It is important to realize that your focus statement is not a marketing tool. It is not created to sell your game to the executives. It is not written with the hope of printing it on the back of the box or showing it to the people in charge of purchasing for large retailers. It is first and foremost written as a development tool for your team. Writing a statement that clearly establishes the goals of your game will be hard enough without also trying to craft something that will work for the marketing folks. Nevertheless, you may be able to take your focus and change it into something to get your marketing department excited about your game. If generating a significant number of sales is one of the items on your agenda (let us presume it is not your primary motivation for working in games, for surely there are more profitable careers to pursue ), then having the marketing people get excited about your game when they try to sell it is almost as important as having the programmers excited during the game s development. Marketing people will try to sell games they believe in and that they think are cool concepts, and a modified and adapted version of your focus statement can serve to quickly explain to them what is so thrilling about your idea. Of course, marketing people also love comparative descriptions, such as, The game s basically Bejeweled meets Max Payne . Thus, you may want to come up with some direct comparisons that place your game within the context of known popular games, games that the marketing specialists already know how to sell. Of course, you can use the content of your focus to back up such superficial comparisons and to make the marketing folk understand why your game is unique and will appeal to gamers. With this knowledge in hand, hopefully they can make an ad campaign that is an appropriate representation of your game and not something that you will be embarrassed by when you see it in the magazines.
Regardless of what other applications you may find for it, always remember that you wrote down your focus in order to help your game s development. Many game designers do not have a focus when they are working on a game, and it shows. Some fear it because they do not want to become locked into any one idea. Such trepidation is unfounded since you have the freedom to change your focus whenever you want. Indeed, without writing it down, you may not even realize that a change of course is warranted. Of course, it is possible to make a good game without really having any idea of what your game is all about. It is also possible to win the lottery. When your livelihood, reputation, and the quality of your final game are on the line, however, you want something more than luck to determine if your game works or not. Using a focus is one tool that will help you to create a solid, entertaining, and compelling game.