Making a game is hard. But pitching one? Loads harder. Harder still when you're pitching some kind of new/bold/novel idea for a game, which isn't based on WWII, space marines or street racing. Or, worst of all, when it's not based on another game on the market. It's somewhere Will Wright's been before. David Jaffe, too. And Lorne Lanning, and Ron Gilbert, and Keita Takahashi.
Gamespot have a great roundup of each of those developer's experiences getting original games approved, along with comments from guys like SCEA talent scout Rusty Buchert.
Keita Takahashi, on Katamari:
Katamari Damacy was turned down once, the first time. That's the only game I've ever pitched that was turned down. I think the idea was rejected because it's hard to propose something brand new; as a concept or a game or whatever, that's always going to be difficult. For Katamari especially, it looks so different from everything about a 'normal' title, so I think that was one of the key reasons.
Will Wright, on SimCity:
They kept saying, 'Where's the ending? When do you win or lose?' And they wanted to have an election where you got kicked out of office or not. And I was like, 'No, it's even more fun if you're doing it badly.' And they just parked it. They decided they weren't going to release it.
Ron Gilbert, who IS NOT making an adventure game:
One of the problems I've definitely had pitching stuff is that my name is so firmly associated with adventure games. You would mention the words 'adventure game' in a meeting and the meeting was over at that point. They just had no interest in anything that was adventure gaming at all. So even though a big chunk of the game is adventure game-like, I never said those words. I had to spend the first 15 or 20 minutes explaining that I'm not making an adventure game, and that was the beginning of every single meeting it seemed like.
The Gamespot article is long, but great, so you should check it out at the link below.
Spot on: 'Here's the pitch...' [GameSpot]