Back in 2013, when I was still a wee PR baby, I came across a blog post from Stanley Parable and The Beginner’s Guide developer Davey Wreden on writing to the press to pitch your game. Anyone familiar with Davey’s work could guess the post is hilarious, but it also really makes clear the importance of marketing and fostering relationships with the press. It’s a great perspective directly from the dev side, and was funny enough to stick with me all this time.
Since the original blog no longer exists, I got Davey’s permission to repost the entry in VGPR. He also offered a great reflection looking back on what he said in the original post:
As for whether I still feel the same on the topic, I guess as time has gone on I rely less on heavy drinking to promote my games, and moreso on abstract concepts such as “normal conversation” and “the quality of my work.” But hey, who knows, maybe I’m missing something there.
Stanley Parable Dev Showcase: Press
April 3, 2013
The Stanley Parable Helpful Development Showcase is our way of connecting you to the development of The Stanley Parable by giving you a small look at what's been going on behind the scenes. Each week we'll give you a tiny peek into what it takes to make a game like The Stanley Parable, the creative challenges we come up against in the course of development, and how to not judge yourself as a person for the quality of choices you've made in your own life. These are just a few of the topics we'll cover in this incredibly useful blog series.
This week: Writing to the press
The role of promotion in game develop cannot be understated. Seriously, go ahead, try.
You see? Impossible.
Because marketing is so instrumental in determining the success or failure of your game, it's important to maintain a healthy relationship with members of the press. Creating a personal connection with a journalist can be the difference between your game becoming a huge hit and it being personally responsible for the slaughter of thousands of innocent children in third-world countries.
Let's look at how I handle my relationships with the video game press.
Suppose that I have some new bit of news about the development of the Stanley Parable (I don't. Don't ask). I'm going to offer it to Kirk Hamilton over at Kotaku as an exclusive piece. Offering these kinds of exclusives helps sustain a connection between developer and journalist, it tells them that you believe in what they're doing. Press is about creating that kind of lasting connection.
Before I send this email though, I'm going to do some heavy drinking.
First up is a fifth of Jack Daniels. Not the whole thing obviously, just enough to make it legally inadvisable for me to get into the driver's seat of a car.
Next is most of a bottle of UV, flavored vodka, which is a great way of letting people know that you like to drink but you also have a great personality.
Now we'll get classy. Just a few shots of Balblair, premium single malt scotch whiskey.
One of these, I guess.
Don't even know what this is.
Now let's finish off the JD.
Let's sit down to write this email.
This is the full text of the email I found in my gmail outbox the next morning.
This might be bad for the game's press.
It's time to do some damage control. Kirk is a gentleman, an upstanding and understanding kind of guy. I know that the two of us can talk it out.
Let's write him an email to try to smooth things over and bring him back to our side:
Again, it's all about creating a connection. Now that Kirk thinks I love him, it will be impossible for him not to write some glowing coverage of the Stanley Parable.
Oh! We've gotten an email back from him!
It turns out that Kirk Hamilton's email address is NOT email@example.com, so for now, it looks like I'm safe as far as press for Stanley Parable.
But this other guy at firstname.lastname@example.org is still a problem. I came on pretty strong in that last email, and now he's probably developing feelings for me. We need to lay this beast to rest as gently as possible.
But he’s still trying to win me back. The next day I get this in my inbox.
You see, he’s playing hard to get, and I’m not falling for it. You had your chance, email@example.com, and you blew it. It’s too late now, I’ve deleted him from my email contacts so that I’ll never be able to write him again, never send him my thoughts when I’m lonely, never fill that firstname.lastname@example.org hole in my heart.
Goodbye forever, old friend.
I love you.
Next week: We get in touch with IGN@yahoo.com
Follow Davey Wreden on Twitter.