Something old something new (?)

#1

New here so forgive me for creating a new post right out the gate but i wasnt sure where to post my question or which thread it would fall under but…

I basically just created an acct here to ask a question,
Lets say somebody had an idea for a game, somewhat (or exactly) based on an existing title of yours that could be really fun and epic…And has been putting together a sort of breakdown/presentation to pitch it… What would be the best way to do so.
Ive been a huge fan of left4dead since '07 and i still play regularly, i had this idea years ago playing the original and recently it came resurfaced and would not stop flooding my brain with ideas. (…no its not l4d3…)
And then i saw the B4B announcement which made me think… This is either the perfect time to reach out to you guys, or the worst time lol.

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#2

Let me tag the community manager for you as I’m sure she can give a more official answer on this: @MissMurder

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#3

Thanks for the tag @DarKastlez ~

Hi @Late4work since we already have a deal with WB and other legal things we wouldn’t really be able to comment on your project. I think it’s really cool you have something you’re passionate about and have worked hard on though so I wouldn’t give up the dream. But the way you’re talking seems like you may be looking for a partnership and we already have one. Thank you.

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#4

1st, you can not just outright say your idea. that would be called an unsolicited idea and they can not use those without possible legal issues.

You must make a formal proposal, document it correctly and submit it privately to the correct company position.

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#5

Also this. Thanks @Kathryn_James

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#6

It seems to me that he may be looking for something other than a partnership, but I’m not very clear either. Let me take a few shots in the dark and maybe I’ll hit one.

This is what I pieced together from your post (which seems to be intentionally vague, so I won’t pry):

  • You have an idea which is related to L4D, a TRS game. (Note: It’s Valve that owns the IP.)
  • You would like to pitch the idea to TRS, for an unknown goal.

I’m not sure WHY you want to pitch, which is kinda the main point of asking for advice. So I’m going to write a few thoughts on each possible reason and you can look at (click to open) the one that applies to you.

You wish to develop a for-profit game using the L4D IP

You are extremely unlikely to succeed. For one, the owner of the IP isn’t TRS, it’s Valve, so you’re asking the wrong people. Not only that, from the way you write, you seem to be an independent dev (if you’re one at all) or in a very small studio. Feel free to disregard if this is incorrect.

There isn’t anything wrong with being small. Thing is, established companies will usually prefer working with people with a track record and some modicum of operation size, as a means of assurance for management staff who don’t look too deep into it but hold some decision making regardless. Additionally, significance is a factor for filtering out communications (ie Valve may never read your message at all) otherwise any big company would be inundated with solicitations from many people who have no idea what they are doing.

If you are so inspired by L4D, and you have great faith in your idea, I would advise you to create it yourself, under your own IP. This allows you to skip a massive amount of paperwork and communications and not give [the IP + almost all the profit] to Valve, which would be the almost-certain result in the unlikely event of successful negotiation with Valve. Not only that, but by properly reskinning the idea, you will be forced to think about it in greater depth and develop the idea into something more mature and unique.

You wish to develop a fan-game (not for profit)

This is a very prickly task. Again, you’re barking up the wrong tree (Valve owns L4D, not TRS), but more than that fangames are in a questionable legal grey area, and most companies are thus uncomfortable with dealing with that and would much rather just discourage it from the get-go. There have been many different attempts to go about this, but none of them (that I know of) seem to be generally accepted as the “correct” way.

  1. Ignore legals and go ahead and develop.
    With a minimum of formal announcement (asking them to initiate talks if they feel like it), you go ahead and make the game, knowing you could be shut down at any moment. It’s a massive risk from your perspective, possibly able to be told to give up all you have already done with a cease and desist letter and various shadowy thumbscrewing that a big company could do to you.
    But on the other hand, it allows you to start immediately while you have momentum, and is the most reliable way to make a company that isn’t giving you the time of day sit up and take notice of you, however badly that may turn out.

