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Payday 2 and Sharing the Loot

/ Mar 27th, 2015 No Comments

Payday 2‘s popularity has produced a lot of loot for developer Overkill. Part of its lasting ability can be attributed to the tie-ins and crossover events within Payday 2 that link the title to other games and popular movies. Many are failing to take notice, but Payday 2 and Overkill are slowly introducing a new era in creative marketing and advertising to the videogame industry.

Meet John Wick

Players who turned on Payday 2 following the John Wick update were treated to the film’s protagonist as a playable character. Though the in-game John Wick is not voiced by Keanu Reeves, the character bears his likeness and has access to his trademark pistols. On top of this, a new perk deck called Hitman was released, and it reflected Wick’s particular set of skills.

So lifelike I could just kiss him... Uh... I mean...

So lifelike I could just kiss him… Uh… I mean…

John Wick had no problem putting butts in seats and earning that sweet dosh. While a team-up with Payday 2 can in no way be credited for that success, it probably benefitted both parties. Payday 2 drew in John Wick fans, and the film received increased publicity and free advertising that will last long after the movie’s release. Both Overkill and Lionsgate reaped the benefits from this team-up, and so did fans. These types of mash ups should be encouraged in the videogame industry. Lionsgate is targeting Payday 2 fans as people who will likely enjoy the film, and if nothing else, players get a new character for free.

The Hotline in Miami

Recently, Payday 2 received a whole Spring Break worth of updates. Of those updates, the one that sticks out the most involves Hotline Miami 2. With this update, Payday 2 players who also own a copy of Hotline Miami, its sequel or the deluxe edition of the sequel are treated to special in-game bonuses. While these in-game items are mostly cosmetic — they consisted of new masks and a new character — the way these benefits were given to players is what stands out. Instead of paying a cost for content, players were encouraged to purchase an unrelated game.

Are you having problem?

Are you having problem?

Although this method of cross-game promotion could technically cost players more money, it rewards them far more thoroughly. An entire new game plus DLC for another sounds much more appealing than another paid DLC pack. It is doubtful that this sent Payday 2 players in a rush to purchase Hotline Miami, but those interested in both games received a cool thank you for their purchases. Judging by the amount of Jackets — the main character from Hotline Miami 2 who was also introduced as a playable character in Payday 2 — running across the servers, the team-up appears to have worked.

The Future of Promotions

This concept of linking worlds — John Wick, Payday 2 and Hotline Miami all now exist in the same universe — is not a new one, but Overkill is embracing it best. Nintendo has been implementing this concept for a number of years, but have only kept it in the family with the company’s own characters. More recently, Nintendo has explored this type of promotion through the interactive toy-game Amiibo figures that work across multiple games.

This could work too. This is also good.

This could work too. This is also good.

Skylanders and Disney Infinity started the NFC figure trend, and Nintendo figured out how to get maximum value out of the toys. The next step is linking these gaming universes to the real world. It is not hard to envision seeing playable figures like this pop up in McDonald’s Happy Meals or as giveaways at events.

Using toy accessories is obviously not a road all games should go down, and this is probably not a good course of action for Payday 2. But Overkill’s cross promotions should continue full force. Perhaps players will get to see a tie-in with the latest kung-fu blockbuster that leads to heists in Bangkok, or maybe the guys from Army of Two could make a cameo appearance. Regardless, cross promotion on this scale works for all parties, and it could be the next great revenue stream for gaming. Players get more content — and can decide to not use it if they prefer — and other industries are embracing the market as more than just a niche.


Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson

Associate Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Greg is a Nintendo fanboy who would cry if they ever went third party. He writes news, previews and reviews at Gaming Illustrated.
Greg Johnson

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