Square Enix Collective creator Phil Elliott offers advice on how to make the best first impression

How to pitch to publishers: Can you explain your game in ten words?

Clarity when describing your game is paramount when you’re pitching to publishers, says Square Enix’s Phil Elliott.

The creator of the publisher’s indie initiative Square Enix Collective delivered a session packed with advice during Reboot Develop today, talking attendees through the entire process of getting a meeting and discussing a publishing deal.

When it came to the pitch itself, Elliott challenged devs in the audience: could they pitch their game in ten words?

“You don’t only have ten words,” Elliott said after various volunteers attempted to do “But it’s really hard – particularly if you’ve never thought about it, or if you’ve never pitched before – to explain what your game is with some immediacy.

“Think about one sentence, one line. Don’t underplay what it is. Don’t try to throw so many genres in that you end up confusing yourself as well as the publisher. I’ve had meetings where I’ve still been trying to work out what the game is 25 minutes in.

“The more information you can give, the less chance there is of mismatched expectations.”

Elliott also encouraged developers to be passionate about their game when pitching.

“I see a lot of people who go to great lengths to be professional, and that’s good, but don’t let it bee at the cost of showing how much you care about your project,” he said. “You want to show that you love your game, and hopefully they’ll love it as a result.”

He also urged developers to take a playable demo to the meeting if possible – but only if you will be playing it yourself, or have someone with you to do so. Given that publishers have never played your game, they might make it look terrible or find bugs you weren’t fully aware of.

“A demo is great because it proves you have capability,” Elliott added.

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