As you may know, Jay and I are on a select list of designers for the New Jersey-based WizKids game company (most famous for their HeroClix line of miniatures). Their most recent success has been with the revamping of the MageKnight license with Vlaada Chvátil at the helm.
So when the opportunity arose to be on WizKids’ shortlist of go-to designers on a work-for-hire relationship, we jumped at the chance. Some of the Intellectual Properties that WizKids have access to are very cool! Marvel, DC, MageKnight, The Hunger Games, Quarriors, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Pathfinder Battles, Pirates of the Spanish Main, etc. – those would be so cool to work on!
Anyway, we just sent our second pitch to WizKids today. We’re both really confident in this one as we worked really hard to get all the elements of the IP (that we know of – information on it is very limited at this time – so it’s a new one, not one of the above!) in the game. We figured out a simple and elegant way of doing fog of war, the enemy learning from past battles, etc. and are hopeful that those tie ins will win us the contract.
We’ve been learning a ton doing these work-for-hire pitches. We’re very pleased with our ability to perform under deadline pressure, with some very tight constraints (both design-wise and budget wise), and with little to no information to work with regarding the IP itself. We’re tightening up our internal design processes and becoming much better communicators, between ourselves and our prospective publishers.
Sure, we’re used to working far apart, but this time we were even more apart than usual – Jay was in Florida for work at the time this request for a pitch came through! So we’ve been using DropBox and Skype to plan and create the documents for the pitch; both of us having CorelDraw on our respective laptops has helped immensely to meet the deadlines; and we’ve really had to become skilled at explaining ourselves to each other in writing and over the phone, so that we get on the same page. It’s been quite an interesting process. And then, the day before the pitch was due, Jay was hopping on a plane from Florida to Buffalo to get to the invite-only gaming convention, the Gathering of Friends. So, the fact that we were able to complete what I think is a very exhaustive and complete pitch with some actualized game cards and board designs is a testament not only to how cool the internet and technology is, but how much Jay and I have grown as designers, as collaborators, and as partners in crime.
Let’s just hope that our success with our first pitch to the company (which hasn’t been greenlighed yet) doesn’t affect us being considered for the second one as WizKids does not want to stretch designers thin. They would prefer that you pass on projects so you do one well vs. trying to do them all poorly. And I respect them for that.
But this second IP we’ve pitched for is really really cool!
So, fingers (and toes) crossed!
~ Sen-Foong Lim