I’m always wary of viral marketing campaigns. Don’t get me wrong: when used properly, they can produce a serious amount of interest and speculation about an upcoming product. I cite the viral videos of River’s training (from Joss Whedon’s sci-fi opus, Serenity) and the obnoxious I Love Bees website that was tied to Halo 2 as examples of masterfully-handled viral campaigns. However, there are also cases where these media blitzes backfire in fairly spectacular ways: Capcom’s Resident Evil cell phone hoax and Tupperware parties show the darker side of this marketing style.
Well, in keeping with its relatively low-budget production values, Gears of War has had a series of videos released via a hidden link sent out in an official email today. So, once you enter your birthday and watch the first video, it’s up to you to strike a match and find the other hidden videos on the site. They’re definitely intriguing, but they don’t shed a lot of light on the game itself. To quote Ars Technica:
Creepy, sure. Atmospheric, okay. Evocative, stretching it. Is that all there is to it though, new videos? The link is labeled 48HrsExclusiveAccess. Does that mean you’ll only be able to get this content for two days? Will there be a big announcement in two days? A demo? Anything at all? It could very well be this is simply designed to get us all wondering and talking, and nothing of note will happen in 48 hours.
I share Ben’s sentiments. All this does is raise more questions and make me agitated that I have to wait for another month before I get to pick up a copy of the damn game.