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Reaching Out: How Telltale Can Show Goodwill to the Community

posted by Rather Dashing on - last edited - Viewed by 498 users

How do you think Telltale can reach out to King's Quest fans, and to the community as a whole? I've thought of a few possibilities, and I want to see what everyone else thinks of them, as well as anything an

1. Actually Communicate through your existing channels

This one is really important, I think, and so far I personally think there has been a major vacuum where this should be. This company has a Blog, a newsletter, a forum, and Facebook/Twitter accounts. They have a means through which they can communicate to the existing fanbase, and so far it has been mostly radio silence. Even if you are holding back information for a big announcement, a mere presence shown by maybe taking ten minutes out of your day to make a few posts would go a long way.

2. Cut the Bullshit

Specifically, the marketing-speak.

We have very little in terms of information about this project, and what we have gotten so far is laden with marketing speak and terminology that comes off like it could mean something very, very bad for fans of this franchise. It makes a person wonder if the reason the company isn't saying anything is because they can't say anything without it coming out badly. So, when you do go ahead and say something, run it through the filter of human experience rather than a series of robotic drones who calculate the offensiveness of key words and feel they've created an algorithm for saying things by saying nothing(known to some as "The Marketing Department"). Marketing-speak can be detected immediately and comes off as less than genuine at best.

Are you including deaths in the game?
Who is the target audience?
What is your puzzle design philosophy?
How are you approaching this project?
Do you feel that you need to change a lot about the company's usual work habits to fit this franchise? What are you changing and why?
Is this going to be a reboot, a sequel without a number, or a numbered sequel?
Etc etc.

These are simple questions and simple bits of trivia that could be delivered through any of the existing channels. Or perhaps you can join discussions about King's Quest as a fan of King's Quest. I mean, you are a fan of King's Quest, aren't you?

3. Reach out to Sierra employees

Involvement by people who worked for Sierra would be great. The more involvement, the better. At least CONTACT Roberta Williams to see if she wants to, for example, chat about King's Quest or look over your early design documents, even for just an hour. Check with as many franchise heads as you can muster. Make their involvement publicly known in a transparent fashion. "Off to have lunch with Roberta Williams" on the Telltale Twitter feed would be nice to see.

4. Reach out to the fan groups

The fan groups have been keeping this series alive. They have access to a wider King's Quest base, and they understand the franchise. Give them an interview(because they know what to ask!), ask them what they think is important, and reach out to these groups in any other way you can.

5. Show us stuff

Anything at all fits in this. Blurry cameraphone pictures of the concept artists' desk. A work schedule. Pieces of early design documents. What you had for lunch the day development started. Anything. This fits into the "an unimportant presence is better than no presence at all" rule. Show the fans anything, and let them speculate. It doesn't have to be super important or the best quality, just show the fans something.

6. Community Events

This is something that Nikki was able to do in a simple and effective way at a fairly low cost. Telltale Tuesdays and the like showed(or at least gave the impression) that the company was actively interested in engaging the community in an active way. Community events are not something that is difficult to organize, and if you're hiring someone for marketing and don't have them working in a way that can be noticed, you're doing it wrong.

Well, that's all I have on my mind right now. What does everyone think? Anyone else have more suggestions?

29 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • @Valiento said: Does anyone not know what a NDA is?


    ...It's their content. They can decide what to do with it. They don't have to tie their developers down. NDAs also generally allow for express consent to be given to release information, which would consist of walking down the hall and doing some simple paperwork and getting it rubberstamped by the marketing guys.

  • @Secret Fawful said: It's because they got so tired of everyone bitching and moaning and whining that they stopped paying attention at all, deciding it was all just fanhate. The thing is, when you do that, you close your ears to actual worthwhile discussion as well, and that's when you've screwed yourself.

    I only started visiting these forums more regularly after the KQ announcement. I wasn't aware that the devs were more active earlier... it's a shame that the fans drove them away. If there was a lot of hate (and I take your word for it that there was), then I can't blame them for closing their ears and lips.

    I would like to add that I don't mean to bash Telltale by agreeing with the poster (and I don't expect news so soon after the announcement, especially since it was already said that more will be revealed at E3). It's just that KQ is so dear to so many of us that we're all more excited and anxious than normal.

    Point number 3 really hit home for me though, and that has nothing to do with Telltale's relationship with us.

  • @Valiento said: Does anyone not know what a NDA is? There are legal procedures for how things can be released or discussed... Activision probably has the reigns tied down from above...

    Hell back in the day, if you went to visit Sierra, you had to sign one of the NDA waivers, just to be invited inside...

    I seriously don't remember Sierra being open directly after a game announcement either. It usually took a few months to a year, before they released the first bits of concept art...

    I doubt Activision is involved with the marketing or development whatsoever (e.g. I wouldn't be surprised if Telltale has complete control as long as they hand over the agreed percentage of revenue when the time comes).

  • The drawback to communicating with your fans more is that every fan then expects you to do everything it takes to please them. And the old saying about not being able to please everyone really makes a huge mess in that situation. Is it nice to communicate with fans? You bet, we love getting feedback from our fans and from our critics, but it is really tough to sort through everything and try to keep as many people as possible happy sometimes.

  • @wilco64256 said: The drawback to communicating with your fans more is that every fan then expects you to do everything it takes to please them. And the old saying about not being able to please everyone really makes a huge mess in that situation. Is it nice to communicate with fans? You bet, we love getting feedback from our fans and from our critics, but it is really tough to sort through everything and try to keep as many people as possible happy sometimes.

    That just reminds me, if not posting on these boards, then what about having a developer's diary once every so often? Jane Jensen did it for Gabriel Knight III and Gray Matter, and Mark Seibert did it for King's Quest 8. I think it really helped bridge the developer-fan connection without "getting too close" or opening unwanted doors for criticism.

  • Anyone who thinks Dashing's requests are excessive is probably new here. Telltale employees used to actively converse with the fans on the forums all the time.

  • True. But they also have a certain history of keeping us in the dark for no apparent reason on even minor things.

    Doesn't anyone remember how long we asked/argued/complained about what kind of DRM would be on the ToMI DVD? Telltale took a very long time indeed to say anything at all on the subject. Many people were so worried that it was going to have online activation the same as Wallace and Gromit did, and Telltale did very little to alleviate our concerns.

    And that's only one example.

  • @wilco64256 said: You bet, we love getting feedback from our fans and from our critics, but it is really tough to sort through everything and try to keep as many people as possible happy sometimes.

    You should check old threads a little. Apparently it was possible for them to make all their fans happy when they had less stuff to work with.

  • The fan groups, no mater who, should not be involved in the making of this game. That would just complicate things too much.

    Roberta Williams could, and should, be consulted as she is the original creator, if she wants to be involved.

    But anyway, TTG will do much better job at this than those morons who did those Larry sequals with out Al Lowe, that's for sure.

  • Are we necessarily sure people would be interested in a long list of answers like "Havent decided yet", "Have decided, but haven't actually done any concept art or programming yet", "Too busy with that thing with the dinosaurs to worry about that yet" etc?

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