Game Development Reference
Games based on licenses from other media are a major part of the game
industry as owners of various intellectual properties attempt to maximise the
revenues from their investment. While there are many who see it as an
erosion of original game development, there is clearly a huge market for such
games, if current game sales are an indication. It is also not a new phenom-
enon - licensed games have their origins in the early days of the industry -
but the number and scale of licensed games has increased enormously of late
and it would appear that the trend will continue.
Ve ry few writers get the opportunity to create and develop a game based
on their own intellectual property, which means that for most of you there
is little fundamental difference in working on a licensed game project or
working on the developer's own property. You will use your skills and
experience to do the best you can within the scope of the project.
Everything discussed in this topic can be applied to licenses, though you
may find there are more constraints based on how the license can be used.
These limitations can give the impression that someone is constantly looking
over your shoulder and in a way this is true - the IP owners will want regular
progress reports to be sure that the license is being handled in the correct way.
Balanced against this are the licenses that offer characters and situations which
would be a dream to work with, particularly if you are able to explore them
in a different way to that in the film or book on which the license is based.
One of the biggest constraints on a licensed project can be the budget.
The publisher has probably paid a substantial sum to acquire the license and
this money comes out of the overall budget for the game. Unless the project
is a blockbuster epic, with a huge overall budget to match, the amount that
remains to pay the developer to create the game can be significantly reduced
from what might normally be expected. The budget for the writer is likely
to be very tight with little room for manoeuvre. The writer must also take
care not to create situations that will be expensive to develop.When writing
for the game, part of your mind must be on the cost of everything you create
- if in doubt, consult the design team.