I’ve written a couple of posts about how to get your game idea made into a game. Or maybe I should say that I’ve written a couple of posts about how desperately, impossibly hard it is to get your game idea made into a game. Despite my warnings, I still get many emails and comments every week from people telling me, “I saw your post and I’ve got this awesome idea that needs to be made, and would you help me get it made?” They didn’t read the posts.
But some thoughtful readers do actually read the posts. Rivalhopeso posted a comment with an excellent question about how to get ideas into games, and his question deserves an answer.
His question is why is it that absolutely 0% of developers will use an outside idea for a game? He points out the example of Hideo Kojima, the director of Metal Gear Solid, who asked his development team to come up with three new ideas a day while MGS was in production. If Kojima was so eager for ideas, why aren’t developers eager for contributions from fans and other outside game designers?
Here’s the answer. There’s a big difference between needing ideas within a game and needing ideas for a game. Notice that Kojima asked his developers for ideas about MGS, but he didn’t ask them for ideas about what game to make. They knew they were making MGS. And that’s the typical situation: the big decision of what game to make has been made by the market, by the need for a sequel, by a movie tie-in, by the desire to imitate some other hit game, or—occasionally—by the choice of some high-powered producer. Very rarely does someone lower down in a game company get to choose or even contribute to the decision of what game gets made. Ordinary game developers make millions of decisions about what goes into the game, what weapon gets created or how the enemy AI works or how the multiplayer scoring should work. But hardly anyone, even within a game company, gets to say what game gets made.
That’s why 0% of developers are interested in hearing your ideas for games. When only 1 in 100 or so professional game developers get to make their own ideas, you can bet that players and fans will never get close to having their ideas be heard. So it’s about 1% of professional game developers and 0% of players and fans.
I’ll say again now what I’ve said before. If you want to get your game made, make it yourself. Making a full-on AAA game by yourself or even with a small team is not going to happen. But these days, more than ever, there is ample opportunity for anybody with a computer to make a good, small, potentially very successful casual game in Adobe Flash/Flex or on the Android or iOS platforms. If you want to make your own ideas, focus your ideas on casual games. That’s where the opportunity is.