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Feature: 'The Pros and Cons of Licensing'

In today's Gamasutra feature, AWE Games' Scott Nixon (SpongeBob Squarepants, Cars, Agatha Chris...
In today's Gamasutra feature, AWE Games' Scott Nixon (SpongeBob Squarepants, Cars, Agatha Christie franchises) discusses best practices for developing a licensed video game, from inception to resource acquisition and beyond. In this excerpt, Nixon says that one way to minimize the man-hours needed to navigate through tough license-holder producer relations is simply recognize they have a role to fill as well, and to help them fulfill it: "Submit incomplete work. Of all the issues mentioned, this is the touchiest. How could it be in a developer’s best interest to not submit the best work they possibly can? The reasoning is a corollary of point one, i.e., a producer has to eat. Give them something to point out, something to fix, something to lecture you on – this makes them happy! When you get your milestone comments back, you will already have half or more of the critiques in the bag, and the producer will be ecstatic when you turn around the next one and everything mentioned was fixed with nary a complaint. This rule doesn’t always apply; you should feel out your producer first, many of them are secure enough that they won’t ask for changes just because they feel the need to justify their job." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, with much more from Nixon on the pitfalls of licenses, including why an obscure license can be a blessing in disguise, despite the risk of the property failing before your game is complete (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).

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