Why a Prototype Is All You Need to Land a Publishing Deal

As a publisher of mobile games, one of the biggest misconceptions we come across at Kwalee is that developers need to have fully-fledged and complete games to even stand a chance of striking a publishing deal.

For us and especially within the world of hypercasual, this couldn’t be further from the truth. A prototype can give us everything we need to establish whether a game has the potential to become successful or not. It’s something we do with our own internally developed games, so why change the rules for the external developers we work with?

Here, we’ll talk you through the key benefits of submitting prototypes to us and some of the things we look for whenever receiving one!

The Benefits of Prototyping 


The number one benefit of prototyping is the heightened efficiency for both sides. For us as a publisher, prototypes enable us to quickly see whether a game has what it takes to keep players entertained. From both the perspective of ourselves as experts when first playing the game, through to testing it, a prototype is exactly what we need to establish next steps and whether this is a game worth working on more.

Importantly for developers, this also allows you to know at a relatively early stage of the game’s development, whether you’ve got an idea worth pursuing or not. If gaining a publishing deal is your number one priority, and our early testing isn’t looking promising, at least you’ve not spent too long on the game and can see that it is probably best to move on to the next idea. The pain of this realisation is much easier to stomach than if you’d have gone into full production on the game!

Small Development Cycles:

This ties in a lot with our point above about speed, but is well worth highlighting. Creating prototypes means that your development cycles will be much smaller and much quicker, allowing you to entertain more ideas in a shorter space of time and heighten the opportunities to strike on something great. 

A bit of a mantra at Kwalee is ‘build it, test it, feedback,’ and the short dev cycles enable us to do this over and over. We’ve learned to fail fast and arrive at the successes much sooner.

Something to Build On:

A prototype should be the core of what your game is, but also allows room for improvement and changes. One of the things we enjoy most is working closely with developers to identify where games can be improved and what tweaks can be made, so it stands an even greater chance of success.

Knowing that your prototype has gained our interest and has tested well will give you the confidence to build on it, knowing that you’re onto something. It’ll also be easier to work with when adding in any suggestions we make, rather than having to pull apart a finished product.

What a Publisher Looks for in a Prototype 

So we’ve established that submitting prototypes to a publisher is a good way to go, bringing multiple benefits. But what actually makes a solid prototype? What are we at Kwalee looking for? There are a few things to keep in mind:

The Core Gameplay:

A good prototype needs to show what the essence of the gameplay is all about. What does the player need to do, and how will the levels work? Without this, we won’t be able to establish the game’s potential and, in short, begin to get excited for what the future could hold for your creation!

Again, being a prototype, this doesn’t need to be masses of levels. We’ve found that a minimum of three can be enough to test and gauge how much the game could grab a player. So first things first focus on getting the gameplay right!

A Defined Style:

Focusing on the gameplay doesn’t mean that visuals can take a complete backseat, though. A solid prototype strikes the right balance between basic styling and a polished appearance. So cubes and blocks won’t cut it, as you need to give an idea of what the completed style of the game will be. With that in mind and wanting to retain the benefit of small development cycles that comes with prototyping, lean heavily on Buildbox assets. The pre-built assets offer a brilliant way to style your game in a short time scale and, again, is something to build upon if the prototype is showing potential! 

That’s why all you need is a prototype to land a publishing deal. So if you’ve got one ready, why not send it our way by clicking here or on the button below. We’ll take a look and get in touch about next steps!

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Jack Griffin

About Jack Griffin

Working on all areas of Kwalee’s hyper casual game publishing pipeline, from fielding game submissions to overseeing global launches, Jack Griffin has played a key role in hits including Rocket Sky! and OverTake. He has been involved in Kwalee’s publishing department from the beginning and contributed to its rapid growth.