How to Write A Video Game Concept Statement

A game concept statement, or premise, is a short, direct description of the situation of a game. It describes the player’s goal, the opposition to that goal, and the means through which that goal will be accomplished. When dealing solely with the narrative portion of the script, the game concept statement reads like a screenplay pitch. Realistically, game play is described because it effects some elements of the storytelling. A short example might read as follows:

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

The goal of this writing is to give the reader a sense for the game. It should answer these basic questions:

  • What is the goal of the game?
  • How is the goal of the game accomplished?
  • What are the challenges to the game?
  • Where does the game take place?

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

Do not include the following elements in a your writing:

  • Game platform (e.g. for the NES because I’m retro-chic)
  • Game rating (e.g. “M” for mature)
  • Game play specifics (e.g. controls)
  • Game programming details (e.g. uses recursive algorithms for speed)
  • Marketing (e.g. “more exciting than a ride on 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 game platform. In these cases, it makes sense to touch upon the distinguishing detail.

The Fourvette Concept Corvette

Every so often the powers that be at GM come up with a Corvette notion that is four doors and family friendly. The very perception is enough to make even the strongest stomach Corvette fanatic sick, but low and behold the Fourvette is born.

This time the notion of a four door Corvette is more than just words and GM has actually made a concept car version of what the production Fourvette might look like. Hopefully this is as far as the Fourvette goes, but it certainly isn’t the end of the sickness you will feel in the pit of your stomach when you hear the next tid bit of info on the Fourvette.

In addition to the four doors, the Fourvette will include a six cylinder engine. This is supposedly to market to the women of America, but if they can drive the big soccer mom V8 SUVs, why can’t they drive a V8 Corvette? A more fitting question is why they are even considering such a vehicle?

Here’s the problem. Last year Porsche came out with a four door called the Panamera and although it looks like a stretched out turtle, the sales are unbelievable. So unbelievable that GM is thinking of following suit. However, the birth of the Fourvette could be the death of the Corvette.

Owning a Corvette has always been something that you do as a reward for yourself. You don’t buy a Vette so that you can load up the kids and take them to soccer practice right before you go to the grocery store. In fact the mere sight of a baby seat inside a Corvette would be enough to put you into exile with your Corvette club.

Now it seems that GM may want to curb all that the Corvette has come to be in it’s almost 60 years of existence and redefine it as a family car. So the great American icon will become the greater family icon? Not to say that women can’t own Corvettes, but why does the Corvette have to be four doors and six cylinders?

Hopefully this is as far as it goes and perhaps GM is only doing this to gain a little bit of notoriety and some publicity. The last time that a four door Corvette went to concept was back in 1963 and if not for the pictures of that four door Corvette, no one would have believed the story. While it is up for debate as to why that model never made it to the production line, the fact remains that it never made it to the production line.

In 1963 GM was wise enough back then to destroy that version of the four door Corvette and say, “What four door, we don’t have any four door,” so hopefully they will be just as wise with the Fourvette. While the name is nifty, the notion of an actual four door Corvette being put into production is anything but. While a picture is worth a thousand words, a picture of the Fourvette is only worth three; no thank you.

1977 Chevrolet Aerovette Concept Car

In 1977 GM came out with another version of the Four-Rotor Car and dubbed it the Aerovette. The Aerovette had the same lines as the original design and this time GM pulled out all the stops when making the prototype.

That’s because for all intensive purposes, GM fully intended on producing the Aerovette beginning in 1980. However due to a myriad of complications, the idea never made it past the prototype stage.

The Areovette was shaped in a rectangular way so it would slice through the air with little wind resistance as the name “aero” might suggest. The Aerovette was beautifully detailed both inside and out and the interior was fully engineered which was more proof that the car was intended for production.

The doors of the Areovette opened out and up and were the same “Gullwing” design as the famed Mercedes 300SL Coupe. But the Aerovette doors actually more articulated versus the Mercedes design and that allowed for greater function in tighter parking spots which was a major drawback of the design in the past.

If the Aerovette would have made it to the public it would have had a steel frame that made for extra durability. The suspension was due to come off of the actual Shark Corvette as Zora Duntov suggested that this would be an extreme cost savings measure. The mid-engine Vette was probably going to feature GM’s famed and go to 350 V-8 engine and the transmissions were to be the same as the conventional Vette as well.

In fact, for all that went into the Aerovette, the new style Vette would have been just about in line with what the regular Corvette was going for. GM estimated that the Aerovette would have sold in 1980 for about $15,000 to $18,000 and this was very close to the regular Corvette even though the gullwing doors would have added to the cost significantly.

Unfortunately though, the Chevrolet Aerovette Concept Car was not meant to be and was done in by its biggest supports leaving GM. Both Duntov and Mitchell had already retired and that left the ultimate call to go to other top dogs at GM, one of whom was Dave McLellan. However, McLellan liked the front engine Corvette design much more than he did the Aerovette’s mid engine and that factor was one that had the concept car remain a concept.

Perhaps though the biggest factor that helped make that fateful decision was money. At the time many imports such as Fiat and Porsche had mid engine models and none of them were fairing well in the United States market. Meanwhile Datsun had been selling their 240Z front engine cars in the US at a fast pace, which the brass at GM took instant note of. When it came right down to it, the mid-engine Areovette was deemed too big a risk by McLellan and the other hot shots at GM and would therefore only secure its place in Corvette history as the overachieving concept car that could have been but never was.