When it launched in 2004, Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines was a ground-breaking cult video game. And it still has a very dedicated fanbase to this day.
So it’s no surprise that, 15 years later, Vampire fans and gamers alike were ready for the much-anticipated sequel, Bloodlines 2.
Instead of taking a more traditional marketing route, Paradox Interactive decided to team with Alice & Smith to create a transmedia campaign and take this historical announcement to the next level.
Deeply rooted in the mythos of the World of Darkness universe, we wanted to craft a three-month-long interactive journey that would captivate our fans until the very last moment at the official announcement party, set to take place at the 2019 Game Developer Conference in San Francisco.
It started as a very simplistic rabbit hole—a cryptic code in a Twitch stream and weird new ads from a tech start-up in Silicon Valley. Every single weekend that followed pushed the envelope in levels of immersion and experience. As the story got richer and deeper, the audience kept growing along, and so did journalistic and industry curiosity.
Very early on, fans resonated with the vampire vibe of a new tech start-up company called Tender: a next-next-gen dating platform that helped you find your perfect soulmate. In exchange for revealing your blood type and filling out a psychological profile, the company would welcome you amongst its beta testers and submit you to a wide range of strange behavioural and emotional tests.
The further players dug in the rabbit hole, the more intense, and dark, the activities became. By the fourth week, more than 350 websites, Discord channels, Reddit threads and press articles were trying to tackle the mystery.
With the app live, we began creating buzz through an influencer campaign and a series of exciting live events in Los Angeles and New York City in which players interacted both in-person and online. One of these events involved an immersive escape room experience for the lucky fans who were able to attend, and every time, fans were rewarded with more and more teaser content about the upcoming announcement.
As the final climax, Tender invited 300 fans and industry personalities to a two-hour-long interactive theater night in San Francisco. Three fans were also selected to be the official voice and boots on the ground for the community, based on their skills, performance and leadership. They were flown, at our expense, for a three-day event to perform specific ARG puzzles and tasks that ultimately changed the outcome of the ending and the full storyline.
More than 200,000 unique viewers followed the interactive stream and interacted with the live audience. Twitch drop campaigns, live voting, onsite emotions analytics and many more features were integrated to create a complete transmedia moment.
Instead of reading about it, the fans had the chance to become part of the campaign. By the end of the final event, more than 40 press articles were written about the ARG, 600,000 attempts were made to solve puzzles and 180,000 conversations were registered with our various NPCs operated by an advanced AI chatbot.