Video games have traditionally been accompanied by collectible merchandise like action figures and posters—but in recent years, publishers have been trying new ways to experience a game franchise. While movie adaptions are an obvious route, these activations allow(ed) fans to not only play a game, but eat it, wear it and smell like it, too.
Tastes Like Winning
Those who showed proof of purchase for Final Fantasy XV on either PlayStation 4 or Xbox One received a free bottle of Wiz’s Energizing Elixer at participating Target locations. The orange and cream soda-flavored Jones Soda was also available for separate purchase in-store. For fans in the UK with sophisticated tastes, renowned chef Jamie Oliver created a special menu for his restaurant to commemorate the game from November 22 to the 29.
Over the last several years, Capcom has combined its video game franchises with casual dining in Japan. Famous for its Street Fighter and Resident Evil series, the publisher once had a themed bar, Resident Evil-themed restaurant called the Biohazard Café and Grill STARS. More recently, the company opened up another themed café based on the Monster Hunter series.
Playing In Style
To promote Gears of War 4, Microsoft made a special partnership with clothing brand, Undefeated to create an exclusive line of Gears-themed goods made available in a pop-up store in Los Angeles.
For the serious collector, Bandai Namco is now offering limited edition numbered, premium sukajan jackets that retail for $449. Designed by Carrie Sleutskaya of Project Runway fame, these jackets are highly-detailed with 440,000 stitches in its embroidery. “Our goal on the Bandai Namco Official Store is to develop merchandise for our most passionate fans,” Villegas told [a]listdaily, “so the creation of this kind of high fashion piece was also an opportunity for us to expand the messaging around our Tekken 7 campaign to acknowledge that Tekken is a lifestyle brand.”
Stomping The Competition
Nike joined forces with EA to promote FIFA 17 with a new cleat that celebrates the franchise’s history. “This collaboration came together rather organically,” Nathan Van Hook, senior design director for Nike Football told The Mirror. “Our design team spends a lot of our free time playing football—both on the pitch and via video game—we’re pretty obsessed with both. We wanted to create something memorable that brings together the physical and virtual worlds.”
Last year, Vans powered up with Nintendo to offer officially-branded shoes featuring retro game controllers and icons like Mario, Link and Donkey Kong.
Eau De Undead
If you’ve ever secretly wanted to sniff a zombie, Capcom has you covered. Burning for between eight and 20 hours, the Resident Evil 7: Blood, Sweat And Fears candle will fill a room with the scents of terror to accompany your nightmare-inducing adventures. The candle may also evoke visions of “old timber and leather,” according to Merchoid, which sells the officially licensed product.
Last year, Capcom introduced a limited edition T-Virus Perfume with the Umbrella Corporation logo featured on the front. The perfume went on sale at the Capcom Café in Japan along with a Resident Evil-themed, “first aid” deodorant spray.
. . . But That’s Not All
Nintendo’s flagship store in New York, NY has been re-branded “Nintendo New York,” hinting at future retail locations in the future. Together with its partnership with Universal Studios, the company is in a strong position to develop and launch any number of merchandise possibilities across the world.
Activision Blizzard has just created a brand-new consumer products division, to be led by CEO and president, Tim Kilpin. Based on Kilpin’s previous experience overseeing major product lines for Mattel and Disney, the publisher has big plans for tie-in products that will no doubt include Overwatch.
Meanwhile, Rocket League has teamed up with Zag Toys to bring its Battle-Cars to life. The new line of mini pull-back racers will have additional tie-ins to the game, with special codes that consumers can redeem in-game.