Secret Project part 1: Threading the needle

There have been …interesting… developments at work with some clients, the result of which ended up in our doing a company-wide brainstorm for ideas, geared towards internal development and eventual publication.

One of the selected projects is an idea I pitched, and I now find myself at the lead of that project, one with a very nerdy mechanic.

I kind of need to tell someone of how that goes, even though if I cannot yet share what the project is.

So, here is what has been happening so far…

Selection process

The project we were on employed nearly 90% of the company’s resources when the client pulled the plug, and so we found ourselves suddenly with nothing to do. The bosses, having been through the situation a certain number of times, were quick to react and announced a company-wide brainstorm process to start at once.

We were to form brainstorm teams around the company’s pillars and proficient genres, each moderated by a member of the game design team.

I got to lead a team centered around “Multiplayer action” games, a kind of catch-all category as opposed to the other which were much more specific (survival, co-op, battleground, arpg, management…). Designers were free to organize the brainstorm process as they saw fit.

I don’t know if it’s because of our theme being broader than the rest, but when other teams were still establishing common boundaries to work within, ours had already compiled a large list of pitches. We did our best to keep the pitch authors anonymous as to prevent influencing the selection process with our personal affinities.

Within those pitches, this particular idea I had thought of some time before and set aside because at that time it wasn’t practical.

We organized several rounds of voting to whittle down a list of around 20 ideas to just 4. My idea had made it into the final 4, along with another interesting one. The other two were cringe-worthy at best.

Once our 4 ideas were selected, we put together a small slide stack to present them to the company, as did every other brainstorm team. I think that the fun and creative atmosphere this event generated helped dispel some of the uncertainty and gloom which had set over us after the project’s cancellation.

Then, after presentations, the studio’s executives reviewed all pitches and selected one per brainstorm team. In our case, then, mine.

Selected pitches would see some kind of further development, depending on what they though was needed to sell the idea.

Which led me to me being assigned a single developer with the mandate of producing a workable prototype of the idea within two weeks.

To be continued…

The reason why I needed to write this down is simple: it is the first time in my 10 years of working as a designer in the industry that I have the opportunity to develop an idea I have pitched from a Creative Lead role.

I am both confident and scared shitless of what lies ahead, and writing helps me make sense of it all in a very selfish way. Just old-school blogging.