In for the Kill

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Spurred by the fact that most first-person shooter ads look alike nowadays, Deutsch, Los Angeles and ZOIC decided to take a more unique approach when developing their 30-second spot for Sony Playstation 3's Killzone 2. "We wanted to buck that trend of [game ads] with a Slipknot soundtrack and guys jumping over barricades," says Deutsch group creative director Jason Elm. "The idea behind this spot is your typical shooter game commercial will have a lot of explosions, a lot of bullets flying and guys running at full-speed. But this game has so much detail in 1080p we said let's slow it down and give somebody a really long 30-second look at what would realistically be one or two seconds of the game."

Directed by ZOIC's Loni Peristere, the ad features the game's evil main characters the Helghasts fighting the good guys in an apocalyptic landscape. At the end of March, a 4D version of the ad will be released to the Playstation Network that will allow viewers to actually interact and change camera angles as well.

"The 4D is an extension of the commercial spot leveraging the layout and animation from the in-game commercial production," says Deutsch producer Todd Krolczyk. "But while the commercial production used the engine to provide lighting, FX and rendering, the 4D will go one step further and provide an actual game level that any PS3 owner can quickly download and navigate through."

While the Killzone 2 spot has already been exposed on YouTube and gamer blogs, across the pond U.K.-based Agency Republic has created a novel web game as a promotional tie-in. Visitors to the destination can download and install a toolbar that allows users to engage in a spontaneous shoot-em-up battle with the Helghasts while they surf the web. As you check out sites like Google, Flickr, Yahoo or MSN, the toolbar randomly activates to say "You are under attack." You then have 15 seconds to engage the toolbar, start the game and open fire on the evildoers. Participants can also activate "squad play" where they can ping other friends who've installed the toolbar to take part in the same battle.

"The main concept behind it was really to try and do something that would catch gamers' imaginations," says Agency Republic ECD Gavin Gordon-Rogers. "We started off with hardcore gamers by seeding a couple of little blog posts in really specific, quite small hardcore gamers' blogs. It allowed for a bit of time for a groundswell to build up from there. The idea was to obviously get the hardcore involved and playing it first and then obviously hoping they'll start talking about it. There's been a lot of blogging about as soon as it launched."

Agency Republic initially seeded the Killzone 2 toolbar effort on gamer blogs like, and more mainstream sites like IGN. The toolbar version is a much more stripped down affair than the actual Killzone 2 game. "It's actually very simple," says Gordon-Rogers. "Ours is much more old-school. We designed it to be as simple as possible and be a quick bit of fun. The key essence is that you never know when or where you're going to be attacked and thrown in it. The Helghast baddies of the game basically run on screen and start shooting at you. It's basically a point-and-click shooter and pretty much 2D. But we've got various little bonuses like "melon popper", for example, where if you hit them in a certain spot in the middle of the head, you get extra points. So there are little specific game play bonuses.
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