The Walking Dead franchise is very much alive and well, although we can’t always say the same for its characters. Fans of the gory comic-book-series-turned-TV-show-phenomenon keep the adventure alive thanks to Scopley’s mobile RPG title, The Walking Dead: Road to Survival, which is updated to reflect developments on the show.
Scopely’s latest and largest update—a five-week arc called World At War–coincides with the show’s brutal Season 7 narrative, as well as the comic series’ story arc of the same name.
The Walking Dead: Road to Survival is already a big hit, garnering over four million downloads in its first week alone and two years later, hosting over 34 million players worldwide. When it came time to release its new game features, Scopely and Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment could have relied on the game’s existing popularity and rode the Season 7 hype train wherever it led. Instead, they decided to get creative.
Partnering with superfans PockySweets from Japan and MatPat (The Film Theorists) from the US, Scopely and Skybound gained the benefit of tens of millions of YouTube fans worldwide in addition to their own.
“With The Walking Dead: Road to Survival proving itself as a consistently top grossing mobile game over the last year and a half, our marketing challenge has been how to find new, innovative ways to bring people into the game,” Jen Donahoe, Scopely’s senior director of marketing for mid-core games told ION. “Not only did we decide to partner with influencers on the content side, but we took it two steps further and incorporated them into our Facebook Messenger bot and even as playable characters in the game coming in June. Incorporating the game and influencers into the various forms of content was key to making it an authentic and engaging experience for everyone.”
PockeySweets shared the gritty new gameplay content online, as well as a special unboxing of the Skybound MegaBox filled with limited edition The Walking Dead merchandise. But that’s not all–both creators have been turned into characters that appear in The Walking Dead: Road to Survival game, along with a Facebook Messenger chatbot. Depending on the user’s region, fans can interact with a virtual MatPat (North America) or PockeySweets (Japan) for a text-based adventure related to the All Out War storyline.
Both chatbot characters hold the secret phrase for fans to win limited edition Skybound merchandise from Megaboxes and comics signed by Robert Kirkman to 5-star in-game characters.
Scopely has taken influence marketing to a new level by not just telling fans about the game update, but involving them in the adventure. Taking advantage of fan cross-over is something the developer does well, going so far as to add characters from Telltale’s The Walking Dead game series in a previous activation.
“A successful branded game needs to innovate in design and features to reach beyond the core and attract new fans,” Jamie Berger, VP of Marketing at Scopely told [a]listdaily in a previous interview. “If you are a fan of the comics and download Road to Survival because it’s a Walking Dead game that’s great. If you then join an in-game faction and recruit a friend of yours who may only be a casual fan of the IP then you are able to create sustainable growth within the existing audience.”