves and our pitch. And about the sort of information that publishers ask for when reviewing a team, game concept, and overall deal. 

On The Road Again

A quick note that I will be away from my desk from this afternoon through Wednesday evening. We’re going back to Yan’s hometown for the wedding of her cousin. I’ll probably post a few pictures of that trip over on my Instagram if you’re interested. 

While I am away I’ll find time to make at least one more design/narrative post – because I am sitting on a couple of beautiful concept images. Woo! 

Speaking of concept images, the two you see attached to this post are from Dario. He’s exploring the scene where Alice flies the balloon trying to escape from The Circus. High in the clouds, she’s confronted by The Moon. And in response to his images, I wrote: 

…we never said if this happened during the day or night. But now that I am thinking about it…. it would be really cool to see the Big Top Fight Scene happen during the day – and Alice and the White Rabbit rise up into the sky above the Circus during the day… Then as they pass through the clouds, rising higher, it quickly transitions to dark skies and night time! Then the moon comes out and… fight time! 

So, I like the night scene. 

We need to remember that The Moon is coming to “attack” Alice and put her to sleep. So there need to be some frames where The Moon is facing Alice and trying to sing her to sleep. In all the images you’ve rendered… The Moon appears to be running away. 

Let us know in the comments below what you think of Biz Dev. And what you think of the concept art of The Moon

PS: Thank you, Lucky Dragon for providing a quick source for Oz “stuff” that could be pasted into the BD answers. Saved me a bit of typing there 🙂 

From Shanghai with Love, 


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