Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
through the publisher to the owner of the intellectual property. Sometimes
there may be another link in the chain between the publisher and the owner
if another party is acting as some kind of agent for the property. This often
means that the movement along the chain can take some time. Occasionally,
the developer negotiates to go directly to the owner for approval - with
other parties copied on any communication - but achieving this should not
be relied upon when setting an initial feedback schedule.
Sometimes it is possible to set up a kind of rolling approval, where the
writer splits up the game's story, characters or dialogue into sections and
works on a different section while waiting for approval and feedback of the
one just submitted.This only works, of course, when the later piece does not
rely too heavily on anything that is waiting to be approved.Work closely with
your development team to define a clear schedule and make sure that those
involved in the approval chain buy into the process.
Another potential problem with the approval chain is the level of input
from each link in the chain.With each of the parties having a vested interest
in the license, a writer may have to contend with input from all of them.The
danger, here is that all this feedback may muddy the waters and make it
difficult to maintain a clarity in what the writer is attempting to achieve.Try
to obtain some kind of agreement on the level of input from each party
involved. An ideal situation would be that only the IP owner is allowed to
request significant changes and the development team may go directly to the
owner for feedback, but it may not be possible to negotiate this.
Adding interactivity
To make a game based upon a licensed property, interactivity must be added
into a story that was originally delivered in a passive manner. It can be a real
challenge to change the very nature of the medium and still retain the
qualities of the original IP.
There has been some debate about the way that certain games trivialise
the IP on which they are based, presumably with the approval of the property
owner. For instance, if the strength of a film or TV series derives from the
way the characters interact with one another, a writer can find it extremely
difficult to use that strength if the gameplay, engine and tools do not allow
it. Many character-driven film properties, when transferred to a game,
become filled with action and violence out of proportion to that in the
original. However, because the developer must have obtained approval for
such an approach to the game, you should work with these constraints and
 
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