Gamasutra: David Logan’s Blog-Indie Insights: Hooks and Anchors

One of my favorite things about these blogs is to draw a little curtain on the development, production and marketing processes. We hope that doing so will help give other indie studios a small window to what they think is important, interesting and useful in our time. Today, let’s talk about small exercises called hooks and anchors.

Hooks and Anchors, primarily marketing exercises, help break down a wide range of ever-expanding games into a core and basic philosophy. Hooks are novel, new and innovative. That’s what other games don’t do in your game — the “Wow!” Factor. This is basically unique, something no other game has ever done. On the contrary, anchors are expected. Familiar. Safe and secure game design that players recognize, understand and love. “This game reminds you of other games you love, so you’ll probably like it too!”

We think we need both to sell a game — that’s why.

The mystery of Karoo and the island is the hook of Mutazione.


This is talked about to death, but the basic idea is: Hooks are new and innovative, there to attract the attention of the viewer and bring them into the game.

For many games, this is a gameplay feature. This will be the type of multiplayer experience they have never experienced, or a new flashy mechanic they have never seen.Some notable examples from recent memories may be the Nemesis system from Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Players have gone through a process of fighting through a chain of command, but the prospect of fighting NPCs, who have learned and grown in response to their fighting, has created a sense of agency and choice. The decisions and games you make react dynamically to them, rather than ignoring your autonomy to make you shoehorn through a linear story.

For other titles, this is aesthetic.Recently released 2D precision platformer Spinch, For example, it featured tight jumps and dashes, but Hook was actually an art by indie comic artist Jesse Jacobs.Players have seen a lot of platformers from Celeste To Super Meat Boy While nailing the basics of these types of platforms, hypnosis and psychedelic art have never been seen before. Most of the comments on the Reddit thread and Youtube videos related to Spinch make the art stand out because it stands out so much.

Some games even sport story hooks. MutadionLast year’s mutant soap opera captivated players with friendly characters, fascinating themes, and clever mysteries. One of the first gifs I made for Mutazione featured Karoo, a mysterious bird spirit who visits Kai in a dream. The gif is getting a lot of attention because it draws the player into the mystery of the story.

Finding hooks is usually easy for indie, as it is common to approach the game with innovation and novelty in mind. We want to develop a title that players have never seen before. And especially when we talk to them, we focus on hooks as a way to tell players that this experience can never be obtained anywhere else. From a marketing perspective, it was important to have a clear understanding of the hooks so that you could properly compose your game message. Whether it’s focused on art, design, or story, it’s created a ley line that empowers us whenever we get stuck in the message we send to our players.

But we’re not just spending time on new and innovative things. In some cases, familiars can be just as important.

Spinch’s anchor is its tight platform.


Anchors play the opposite role of hooks, but that doesn’t mean it’s not that important. In fact, most developers I spend time with and talk to tend to forget their anchors or take it for granted. Neither flashy nor sexy — candid, honest and serious. The anchor is safe. It has something to do with it. This represents security where hooks represent risk. Talk to 10 players and 9 of them will want to have a new and exciting experience in the game. However, looking at the playing habits of these 10 players, we usually search for reliable old formulas and genres much more often than they occur.

Anchors are there to satisfy this desire. For example Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Breaking all sorts of new boundaries with its Nemesis system, it still remained almost loyal Assassin’s Creed/Arkham Asylum The style of combat that many open world action games enjoyed at the time. In this way, it remains true to the roots of the customs of the genre that players know and love. Players who have the game can also easily compare and recognize experiences that are associated with each other.

for Spinch, Our anchor was the platform. This type of precision platform has been the flagship of indie games since the following titles: blade And Super Meat Boy It exploded almost 10 years ago. Players looking for challenges for these types of titles will swim in the very familiar ocean when it comes to moving between the six worlds and intermediate levels. Spinch.. It doesn’t generate comments on Youtube like Art did, but it drives the most hardcore players. Speedrunners are submerged Spinch Easily and became some of the game’s most enthusiastic fans. I’m a fan thanks to the anchor after being pulled by the hook.

Every game has familiar and relevant elements. Often, it’s the genre or core gameplay mechanics that players expect to experience the first time they launch a game. This is your anchor and it is as important to communicate with the player as your hook. For each title, create a concise and concise phrase to explain in basic terms. Spinch 2D precision platformer. You will see it everywhere in our writing for the game. Also used in the previous section. Lost virus It’s a roguelike fighter. Grime It’s a soul-like Metroidvania. All of this conveys the anchor of the experience to the player and often serves as the basis for the player to understand the game.

Combining hooks and anchors into a single message can effectively convey the core of your game to potential players in just a handful of words. It shows them the relevant experiences they know and love, the truths tested, and the wise shoes of your game. At the same time, it tells it a unique, novel, and “I’ve never seen anyone do this, but a man, what a great idea!” This helps supporters share the game with friends and colleagues. With a good message, one player can share his experience with dozens of other players.

Such a spread is very powerful.

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