Landfall Games is probably my favorite game development study right now, out of all the Indie and Triple-A companies. They are the developers behind Clustertruck and Totally Accurate Battle Simulator, two very hot titles. From making fun simple wacky games to doing spectacular marketing, they are the studio to beat.
This article is going to be a case study about many different things that they did and are doing, like marketing strategies and gameplay features, that have made them so successful. So, here we go!
Clustertruck Devs “Hack” Twitch Livestreams
Clustertruck is a great game for Twitch, for its speed runs and its close calls. The game was already getting a lot of hype before launch, so naturally many big streamers from the likes of Markiplier to Sodapoppin played the game on stream, with thousands watching. Landfall added a very neat gameplay mechanic that takes advantage of the streamed gameplay and the massive amount of viewers. Twitch integration. The devs are able to “hack” a streamer’s game, having the ability to interact with them. “What’s your favorite color?” The devs can actually change the colors of the trucks to your liking. They can also do less pleasant things, like manipulate time and have snipers kill the player. But my favorite feature of them all is the integration with the Twitch chat. Every so often, three choices pop up on screen that changes the gameplay, like thin, laser, or even explosive trucks. Simply by typing #1, #2, or #3 in chat, the viewers can vote on the gameplay change in real time. This connects the viewers to the stream, and subsequently the game because it’s so different and so cool. There is a video with over 500,000 views of Sodapoppin being hacked by the Clustertruck devs on stream. 500,000 more potential customers. It’s a great interactive experience, that in turn makes for a great marketing strategy.
Played off of the Clustertruck Hype for Totally Accurate Battle Simulator
Clustertruck generated a ton of hype, bringing many people to the developer’s social media and Youtube for updates on release dates and new features. Now it’s no secret that one game won’t pay the bills forever, so at some point, you need to make a new one. Most game devs will think about making their next game after they release their current one. Landfall Games are like, nope! They released their trailer for Totally Accurate Battle Simulator two months before they released Clustertruck. So why did they do that? Why not wait and release Clustertruck sooner and make more money? Two main reasons. First is that it really isn’t that much time. Landfall created the prototype for TABS in 1 week for the Castle Game Jam 2016 and maybe took another week or two to make the trailer and polish it up a bit. They were willing to spend this time, even just a few weeks, because of the second reason. Clustertruck at this point was nearly at the pinnacle of its hype, just a few months before release. All eyes were on Landfall Games. They used this opportunity to get people’s eyes on their new game, Totally Accurate Battle Simulator, and it worked very well. The TABS trailer has over 1,000,000 views and climbing. It was very smart of them to use there current hype to fuel the hype for their next game.
Playing To Culture
The 2016 US Election was one of the biggest events in recent history. Social media was always buzzing, and people were always talking about it. Landfall again took advantage of this opportunity of attention. On November 8th, 2016, Election Day, they released a “Totally Accurate Election Simulator” update, with Trump and his troops facing off against Clinton and her troops, in a totally accurate battle. The video generated over 150,000 views and has sparked more by popular Youtubers. This is one of the best ways I have seen to use social media and modern day culture to one’s advantage. It makes the developers feel human and relatable, rather than a money hungry company.
Without updates, games get pretty boring after a while, even to the biggest fans. Developers update their games to keep the players interested, and more people buying them. From Christmas to Halloween updates, to new units and abilities, Clustertruck and TABS are constantly feeling fresh. With so many quality and frequent updates, this keeps the hype going, and people interested. You are much more likely to buy a game getting frequent updates than one that isn’t. These updates keep players familiar with the name “Landfall Games”, increasing the number of people who will buy their future games.
In under a year, Landfall Games has seemed to jump from a small studio to a big business. There recent decisions in marketing and development have set them apart from other developers, and it has paid off.
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