1) Know the publisher.
Publishers have an editorial. They specialize themselves in specific types of games.
If your project doesn't fit their editorial, it is very likely that it's not worth trying.
Also, if a publisher doesn't seem to have an editorial: it's fishy.
If it's your 1st project, all publishers will expect a playable prototype. It's going to be the top request.
They are used to testing broken games with unfinished assets, so don't worry (even though a nice vertical slice is to be preferred).
2bis) Funding prototype.
If it's not your 1st project, some publishers can be open to fund a prototype.
The safest proposal is that they fund it (even if you go with another publisher) but reserve the right to make the first offer to you.
It's a rare opportunity though.
3) Pitch deck.
Your pitch must be SHORT (5 pages max) and NOT text heavy.
Publishers don't have time, if they can't find all relevant infos rapidly, they will skip it.
The next points will be about those relevant infos that every pitch deck should have.
4) Quick onboarding.
What's the game?
A 5 minutes presentation video is great (with subtitles if possible).
Link to the prototype.
Who are you?
Super straightforward presentation.
Target release date (ultra important)
Key selling points (make them to standout of the crowd)
Story + gameplay onboarding
6) Gameplay and scope.
What are the game loops of your game?
What is the full expected content/scope and how many hours of gameplay do you expect?
7) Production budget.
What is the full production budget (excluding marketing)?
How much do you need from the publisher?
(Marketing budget is likely something that will be discussed once your pitch deck got their interest.)
8) Production schedule.
Even if rough, what is your expected (and very realist; no need to lie, they'll spot it) production timeline?
Will you handle ports in-house or not?
And that's pretty much it!
To sum up, keep things VERY straightforward, and well presented. Remember that publishers don't have time and must be hooked on first sight.
Have a prototype, and be prepared to expose both your budget and production schedule.
I hope this will help! »
Par un des dévs de ScourgeBringer