Don’t be surprised if you start seeing heavily armed 20-foot-tall machines in unusual places.
Like, for instance, in the classic Atari game Asteroids. Or on YouTube, crushing your neighbor’s annoying chihuahua.
Electronic Arts wants its new first-person shooter game Titanfall to be a cultural event, and has been marketing it heavily since last year’s E3, where an extremely detailed life-size Titan machine patiently stood for photo ops with expo attendees.
With less than a week left until the game launches, Titanfall’s online campaign kicked into full gear today. Its ad agency of record Heat partnered with Atari to make special playable versions of Asteroids, Missile Command and Centipede that start players out normally and then throw a retro-styled Titan into the mix to obliterate the bad guys.
“In these old-school games, if you had a Titan, suddenly you’re more badass,” Heat creative director Warren Cockrel said.
The Asteroids remix will start showing up in banner ads and will be playable at TitanfallArcade.com at around noon PT today, a Heat representative said.
The agency also plans to release a “GIF maker” online and a remixable YouTube clip that will let fans make their own images and videos of things being similarly overpowered by the machines.
The overarching idea: Titans invading normal life, as shown in this 30-second TV spot:
The campaign, formally dubbed “Life Is Better With a Titan,” is basically a more competent version of Portlandia’s “Put a Bird on It” sketch:
Let’s be honest — the Internet doesn’t strictly need a viral campaign to sell a game about giant fighting robots.* But dropping Titans into classic games, GIFs and YouTube, in theory at least, will expose the game to an audience that might not normally consider it.
Titanfall was developed by Respawn Entertainment, a studio founded by former Call of Duty developers. The game goes on sale March 11 for Windows and Xbox One, and March 25 for Xbox 360.
* Yes, gamers, I know Titans are technically mechs rather than robots since they’re controlled by human pilots. Spare me your indignant comments.