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Let the Inner Novelist in You Market your Game

by Jonathan Epstein on 01/08/16 01:21:00 pm

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Once you have gained a decent following on your social media outlets, you should begin changing your strategy from simply getting people to know about your game, to providing them with content. This is important for two reasons. The first reason is that it keeps people interested and updated on your game while you still work on it. (You don’t want them to completely forget about your game after busting your ass to get them to know about it in the first place). Furthermore, they will actually have something interesting to look forward to when checking their Twitter and other feeds. Secondly, this is a great way to get them to interact with you and provide feedback.

In another post, I talked about the importance of getting your fans to “work for you.” It’s great when you provide opportunities in your marketing (or even the game itself, once it’s released) to have your fans spread the word for you. An example I gave was to Photoshop certain pictures your fans upload to your Twitter page into the game. In turn, hopefully they will be so excited about this that they retweet the picture to their friends.

Another method that I am currently employing at Robotic Potato is to create a visual novel.  What the hell is a visual novel you might ask?

Simple: a fancy name for a web comic that has more words than pictures, but tells a story as well.

Every week we post new pictures to our blogs. The pictures themselves aren’t of the actual gameplay. Rather, they are beautifully illustrated stills of the world/characters that help to show the expanse of the game (film critics call this world building). The pictures also help convey the atmosphere of the game, and help to create excitement about the rest of the game. After all, who doesn’t love seeing beautiful illustrations?

But we aren’t stopping just with pictures. Along with every picture we are writing a small narrative to accompany it. Sometimes it is about the psychological difficulties of war, and other times it is about a side character that isn’t important to the game, but still interesting. Furthermore, the visual novel come out serially. This reflect the return of the phenomenon of serialism.

I think the most compelling argument as to why one should do this is that it creates really great content for the player. Even if one of the chapters isn’t about a main character, it shows an expansive world that is actually alive. Furthermore, it garners anticipation for what might or might not be in the game. And this way you can be the novelist you’ve always secretly wanted to be!


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