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Session Name:

The Art and Science of Developing Licensed Games


Designing and developing games based on Western licensed IP can be challenging and rewarding for independent developers in China. In this presentation, Aaron Pulkka, who has been working on licensed entertainment properties for 15 years, will discuss a framework that will help you focus on the benefits while avoiding the pitfalls. To succeed your team must have a complete understanding of the license the game is to be based on, as well as the underlying story structures, character archetypes and settings that are common in Western culture. To fully understand a license you must explore the boundaries to determine what is and isnt possible, then decide what to replicate and where you should innovate. A licensor can provide a wealth of reference art, story ideas, character designs and even dialogue to allow your team to focus on bringing that license to interactive platforms as long as you have a clear communication and approval process so that you are not surprised or unnecessarily constrained. While some developers prefer to create games based on their own stories and characters others embrace the challenge of developing licensed games and can choose to either make games faster or even better than they could with the same resources and time.

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  • GDC China 2010
  • Aaron Pulkka
  • Activision
  • free content
  • Global Game Development/Outsourcing
  • Other