Dark Souls 2 Marketing Treated like a AAA Title

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

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Dark Souls 2 | oprainfall

There is no shortage of risks that you must take when publishing a video game- the untold numbers of hurdles and pits that litter the race track towards a successful game launch have taken many casualties in the video game industry’s short history. Unfortunately, Namco Bandai may just be heading straight into a pit trap that has been tripping many major publishers recently when they announced that Dark Souls 2, the third game in the sleeper hit Souls series, will be getting a marketing campaign that will rival the likes of other massive, AAA titles.

Sometimes going  small is not always an inferior plan, and the success of the first Dark Souls should attest to that. Since its release in October 2011, Dark Souls sold well over 2.3 million copies; an amazing feat when you consider it did not have the million-dollar marketing campaign showcasing  it to the masses. However, the series’ publisher, Namco Bandai, has expressed that they have other plans for the Souls franchise now. Public relations director, Lee Kirton, said in a recent interview at a London preview event that Namco Bandai was going to go “gun blazing” for Dark Souls 2, and will treat the game like a AAA title from a marketing perceptive not seen in the previous two Souls titles.

Dark Souls 2 | oprainfall

Kirton explains this change in tactics is not only a way to attract long-standing Souls fans, but fans from other series, as well, like those of the massively successful Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim title, which was developed by Bethesda Softworks, and released on November 11, 2011.

Expensive marketing  is a double-edged sword, since it does have the ability to help push a relatively unknown title to sell another million or two. But these days, we are seeing a very dangerous trend as the video game industry continues on its downturn; titles that we expect to be successful after selling millions on its release crash and burn when the shocking revelation that its bloated marketing budget completely hampered its ability to make a profit.

So what do you think? Is Namco Bandai taking the right path in marketing Dark Souls 2 this way? Is placing a larger budget to showcase Dark Souls 2 to a bigger market an ideal strategy? Can Namco Bandai balance its budget to allow Dark Souls 2 to be another financial success?  Or should Namco Bandai continue to have a more hands-off approach, and allow the title to sell on its own merit?

To those interested in the continues development of Dark Souls 2, take a look at the 12 minute gameplay reveal that was released last month and see what the craze is all about.

Dark Souls 2 does not have a release date as of yet, but its developer, From Software, confirmed their title will make an appearance on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.


Dark Souls 2 is available for preorder on Amazon:

About Samuel North

A writer at Operation Rainfall, a lover of videogames, and an insomniac who can't tell what day it is. There really isn't much else interesting to say, except that I've eaten an entire box of ramen noodles in one sitting.

  • Well, I think they should’ve kept it small. There’s no need to turn it into an AAA title, because Dark Souls are hard to get into for newcomers used to, because of their difficulty. They’re going to have to make this a game-design masterpiece in order to get new players coming and keep longtime fans coming. It’s a risky maneuver, but if they manage to pull it off effectively we might just have a new masterpiece on our hands 😉 I really do hope they manage to make this

  • Trying to market a game with niche appeal like it’s a mainstream triple-A game? Hope that works for you Namco Bandai, I really do. I hope, but don’t expect.

  • multibottler0cket

    I’m not really a ‘Souls’ fan, but ugh! I hate the way companies always want to expand their audience, which is almost always at the expense of key gameplay and presentation elements. I also hate the way that ‘AAA’ has become synonomous with big buget and ‘hollywoodesque’ (if I can even say that :P).

    I have always felt that something that appeals to a smaller audience tends to have a stronger level of appeal than something which appeals to a much larger group. Usually anyway. I hope for the sake of Demon’s and Dark Souls fans that this works out in their favour!

    • i have to agree with teh concensus here, the souls series has the popularity it does because of what makes the serie unique, the variety of weapons and spells, th mood and atmosphere, and yes, the much discussed difficulty.that appeal to a sub-segment of the market that supported the previous budget, but adding the expectations that made tomb raider a “failure” at 3+million sold might be overestimating what the core fanbase can support. my biggest worry is that the souls series suffers the same fate as the tes series. morrowind had a massive amount of variety in weapons and armors, shuriken, shortswords, spears, halberds, striking staves, daikatana , . come oblivion and axe/sword/maces and bows, and 2 classes of armor, lets not have that happen to souls.

  • John Ellis

    I haven’t played any of the games before, but I am going to try this one. Not because of mass marketing but because of word on the internet. If you get a wider audience, the new players may not like how the Souls series is, will you change the game for them and alienate your core audience?

    multibottler0cket summed it up quite well.

  • Well, the previous two games of the series have sold like hotcakes, so why not go for broke with the 3rd one. However, make sure the budget for the advertising doesn’t gg et too high, expecting astronomical sales projections in return. We would not want a repeat of Square-Enix’s Tomb Raider 2013 marketing campaign.

  • Isn’t the critical acclaim of the previous games advertising enough?