  2. Make a prototype and use that as leverage to get some formal communication.
    A working prototype goes a long way to making a company care about what you have to say. It proves your concept could work, it proves you are able to make a game, and it adds urgency to middle-management folks to pass your message up, by showing you are capable of option #1.
    However, there is always the chance of being ignored regardless and wasting a lot of time trying to communicate. Or, being shut down before you could ever do anything.

  3. Make a visual design and/or prototype and use it to gather community support
    With enough community noise (coming from people who might withdraw support for the main game, if alienated), any company would be forced to respond, although it may not be in a positive way. So if you gather enough people who are vocally excited about your idea, something will move, one way or another. The downside is of course that it might be considered a show of bad faith by control-freak companies, and give them a reason to crush you as hard as they can. Additionally, it would require you to have some serious charisma and demagogue skills.

You wish to simply let TRS know about your idea, hoping they will be inspired by it

Well, you could post here I guess? If you want them to take anything other than inspiration from it though, you might discourage them from doing so by running into the legal issues that @Kathryn_James mentioned. But if it’s a minor suggestion it should be ok, since people spam suggestions on forums all the time and it’d be really weird if this legally prevented companies from taking up those suggestions. (I’d love for @MissMurder to comment on this since I don’t speak legalese. How should we give suggestions without treading on the unsolicited idea thing?)

You wish to publish the game and you want TRS to develop it

Well, this one’s been settled: TRS has a contract and is not looking for another. I don’t think you would be able to convince them otherwise without some fat stacks of cash. But if you are a publisher and have some financial clout, you could just hire another studio or hire enough devs to make an in-house studio. You can also about IP issues, like what TRS is doing with B4B, which is a rather overt reference to L4D without actually being it.

If you’re thinking of doing dev-work, I’d recommend checking out the GDC youtube channel as it has a wealth of useful information for aspiring devs and small studios. My favourite speaker is the guy from No More Robots. That said, all the talks are essentially opinion pieces so be sure to take them with a pinch of salt.

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#7

Im not looking for any sort of partnership or anything… Im merely a peasant, if im representing anyone its myself and i’ve a fool for a client.

Im not sure about lagalities and such but the partnership with WB might actually be beneficial to the idea seeing as how it might involve an established franchise that they probably are already tied to in someway.
Its kind of bad timing anyway with the whole B4B thing in the works.
But thank you for so quickly and efficiently dissolving any notion that one might have an idea thats even worthy of hearing.

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#8

Yes thank you… Apologies on the last reply, i didnt see your response.

And yea im not really sure as far as fan game, not for profit etc…
Its basically a re-skinned variation of l4d with different character models, animations, and a few new mechanics that… The more i thought about it the more it made total sense and could be alot of fun.
Basically what made me want to share it with you guys was…
A) the community wants a new l4d and at this point its not happening (pre-B4B announcement) so lets give them l4d…but NOT “l4d”
B) …well, i mean, everybody loves some Ninja Turtles :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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#9

Everybody has good ideas, they’re a dime a dozen, and they’re all worth hearing. The best advice anyone can give you is to sleep well, eat well, and work hard. Work really really hard. Pick up a games engine like Unity or PS4’s Dreams and find reliable people who you like, who are good for you, and who can help communicate your ideas. Then drop the TMNT play if you plan on making money.

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#10

I disagree, work smarter not harder… thats classic scrooge mcduck advise and it holds true.

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#11

I assume we agree to work both smart and hard but it takes experience to know how to cut corners without cutting quality. If you lose yourself to researching efficient ways to work a task without ever working the task you’ll be frustrated that you’re not doing it the way a trained professional does. But I think the smartest ways to work are with like minded people who care about the success of the project.

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#12

Yes thank you, this is why i was asking because i wanted to share with you guys but wasn’t sure who and i dont want to just put it all out here for the fine folks of the interwebs to sh-- all over. :stuck_out_tongue:

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