Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Hypothetical

Let's say I made a very violent video game a few years ago, and it didn't do very well. The entire premise of the game rested on the "kill thrill," and without the sensational violence, the game itself was bland. Critics felt it was a very average game, and once the game shipped, word-of-mouth was lousy.

Now there's a sequel on the way, and it doesn't have much buzz behind it, even though the game is shipping soon.

You need some buzz.

Here's an idea: make the game so ultra-violent, so incredibly offensive, that ratings boards would pull out the ratings equivalent of the death penalty for the game--either banning it outright or giving it the dreaded "Adults Only" rating so that major retailers are unlikely to even carry it once it's released.

Doing that would get you previews like this:
In fact, no game we have ever played or seen is as over-the-top violent or downright gross as this action-stealth splatter fest. can, Wii remote and nunchuk in hands, use a pair of pliers to clamp onto an enemy's testicles and literally tear them from his body in a bloody display; and if that weren't enough, you'll take one of the poor victim's vertebrae along with his manhood. Or, if you'd prefer, you can use a saw blade and cut upward into a foe's groin and buttocks, motioning forward and backward with the Wii remote as you go.

Once the game is banned or rated as adults only, you can go on the PR offensive. Why, you're OUTRAGED that this game has been rated for adults only. It's censorship!

This should get you more publicity than you could ever afford to buy.

Then you'll quietly rework the game, doing whatever needs to be done to ensure that places like Wal-Mart will carry the game (and countries like England will allow it to be sold). The publicity you received initially guarantees that the consumer will believe that your game is the bloodiest, most violent game imaginable, constantly skirting the line of being banned.

PR genius. In a very disgusting way.

So if Manhunt 2 gets re-submitted by Take-Two and gets re-rated, don't be surprised. At all.

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