In three weeks, the game Sleeping Dogs will be released in Australia. I’ve had a few chances to get hands on preview time in the last few months, and I can honestly say I’m genuinely excited to play it when it’s finally released.
Prior to actually playing the game though, I had very little interest in it. Originally it was to be the third title in the True Crime series before being cancelled by Activision then acquired and rebranded by Square Enix soon after. The main sell points are the gameplay elements taken from other games – the fighting mechanic of Batman Arkham City, the driving of Need for Speed, the free running of Assassin’s Creed, and of course set in a GTA type open world. Even the plot, characters and themes are inspired by classic Hong Kong action movies.
In other words, nothing about this game is particularly original, and I’d not seen anything that made me all that interested.
Even the box art, while admittedly very cool from a design perspective, didn’t really give any sense of the game itself.
So my question is, with all due respect to Namco Bandai Australia, how would you market this game?
Look at the social networks of the other games it’s inspired by though. Need for Speed (8,700,000 Facebook likes), Batman Arkham City (1,088,000 Facebook likes), Assassin’s Creed (3,330,000 Facebook likes), Grand Theft Auto IV (3,882,000 Facebook likes). I understand some of these represent a game series, but still, 60,000 fans isn’t many in the grand scheme of things.
The announcement trailer is the most popular video on their Youtube page with almost one million views, and yet it shows none of the gameplay at all. More recent efforts seem to have been put into making sure special editions are up to scratch and specific for certain regions, including Australia.
The best move was to have the game playable at gaming conventions such as GDC, PAX East, London Comic Con and E3, allow people to actually play the game themselves, but even then you’re competing against a significant amount of other more established and recognisable titles.
I don’t actually have an answer here, it’s just something I was thinking about when previewing the game. I’d be interested to hear thoughts from others as to how you would go about marketing a game such as this.