Developer BetaDwarf Entertainment has had a very unconventional history, to say the least. The team began as a group of squatters, living out of an unused university classroom for several months, to work on their dream game: an action role-playing game called Forced. However, they were caught and thrown out, forcing the struggling developers to pool their savings and rent a place to live and work from. Eventually, they took their game to Kickstarter, and the campaign almost didn’t make it, but supporters who told their story caused a sudden upsurge in funding.
Despite a number of trials and setbacks, BetaDwarf was able to release its first game, and now works from an actual office in Copenhagen. It’s also preparing to launch Forced Showdown—a competitive battle-arena game, where players use collectible in-game cards to enhance their characters with special abilities and skills. In some ways, it’s like Diablo meets Hearthstone, with a combative sci-fi game show as the backdrop.
A team with such an unconventional start clearly needs to have equally unique methods of promoting its second game, so it has taken two things gamers love—Twitch streaming and discounts—and combined them to create a week-long pre-launch campaign that inventively follows the game show theme.
BetaDwarf partnered with a number of Twitch streamers and gave them early access to the game. In turn, they’re livestreaming it on their channels for a week. The campaign, which started on March 23 and ends when Forced Showdown releases on Tuesday, discounts the game in accordance to how many cumulative minutes it’s watched. Viewers might get a reward for watching, including additional discounts and early access to the game.
Steffen Kabbelgaard, CEO and game director at BetaDwarf, spoke with [a]listdaily about how the idea for the campaign came together. “We think our game is suited for streaming, and we wanted to kickstart that in some way. The more eyes there are on the game, the more potential sales. Since the community is helping us hype the game, we would like to return the favor by making it cheaper—[it’s a] win-win!”
So far, with hundreds of people watching, Forced Showdown has been viewed for over 93,000 minutes (about 1,550 hours or almost 65 days), earning a 4 percent discount on Steam. The time is tracked live on the official website, and viewership could spike higher over the weekend. Each milestone unlocks special prizes that can be redeemed once Forced Showdown launches. Kabbelgaard isn’t willing to reveal how low the price can possibly go, but said, “it’s very low for a new game,” and that the discount “will last for one week, like a standard launch discount.”
Forced Showdown, which has changed names twice from Forced 2 and Eternal Arenas, completed its Kickstarter campaign with an extra thousand dollars last fall. Additionally, the game has been in closed beta testing on Steam for over a year, which helped to promote the game. “We have a community from our first game, Forced, which has done really well so far,” notes Kabbelgaard. “Even though the games aren’t exactly equal, they still share a lot of similarities.”
There is still plenty of time to watch Forced Showdown and help drive down the price of the game when it launches next week.