Naming Your Game

by Wonderland (PM)

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Current Language: English
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Naming your game is a crucial moment in your game’s development. Get it wrong and your whole game’s success as a whole could fall flat, after all. There is really five commandments in order to keep the name from being horrid, and while they may seem obvious, they are also often ignored.

THOU SHALL NOT MAKE TITLE TOO LONG TO SAY – Pretty simple, but as a rule it really shouldn’t be more than 8 words long, in my opinion. There are games out there with about 3 times that in their title and it becomes awkward to say. The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II — The Rise of the Witch-king is the longest I believe, at 15 words, not counting “Expansion Pack”. At that point it becomes awkward to say, unless you shorten it or use acronyms.

THOU SHALL NOT MAKE TITLE TOO DESCRIPTIVE – The right level of descriptiveness is pretty important too. You don’t want your title to be Epic Fantasy: The Captured King Is Saved By The Boy Who Came From The Burned Village! Again, too long, and it sounds silly, unless that is what you are going for. “Kingdom Fell” sounds a bit better, or at least it isn’t as long and as corny sounding, and has a snap to it, like you want. Arguably, shorter is better, but a nice-sounding name that hasn’t been used in a game before can be hard. Short titles that only give a bit can be intriguing. A name such as Don’t Starve is clever, and gives a bit of info on what you do in the game without being tell-all.

THOU SHALL HAVE GOOD GRAMMAR/SPELLING/PUNCTUATION – Simply put, it doesn’t show much professionalism if your title is Fantisy, which I have seen before. Fantasy has an ‘a’, not an ‘I’.

THOU SHALL MAKE IT PRONOUNCABLE – Unless it was made in a foreign language, try to avoid naming your game something you can’t easily say, like XXGYZITY. You won’t get word-of-mouth if your game name can’t be said.

THOU SHALL NOT USE AN EASILY JOKEABLE TITLE – When us reviewers review a game, we usually need a snappy, often corny opening line or headline. Often it is a play on both the quality of the game and the game’s name, like “Don’t Forget Me is forgettable.”, or “Two Worlds Two wants to beat Skyrim too, fails.” When you can, try to think your title over and make sure you don’t feed us review trolls. All the same, avoid titles that just don’t sound right, like Dark Chambers, Sticky Balls or Disney’s Bonkers: Wax Up! Both are real, and immature folk like me can’t take them seriously.

I hope next time you have to decide a name for your game you review these pointers so your game name doesn’t end up being Riding With The Marvellous Knight II: Revenge Of Skeletons.

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