Warner Bros’ new zombie hack ‘n’ slash action game revs its way to retail. Dominic Sacco discovers its core gamer appeal.
Lollipop Chainsaw is a proper gamer’s game.
Hordes of zombies? Check. Gratuitous violence? Uh-huh. A chainsaw-wielding cheerleader who carries around the decapitated head of her boyfriend Nick? Err…
This is definitely not your typical video game. And in a market full of shooters and sequels, it’s refreshing to see a brand new property targeted at core gamers out in time for the summer.
In third-person action title Lollipop Chainsaw, players take control of said cheerleader, 18-year-old Juliet Starling, as she decimates an army of the undead. While uncovering the route of the outbreak, she discovers the horde is just an opening act to a festival of zombie rock lords who plan to kill her.
“Although this is a new IP in the market, there has been a huge amount of enthusiasm and support for Lollipop Chainsaw from press, public and retail,” says Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment UK’s sales and marketing director Spencer Crossley.
“We see this as an opportunity to fill what is a ‘gap’ in the market, because this game is truly unique.
“We’re going all out to capitalise on the great buzz for the title and running a month-long campaign across TV, video-on-demand, online and print.” (See ‘Chain Reaction’).
Lollipop Chainsaw is the latest offering from No More Heroes and Shadows of the Damned studio Grasshopper Manufacture, led by eccentric designer Goichi Suda.
Hollywood writer James Gunn has brought his cult humour to the game’s script, while Tara Strong has been cast as the voice of heroine Juliet. Her voice has previously been used for a variety of game characters including Harley Quinn in Batman: Arkham City. Plus, Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka has produced new original music for Lollipop Chainsaw.
The game has a unique art style too, blending blood and gore with brightly coloured rainbow effects as players string together various attack combos.
Its fresh, fun and Grindhouse-style feel makes Lollipop Chainsaw one of the standout games of the summer.
The UK marketing campaign for Lollipop Chainsaw consists of the following:
A TV ad will showcase Lollipop Chainsaw with spots reaching over 40 per cent of the male 18 to 34 age demographic. These will run around showings of Family Guy, The Walking Dead and Rude Tube. Over 450,000 impressions will be generated during video-on-demand zombie action films.
Online ads will appear on Gametrailers.com, ESD network, Gorilla Nation and Wikia. Print ads will reach 250,000 core gamers, while zombie fans will be targeted via competitions on Twitter and Facebook. Warner is focusing PR activity towards the lads and specialist press.
Point-of-sale materials are available including standees, posters, cubes, wobblers and more. Retailers will have access to ‘added value content’, like exclusive DLC skins and a movie download code that comes with the game. There will also be retail tagging on TV, online and print ads.
Lollipop Chainsaw has a presence at the London MCM Expo this weekend (from May 25th to May 27th). The 60,000 attendees can try out the game, plus Warner’s own San Romero Knights Cheerleader Squad will be at the event.