Just Cause 2 is an action game in every possible sense.
While other titles aim for the gritty realism of modern combat, Square Enix’s upcoming release instead models itself on the more high-octane antics of Hollywood.
The game puts players back in the jumpsuit of CIA agent Rico Rodriguez as he is sent to the fictional island nation of Panau in pursuit of his former mentor. In addition to tracking down his prey, Rico must infiltrate each of the island’s three gangs and complete a series of missions that will ultimately bring down the country’s ruthless dictator Baby Panay.
Just Cause 2 follows the structure of its 2006 predecessor by letting players loose in a vast open world, where they can use an array of vehicles – as well as Rico’s trademark grappling hook and parachute – to approach their objectives from any angle.
“No other action game has the freedom of Just Cause,” says PR manager Roxana Etemad. “You can explore the 400 tropical square miles of Panau, taking in snow-peaked mountains, arid deserts and beautiful coastlines.
“You can freefall, basejump, surf on vehicles, grapple men to cars, grapple men to men, leap between moving vehicles, hang from helicopters, scale buildings, explode petrol stations, explode vehicles, destroy buildings – anything and everything is possible in Just Cause 2.”
CAUSE AND EFFECT
Chaos is the currency of Just Cause 2. In order to unlock missions, weapons and vehicles, players are encouraged to take out key targets around the game world, such as construction sites and oil pipelines.
Of course, doing so angers the native authorities who will send armed troops to stop Rico – and this is where the game truly comes alive.
Gamers have more options in dispatching these grunts than they would in any other action title.
The gameplay mechanics encourage them to experiment beyond simple third-person shooting, allowing them to use the grappling hook to attach anything – man, vehicle or object – to anything.
The vehicles offer even more opportunities with players able to hijack cars, bikes, boats, helicopters and planes.
They can even leap from one vehicle to another, hang off the sides while gunning down enemies, or parachute away and leave their transport to crash into their target.
It’s a gameplay style that already has gamers pounding on retailers’ doors, eager to create their own brand of mayhem, reminiscent of the greatest ‘as if’ moments from the likes of classic James Bond movies.
“The buzz for Just Cause 2 is building all the time with every new hands-on preview, our pre-order advertising campaign and the imminent demo launch,” explains Etemad.
“We are supporting the hype with a limited pre-order edition of Just Cause 2 that comes with exclusive DLC content including weapons and vehicles.
“This SKU is available market-wide for any consumer that pre-orders the game. With this edition pre-ordering well, we expect strong sales over launch and the Easter weekend giving the title great momentum.”
JUST A LITTLE LONGER
Square Enix has been further feeding the hype with a long-running campaign (see ‘Join the Cause’) that has heavily targeted hardcore gamers with a string of trailers – such as the ‘Anatomy of a Stunt’ series of videos that shows the numerous ways in which players can take out their enemies.
With enthusiasm for this title at an all-time high, the publisher is confident it has a hit on its hands.
“The original Just Cause was a critical and commercial success going straight to the top of the Xbox 360 charts with an amazing hardware attachment rate,” says Etemad.
“With massive improvements over the original, amazing press coverage and an impactful marketing campaign targeting young male gamers and action fans, we have very high hopes for Just Cause 2.
“In fact, we expect Rico to grapple the competition to the back of a car and drive it off a cliff before parachuting away and landing unscathed.”
JOIN THE CAUSE
Square Enix’s extensive marketing campaign for Just Cause 2 started at the end of last year, covering all forms of media.
– A four-month ‘tease and reveal’ print campaign kicked off in December, drip-feeding avid core gamers with new information and screenshots from the game. Additional promotions will continue in the weeks beyond release.
– This is being supported by a two-month online campaign, primarily through IGN. A dedicated ad push announced the release of the demo at the start of the month.
– Additional online advertising, including high impact takeovers, will appear over the launch weekend on Eurogamer, CVG and GamesRadar.
– Square Enix will be running sponsorship across Dave and Bravo for ten days, racking up a total of eight hours coverage per day. This will include sponsorship bumpers and 30-second promotional spots, during prime time TV.
– There will also be 60-second TV spots on Sky Pub. The publisher has secured the premium slots just before kick off in such high profile games as Man United vs Liverpool, Man United vs Chelsea and more.
– Square Enix is targeting the various Video-on-Demand services with dedicated advertising due to appear across the likes of 4OD, Demand 5 and Perform.
– Finally, the game will be supported at retail with prime in-store spaces, window ads, extensive racking and a range of POS.