Saturday, March 12, 2011
Shit Never Gets Old...
++++UPDATE: One of the commenters- Misael- asked me why Dollface was picked as a cover subject instead of Sweet Tooth. I started to answer him in the comments but figured this may be of interest to some others...so I put it here. Here's my answer:
Misael, We have a great producer on the game named Angelic who does a great deal of the Eat Sleep Play art wrangling when our games are fortunate enough to be offered a cover. Between her, the art folks at the magazine itself, and one of our stunningly talented concept artists (in this case a sickeningly MULTI talented ((and all around nice guy)) concept artist named Owen Richardson) the covers get done.
Ok, ok, YES there is a decent amount of backseat driving from myself, Scott Campbell, Kellan Hatch,Sony PD,PR, & Marketing and- naturally- the publication itself who always (understandably) has their own agenda they need to fulfill.
In the case of Twisted Metal and print mags, it's a bit of a challenge because we are always hearing this sort of thing: 'Vehicles on covers don't sell...we gotta see people/characters. Whenever we have covers with vehicles as the stars- in MOST cases- the sales for that month are not where we want them'.
And this is not just Gamepro. This pretty much seems to be the party line for 99% of the print mags that we've worked with. And we get the point. Most people are visually and instantly drawn to other people/characters instead of machines. Makes sense to us.
But it presents a challenge for our particular game because it's not good for Twisted to JUST put characters with no vehicles on magazine covers because new fans- as well as long time fans just getting wind of a new Twisted Metal- could easily misread the cover's message and think we've turned the new TM into a 3rd person character shooter and/or a game where you can get out of the vehicles and walk around ala GTA. So we're always trying to find the balance between giving the print mags what they need to succeed in their business world while also making sure the message of what the new Twisted Metal is is loud and clear (aka what WE need to succeed in OUR business world).
And sometimes there are mags that simply won't put cars on the covers at all. In those cases we have to look at the magazine's impact on gamers and the mag's cultural relevancy in the gaming space and the magazine's circulation and decide if the risk of potentially incorrectly communicating our brand with a non vehicle cover is worth it.
Usually though, the magazines are happy and helpful to work with us on a compromise and we are always grateful for that. This is why the actual Gamepro cover is different from Owen's initial concept art (which you can see a few posts down)...at the last minute Gamepro (a magazine we all love and were desperate to work with) stepped in with a suggestion of how to keep the cover character centric but still allow our brand message to shine through. I love how it came out and I hope the issue is selling great for the Gamepro folks.*
As for why Dollface was used instead of Sweet Tooth: I honestly don't know why Dollface was picked as the cover subject. Perhaps because PTOM (Playstation: The Official Magazine) had been kind enough just a few months back to also give our game a cover and they used a bad ass Sweet Tooth image (also by Owen) and so perhaps Gamepro wanted their Twisted cover to be different? I'm not really sure.
But as I said, I think it came out FANTASTIC! Hope you all do as well and I hope if you are into/interested in the new Twisted Metal (as well as interested in reading a game mag that- in the last year- has really, really gotten good) that you pick up the new Gamepro.
*Please don't read anything into the fact that the PTOM cover did NOT feature a vehicle. In other words: I'm not even close to suggesting that for PTOM we would live with potentially muddying our brand but we would not do the same for GAMEPRO. That's not the case and for all I know Gary and the team at PTOM would have been happy to work with us- like Gamepro-to create a marketable cover that worked for them while also working with us to more properly communicate our brand. It's just that the PTOM cover- which I also love and ended up getting a mega sized version framed and now have hanging in my office- came together before we had set up our internal marketing/PR/PD primary directive of 'ALWAYS show the game's characters IN/ON/AROUND/ASSOCIATED WITH the game's vehicles.' In fact Owen's submitted image for Gamepro also occurred before we had set up our 'Characters WITH vehicles' rule (thus the difference between his final image and the on the shelf cover). So again, thanks to Gamepro for stepping in with a great, creative solve that seems to have worked out great for everyone!