Hardcore focus pays off for Visceral
Dante's Inferno will "take out the incumbent"; EA's mature team eyes PSN, XBLA and motion control next
A focus on an increasingly niche hardcore audience is paying off for EA's Visceral Studio, as the company prepares to release latest title Dante's Inferno, backed by a multi-million dollar marketing push.
With Super Bowl ads supporting what studio boss Nick Earl describes as "the best run project I've ever seen," the team believes Dante's Inferno will be a big seller for Electronic Arts, with pre-orders already "off the charts".
"This is us saying that this is an established category and our opportunity to step into the ring and take out the incumbent," said Earl speaking in an exclusive interview published today.
"It looks like the retail channel is very receptive, the pre-sales have been phenomenally good and then we're going to have a big punch with a Super Bowl ad, which is going to be EA's first-ever Super Bowl ad," detailed Earl. "As someone who makes games it's very exciting and a real pleasure to see the marketing side of the organisation step up and put so much emphasis into launching this product so we can get it out to a new audience."
As it continues to work on the hardcore games machines – a sequel to hit Dead Space is currently under way – Earl confirmed that Visceral is also looking at creating new digital titles for Sony's PlayStation Network and Microsoft's Xbox Live.
"We think there's a great opportunity there to serialise products and bring them to the consumer in a direct way," said Earl. "We're definitely bringing games direct to the consumer via Xbox Live and PSN and over PC."
Project Natal and Sony's Arc also offer opportunities for Visceral, although the team will remain focused on the two core games machines and their loyal users.
"We really like that technology and action adventure games are the ones that will map over nicely to those devices, so we've been taking a look at that and we're still in the final stages of what exactly we're going to do but we definitely find those interesting," offered Earl.
The full interview with Nick Earl, in which he also discusses serving the hardcore gamer, and the process of turning 700 year-old literature into an interactive experience, can be read here.