Epic Games president Michael Capps has said that big budget marketing was key to the success of Gears of War - warning that many good games are ignored because they don't have the same level of support.
Capps was speaking during a Leipzig GCDC panel discussion about what makes a best-selling game. When asked by a member of the audience how important a role marketing plays he replied, "Absolutely tremendous... It's so unfortunate that I can list 20 games that were fantastic that nobody ever saw."
According to Capps, Epic was "extremely lucky" to have the backing of such a big publisher as Microsoft, and access to high profile marketing as a result.
"I had Lindsay Lohan come to my launch party," Capps stated. "I'm not sure it was worth the money, but..."
At this point Stormfront Studios boss Don Daglow chimed in, "What did she have to drink?". Capps simply replied, "That's a story for another time. The point is, it's cool to have that kind of exposure."
Gears of War was released in November 2006 and became the fastest-selling Xbox 360 game ever. Within a month more than 2 million units were shifted, and total sales to date are more than double that figure.
Capps said that the secret to Gears' success also lies in the timing of Microsoft's next-gen console launch, telling the audience, "We absolutely attribute Gears of War's success to coming out at exactly the right time for the console, when Microsoft really needed a big Xbox 360 game to sell the platform.
"We've been very lucky with that, but it's so important to any sort of financial success."
Fellow panellist and Factor Five president Julian Eggebrecht said he agreed that marketing should be a serious consideration for developers when signing up with publishers.
"If you have any sort of chance in your contract negotiations to get a set number or at least a minumum marketing commitment in there, absolutely go for it," he offered.
"Even though you and your publisher are convinced at the point of signing that your game will be fantastic and the most important thing in their strategy, it could slip six months. And then somebody applies with another game, and that game becomes the most important thing in their strategy."