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One Love

Martin de Ronde talks One Big Game - the business model, and the journey so far

Last week One Big Game unveiled WINtA, the second title in the series of games that will donate - hopefully - significant sums of money to a selection of children's charities.

Yesterday we published an interview with Masaya Matsuura, the president of NanaOn-Sha and the creative talent behind the game, but the main man that's pulled the whole OBG vision together is Martin de Ronde. Here we talk to him about the journey so far and how the OBG business model works. It must be pretty exciting to be on the verge of announcing a One Big Game title - now it's out there, how does it feel?
Martin de Ronde

There are two phases to that - the first phase, because we're the spiritual publisher of every One Big Game game we're doing, is that we have these great creative people come to us with the vision that they have for the game. That really is a tantalising prospect - it's usually a one-liner.

Then, after a couple of months we see a prototype - when you're a normal publisher and buy products from developers, it's a business... Here it's business, but it also feels like the developer is giving you a present - that's the charity angle.

The second phase is the unveiling - which is like any other commercial unveiling. You're really anxious about how people will respond to it. Judging by the feedback that we got initially on WINtA I'm really pleased - it's a feeling of relief, pride and happiness that we can finally show it.

One Big Game games normally take longer than other games, so it's always good to get another one out in the open. Chime set a really high standard in terms of critical acclaim, and we wondered if that would cause problems for other games later - but then we saw a prototype of WINtA and we weren't worried.

We're really happy with WINtA - it looks like it's going to hit the same quality level as Chime, which is really important to us. You're a bit of a hub in some ways, in terms of matching creative visionaries with developers - what drew you to Triangle Studios for the WINtA collaboration?
Martin de Ronde

Well, the history of Triangle being involved with NanaOn-Sha is really rather straightforward. We get approached by people all the time, as a matter of fact I was just approached by a developer right after the Festival of Games talk wanting to do something - they're a specialist in DSiWare.

I basically take that comment and store it away - and the same thing happened with Triangle. Two really nice guys came up to me after a talk I did at the school they had previously graduated from. They told me they were really impressed with the One Big Game story, and asked if there was something they could do, saying that their studio focused on iPhone and iPod Touch development.

I stored it, and a couple of weeks later I met with NanaOn-Sha for a progress meeting - they told me then that the game they had they wanted to do on iPhone and iPod Touch... So I set up a meeting between the two at Tokyo Games Show. I told the Triangle guys to meet them, see if they had chemistry, a shared vision - they came back, told me they'd had a great time, as if it was always meant to be.

I knew right away this was going to be a good marriage... It's like I'm doing speed-dating - or slow-dating, because games take so long to make... You should set up an agency...
Martin de Ronde

It's finding the right pieces of the puzzle - that's the good thing about the charity angle, you just find the people that want to work together in a collaborative process. In a normal business environment it's not so easy - you get what people offer you, and sometimes they don't want to work with other people because they have to have an argument about revenue-sharing or something.

In this case it's much easier. We try and combine the right people with the right project - it was the same with David Perry's project. The Dutch link is obvious - I speak to a lot of developers here, but I'm not just adding any developer to any famous game designer.

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