Hard Reset has two months to make us care
Marketing video games must be a bitch of a job. In most cases you’re targeting the coveted 18-39 male demographic, and video game culture being what it is, the audience is going to absolutely abhor you should you misrepresent or over-hype the game in the slightest. Moreover, there aren’t too many success stories you can use as a reference point – for me, at least, when I think of game PR campaigns, I think of John Romero promising to make everyone his bitch, Dead Space 2 being sold as a game your mom’s going to hate, the fake fundamentalists protesting Dante’s Inferno at E3, and the impossibility of Duke Nukem being worth 13 years of development hell. Even fanboy favorite Valve copped abuse for their Portal 2 Potato Sack ARG which saw the game released on Steam 10 hours early.
Flying Cow Studios hope that Hard Reset will avoid all that. Announced just last week, Hard Reset is due for release in September. That’s a two month marketing campaign. Tom Ohre of Evolve PR, the game’s marketing agency, explains their approach.
“Now, the biggest problem with extended PR campaigns is the fact that between major milestones like the announcement, big trailers and preview opportunities, you’re dealing with a lot of dead time, where gamers are off looking at other stuff while you prepare the next build or movie or whatever,” wrote Ohre, who previously worked for several years promoting Dragon Age, The Witcher and Neverwinter Nights. “By condensing six months to a year of assets, preview opps and whatnot into a much shorter time-frame, the idea is to just not let media or gamers forget about your product.”
Evolve PR’s approach seems to be born out of necessity more than anything. In a market full to the brim with shooters, sequelitis and the yearly end-of-year-AAA-saturation – I’m talking about Batman Arkham Asylum, Battlefield 3, Uncharted 3, Modern Warfare 3, Skyrim, Halo Anniversary, a new Need for Speed, Saints Row 3 and Assassin’s Creed Revelations all being released within less than 30 days of one another in October/November – it’s hard for a new franchise to stand out. So far all we’ve seen of Hard Reset is a 30 second teaser and a few violently colorful screenshots depicting a noir-inspired city-scapes, which isn’t much, but they’ve got two months to make us start caring.