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How to write a video game concept statement

A game concept statement, or premise, is a short, direct description of a game situation. It describes the player’s goal, the opposition to that goal, and the means through which that goal will be achieved. When dealing solely with the narrative portion of the script, the game concept statement reads like a script plot. Realistically, the game is described as affecting some elements of the narrative. A brief example could say the following:

“In Trick or Treat, the player characters have been trapped in the maze of an ancient haunted house. They must escape by destroying opposing monsters, avoiding traps, and solving the maze. Trick or Treat is a third-person perspective action game.”

The aim of this writing is to give the reader an idea of ​​the game. You must answer these basic questions:

  • what is the objective of the game?
  • How is the goal of the game achieved?
  • What are the challenges of the game?
  • Where does the game take place?

Most people want to add marketing jargon and implementation details. This is simply a mistake. Reporting that it is the best game ever, or that it will be available for PS10 in 2020 simply does not strengthen a concept. To put it bluntly, this statement is about the concept. Concepts are high-level general notions. The concept car, for example, did not start with the use of carbon fiber in the Indianapolis 500.

Do not include the following elements in your brief:

  • Gaming platform (eg for NES because I’m retro-chic)
  • Game rating (for example, “M” for adult)
  • Game-specific details (for example, controls)
  • Game programming details (for example, uses recursive algorithms for speed)
  • Marketing (eg, “more exciting than riding a roller coaster”)

There are exceptions to every rule. There are times when it is important to add implementation details. These are exceptionally rare situations, such as a game designed solely to exploit a new type of controller, or for use on a non-standard gaming platform. In these cases, it makes sense to touch on the distinctive detail.


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