Dumb Moments In Gaming Promotional History
July 17, 2009
With more and more games coming out these days, publishers have to work harder than ever to catch the attention of the teeming masses. Regular television commercials or big posters slapped on the side of buses or buildings just won't cut it anymore. However, sometimes in an attempt to go above and beyond, marketing folks drop the ball and cause embarrassment at best and criminal felonies at worst. Let's all enjoy a hearty snark at GameSpy's list of the worst of gaming PR disasters. Marvel at endless countdown timers, illegal weapons sent via mail, animal sacrifice, and even a little biological terrorism.
God of War embodies many male fantasies -- destroying your enemies, having an epic destiny, being able to run around shirtless without jiggling -- but "rummaging around inside decapitated animals" really shouldn't be one of them. And if it is, Sony double-really shouldn't be making games for you. At a God of War II promotional event Sony unveiled a decapitated goat and invited press to pull out its guts. When keen investigative journalists inquired "WTF?" they explained, "Don't worry, the guts are only offal." So they beheaded the goat, hollowed out its carcass and shoved the mashed up remains of other animals in there instead. Which is apparently "better" if you're working for Sony, or Hannibal Lecter appearing on Iron Chef's Halloween special.
The instance of biological terrorism on the GameSpy list refers to the Resident Evil 5 promotion in which zombie limbs were scattered around London as part of a contest. I commented on this stunt back in March, so while I knew that the zombie limbs were fake, I missed that the PR team also littered the city with real chicken livers as part of the promotion. As the GameSpy article says:
[T]he chicken livers used in the gore were very real, so when the limbs went missing (Capcom is apparently unfamiliar with what happens to unattended items in urban centers) it had to make an announcement that, "We may have hidden mobile disease-farms around the city. No, we don't have any demands, we just screwed up. Try not to die KTHXBAI!"
There's a certain twisted carelessness on display in that promotion. If it weren't such a disastrous idea, it would be hilarious. It's all fun and frolics until the zombie uprising and/or outbreak of the "chicken liver flu" epidemic. Oh, what the heck, I'll laugh anyway.