Macrales Studio, the developers of 2D local co-op physics platformer Epic Loon, came to Ukuza to propose a publishing deal in late 2017. They knew they had an interesting idea with their game, a title that had received financial support from Shibuya Productions, the publishers of the rebirth and continuation of the Dreamcast cult hit Shenmue. But they readily admitted they had some issues in certain areas they’d need us to address: marketing, localization, and guidance porting to consoles (at the time, Epic Loon was a PC-only release).
We knew that we’d have to build an organic and earned following around the game. There was also the necessity to polish and refine the English text in the game, as the developers’ first language was French. Finally, we’d have to set up certification, licensing, and build revisions to bring Epic Loon to Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
Primarily, we knew that we’d have to establish solid stateside attention for Epic Loon, along with international press coverage. Through the course of our relationship with the studio, we created and maintained a robust marketing plan to gain widespread attention for their title. We started with new social channels packed with fresh and engaging visual content. We then did full site and press kit redesigns, updating visual assets and copy, along with an entirely new web experience for the official Epic Loon webpage. These experiences needed to fit the aesthetic of the game which used pixelation, grain, and VHS filters to make references to classic movies and small easter eggs.
The official Epic Loon website was particularly important to us, because we wanted to make sure that not only would users come to learn what made the title unique, but also how the story for the game came to be. Essentially, it became important to us that the story of Epic Loon was told through all copy and design in the website, creating an instance of the title's micro-alien/movie geek universe through the official site. It also became the hub for the game's press kit and all other interactive assets.
With each milestone or major update pertaining to the title, our team sent out press releases to our press list and were lucky enough to be covered by major international gaming news sites, as well as popular US-based games press like Red Bull Gaming. A beta release was carried out to both gain streams and YouTube playthroughs of the title, along with gathering valuable feedback from players on what they thought of the game. We also presented Epic Loon at Pax East 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts at a massive 10x20 foot fully branded booth. The trailers created for Epic Loon also used the game's best gameplay scenes and cinematic moments to both excite future players and to better tell the story of Epic Loon.
During our ongoing marketing campaign, we also dug in to the game’s text files and did a full audit and overhaul of its English dialogue. All dialogue text was cleaned, re-structured and enhanced for maximum comprehension and cohesion. We did the same for all menus and loading screens, paying attention to our client’s established brand voice and tone to make sure any changes we made still fit the aesthetic and brand voice of the game. Ukuza also handled all emailed interviews from press, taking the developers’ original answers to press questions and re-wording them to put thoughts in logical order and enhance comprehension. During these efforts, we were also running targeted ads and performing brand takeovers through sites and companies like Destructoid, Kotaku, N4G, and the official Xbox blog.
When it came time to move to porting, we partnered heavily with the Xbox and Nintendo teams to ensure certification went smoothly. We provided the Macrales Studio team with dev kits and the resources to ensure everything was done correctly for porting to each console. Ukuza began cutting system-specific video trailers and acquired ratings from the relevant rating boards. We worked hand-in-hand with the certification teams to make sure we were addressing crashes, asset swaps, or any surprises that came up. Our social content was also tailored to include mentions of all systems that were supporting Epic Loon.
From the beginning of Ukuza’s relationship with Macrales Studio to the end, our team put all of its passion and dedication into addressing our clients’ needs. We left no stone unturned, uncovered opportunity every step of the way, and delivered the absolute best experience we could for fans and press that found their way to Epic Loon.