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The Pros and Cons of Licensing

For a small developer, the opportunity to create a game based on a licensed title is a decidedly mixed blessing. Publishers often view the process as assembly line game making of the basest sort, eschewing innovation for pandering to the lowest common denominator - and doing so with cut-rate budgets and shockingly short development cycles. To add insult to injury, it is not an area that garners much respect from fellow developers, and you can expect at least mild ostracism at trade shows. In many ways, you are doomed before you even begin.

It isn't all bad, and there is an upside of sorts. You are granted a built-in user base, a wealth of source material, and - usually - relatively strong characters, storylines, and voice actors to work with. Notwithstanding, it is a tricky - often thankless - endeavor, and hopefully some of this information will serve to inform small developers what they can expect when tilting at the big bad licensing machine...

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