SMOKE AND SACRIFICEPC and Nintendo Switch
Smoke and Sacrifice, published by Curve Digital and released for PC and Nintendo Switch on 31st May 2018, immediately got everyone at Plan of Attack excited. It’s a game that takes the core foundation of now classic survival gameplay (a favourite amongst the team) and serves it up with an intriguing, timely and compelling narrative centered around Sachi’s experience of motherhood. And this is without even mentioning the game’s gorgeous hand-animated art style (honestly, look at the screens) or the industry chops of its two-man developer team, Tancred Dyke-Wells and Neil Millstone, known collectively as Solar Sail Games. That it all takes place within a vast open-world and features satisfying RPG mechanics was the icing on the cake.
We knew the PR campaign would need to match the ambition of Smoke and Sacrifice itself. We devised a press and streamer communications strategy including major PR beats, from the title’s initial IP announcement in February through to its review campaign in May, June and beyond. These included full scale French, German and UK press tours, GDC media appointments, further announcements focusing on the release date, behind the scenes content and tips on the game, as well as a rigorous review and streamer campaign at launch.
On February 5th, a day before the game’s official announcement, we began pre-briefing press on what they could expect from this brand new IP. In total, 80 premier media across Europe and North America were sent the press release and accompanying assets with the aim of securing a critical mass of media on the day of announcement. On the 6th of February, the IP announcement was distributed to our media contact list and over the following days, 294 news stories were produced, including coverage from Game Informer, Rock Paper Shotgun, 4 Players, Hobby Consolas and Forbes.
We followed the announcement with UK, French and German press tours. These meetings were designed to showcase the game’s depth and beauty, as well as offering press a chance to interview Tanc and Neil. For the UK, Plan of Attack booked appointments with outlets such as PC Gamer, Official PlayStation Magazine, Kotaku UK, Pocket Gamer and Trusted Reviews. Then, working with our French and German PR agency partners, WarningUp PR and Visibility PR respectively, we secured meetings with publications including Jeux Video, Canard PC, Gamekult, PC Games, Computer Bild and 4Players.
Solar Sail Games and Curve even managed to squeeze in a trip to GDC in San Francisco, with all appointments booked by Plan of Attack. This resulted in great features from sites such as Paste, The Sixth Axis, Nintendojo, and Buzzfeed while also laying the foundations to secure a Yogscast stream of the game.
Following the successful preview events, we announced Smoke and Sacrifice’s release on May 4th. The news generated 190 news stories including coverage from Jeux Video, Game Kult, 4 Players, PC Games, Spazio Games, IGN Greece, Playground, Vandal, PC Gamer and Go Nintendo. A week later, we dropped a “behind the scenes” video. Then, a week prior to launch we shared a “7 things you don’t know about Smoke and Sacrifice” video, an opportunity for the press and public alike to go deeper with the game.
Over the course of the campaign, Plan of Attack carefully curated the review list, logging code requests and reaching out to journalists directly. Our review list totalled 570 journalists and writers, with hundreds more streamers. Smoke and Sacrifice scored some brilliant reviews with the likes of GamesRadar, Trusted Reviews, Nintendo World Report, Jeux Video, and many more. To date, the game sits at 71 for Nintendo Switch and 66 for PC, with reviewers praising the game’s story of motherhood and survival, its art style and survival gameplay.
The review campaign was complimented with a big streamer push. We distributed a further 657 keys securing great coverage from streamers such as paulsoaresjr (1.5 million subs) Wanderbots (203K subs), Splattercatgaming (448K subs), Randomise User (34k subs), Legit Gaming GR (107K subs), Yippee Ki Yay Mr Falcon (206K subs), Dr Horse (522K subs), Arkantos (68K subs), The Gamer Maldito (271K subs), The Mako (39K subs). On the day of release, we also organised an exclusive stream with Yogscast’s Lewis and Simon (7.2 million subs), ensuring we hit all of our targeted demographics.