From localization to comics, or how to make promo materials memorable

All Correct Group decided to try something completely new this year — we made a comic. We would like to share what we learned and tell you why we chose to use that type of marketing material and how difficult it was to make exactly what we wanted.

The employees of All Correct Group have recently turned into real localization heroes. Actually, that happened quite a while ago in the course of the work that we do every day. Our editors, translators and managers had to develop superhuman abilities while solving difficult game and software localization problems (some of which were almost impossible). And now, the time has come for the game industry to see the true nature of our employees!

So, how did it all begin? The idea to create interesting handouts came to us when we were preparing for the DevGAMM conference which took place in Moscow last May. We really did not want to print boring leaflets with information about the services the company provides, saying what a great company we are. One evening, we gathered in one of our meeting rooms and discussed various options, coming to agree that we should not describe our services directly but show what we can do in practice and most importantly that bad localization makes players suffer and even stop playing their favorite games.

At first, we were not planning to make a comic. We had an idea about making a leaflet showing several funny situations with languages, similar to the Babylon Phrasebook.

We quickly understood that putting several languages into a small picture is rather difficult, but our handout would be boring if it only had a couple of pictures. We gradually came to agree that we need one story, that it needs to be in Russian (the main language of the conference) and that this story must be about our company.

The next step was a brainstorming session. We gathered our chief creative employees from the All Correct Games department and began to write a story for the comic. The story changed many times while we developed our main idea. Our superheroes conquered caves and mountains, rescued players from prison, learned to fly and decipher secret signals which called for help. This is the picture we got from the brainstorming session.

Our next task was to find an artist and draw a detailed frame by frame picture of the comic.

At first, choosing an artist seems easy, but after visiting several sites of freelancers, we understood that this service was offered by hundreds of people! We set out the stages for our internal artist selection tender:

1. Filter artists by work experience and leave those that have experience in the games industry.

2. Select artists that have experience of drawing comics.

3. An internal vote about the drawing style of particular artists.

4. To begin with choosing artists based on their drawing style and see if they have experience in drawing comics. It is also very important that the artist has a professional approach as we could not find common ground with everyone whose style we liked. Basically, the usual issues that can occur when working with freelancers.

However, reality turned out to be far from our expectations. Having looked at several applications from artists, we understood that finding someone who has experience of working in the games industry as well as in making comics is very difficult. Another reason for this is that the style of the work must match our corporate style of design. As a result, we chose a very talented artist that had never drawn comics and had no knowledge of the world of games! Through online communication (the girl does not live in our city and we did not have an opportunity to meet) we managed to explain the idea behind our comic and our expectations, as well as giving a detailed description of the pictures that we wanted to see. It was also difficult to explain what we were doing to a person that was not connected to localization in any way. We had start by giving her a short lecture about what our company is involved in.

The frame-by-frame design of the comic was done in two stages:

1. Simple version (the very first sketch)

2. Upgrade of the first sketch

3. Frame-by-frame with defined details

Another special feature of the tasks facing the artist is that our real employees had to be the characters of the comic, which is why all of our superheroes provided photos taken at different angles so that the artist could realistically convey the appearance of the character. The artist was not only faced with making the characters look like our employees — the pictures also had to show their personality.

The rest of the work was left to the artist and we received our finished comic in two weeks. J

This is the way our team managed to create an interesting handout which does not advertise company services but reflects the secret mission of our editors and project managers. This was not an easy task, but it was very memorable for everyone involved. We hope that the second part of the comic is not far away and we will get another chance to use the skills we learned while working on the comic J

This project helped us to break new ground and brought the team even closer together because every member of the localization department was involved in bringing this idea to life. We also made this video based on the comic, but that is an entirely different story…