At the beginning of 2019, 2tainment – a German video game publisher – hired me for a long-term public relations assignment. I designed and managed the public relations campaign to promote the indie game Hellmut: The Badass from Hell to the gaming press and influencers.
Here is the case study of the PR campaign of Hellmut releases on consoles.
Synopsis of the PR campaign for Hellmut
Hellmut: The Badass from Hell
Hellmut: The Badass from Hell is a crazy rogue-like with gore pixel-art and a whacky spirit. In Hellmut, you storm the dungeons and kill everyone around (mostly demons or so) using powerful weapons and surreal special abilities. Indeed, you are able to body swap between collected monsters.
I first met Stefan Weyl, CEO of the 2tainment publisher at the Game Connection Paris in October 2018. As an indie game marketing compagny, I proposed a strategy to maintain maximum visibility and dynamism around Hellmut. From this interview, Stefan, Alexander (Marketing Director of 2tainment) and I entered into a long-term Public Relations consultancy contract to implement my strategy.
Hellmut was available on PC for 1 year but without much hype (the PC version was released by publisher Grindstone). Hopefully, the console version came with new features such as pixel gore level, two-player Gauntlet mode, tournament survival mode for parties and the mini-game Invaders from Hell.
2Tainment and Volcani.cc (the independent studio in Slovakia that created the game) encountered several problems on the way to consoles releases. The PR campaign was reshaped accordingly as a result of the change in the calendar, but it was still a success.
PR Campaign Strategy
The public relations strategy implemented included video game media relations and influence-building via content creator engagement at key stages.
Video Game Press Relations Campaign
For the press relations campaign, this resulted in 3 different press releases depending on the game’s release platforms. The video game medias were specifically sorted each time in order to match with the target console audience. The generalist video game media were encouraged to mainly carry out reviews on Nintendo and Microsoft consoles (scheduling prerogative).
Although factual, the tone used in the press releases respected Hellmut’s world and his offbeat humour. The baseline of the game was defined as: “a crazy roguelike game with gore pixel-art and a whacky spirit”
Indeed, the PR strategy put in place targets a momentum on these 2 releases. notably with a synchronization of a part of the influencing campaign dedicated to Mixer for the Xbox release.
Final Schedule of Releases:
- Nintendo Switch: May 3rd
- Xbox One: May 31st
- PS4 Europe: June 6th
You can visit the Press Review on Flipboard
The engagement of the video game content creators was reshaped to deal with the changes in the schedule.
Video Game Influencers Campaign
My philosophy in influence marketing, when dealing with free influencers, is to entertain them and create an emulsion between committed content creators.
For Hellmut’s influencer campaign, my strategy was to activate dedicated content creators for each platform at the time of the different releases. Unfortunately, the Steam keys were not usable as backup because they belonged to the game’s previous publisher.
In order to maintain a visibility for several weeks on Youtube, Twitch and Mixer platforms, I organized inter-influencer events.
Among the organized events, I coordinated a gathering of streamers on Mixer the weekend following the Xbox release. As a result, Hellmut: The Badass from Hell was ranked 7th in the most watched games on the platform. On a Sunday night, in front of titles like SMITE, APEX or CoD.
Another special influencer event was the ‘Longest Stream Challenge’: Surprise goodies such as T-shirts, pins and video games were offered to the toughest of participants. The Challenge was held over a weekend and the top 3 in the ranking played 8, 9 and 11 hours in a row at Hellmut respectively.
In addition to content creators campaign, I coordinated a word-of-mouth campaign on Twitter involving about 100 Nintendo Switch, Xbox gamers. It generated a lot of Review tweets about Hellmut increasing its awarness on the social network.
The graph below represents the activity observed on the Twitch platform on the game Hellmut. The impact of the influence marketing campaign can easily be discerned. Unfortunately the game didn’t settle in the long run.
PR Campaign Results Achieved
2 Tainment’s main request for the PR campaign of “Hellmut: The Badass from Hell” was to maintain its visibility for 4 weeks.
Despite the various problems encountered along the project, the PR campaign generated a constant visibility on Hellmut during 8 weeks.
- 227 articles in more than 15 countries.
- 110 Reviews including more than 70 scores (average: 7.4/10)
- Notables Video Game Medias Involved: Screenrant, Jeuxvideo.com, Playground.ru, eurogamer and 4player.de
- More than 201 videos (>270 hours) of content creators on Youtube, Twitch and Mixer
- Hellmut ranked in 7th position on Mixer (Most watched Game on the platform).
“I think Yohann is THE MAN for you when it comes to PR support in general.
He worked very diligent and passionate with a great repertoire of press contact, social media contact and valuable insights.”
-Alexander Wagner | Marketing Manager at 2Tainment
I am proud and honored by the trust that my Stefan and Alexander showed.
In retrospect, I believe that Hellmut:The Badass from Hell would have been a greater success (Like Nuclear Throne or Hotline Miami). PR campaign of Hellmut pointed out few major actions that would have increase its notoriety on the long run if implemented since its first release on PC:
- Social media communication and community building
- Taking into account feedback to polish the game
- Speedrunner Community Engagement
- Better management of the overall project schedule
- Possibility to deliver Steam Keys
- Better communication asset production