Halo 5: Guardians is set to be one of the biggest hits of the holiday season for Microsoft s Xbox One console, and director of marketing communications for Xbox Ryan Cameron chose the [a]list daily Summit to discuss the foundation for the forthcoming audio spin-off of that series, Hunt the Truth, a 12-part audio saga supplying additional character to the sequel.
Following the introduction of a video chronicling fan reaction to two different commercials (featuring hero Master Chief and newcomer Spartan Locke, each in similar positions against their foe), Cameron, interviews by Ayzenberg creative director Noah Eichen, explained that the audio series was put together to fill the gaps between the bullet teaser and the commercials. That eventually became a 14-episode, three and a half hour series that kept fans intrigued.
Staying true to the brand was a challenge, along with the marketing and raising awareness, but the podcast was an ideal way to provide additional content to fans, filling in the blanks with story. Touch points were used, including key art from Halo 2 and a commercial from Halo 3, to fold into the story, creating a connected universe and avid fans know how vital a connected universe can be. The more questions that were generated from it, the more attention generated from fans to get those questions answered.
Cameron indicated the importance of engagement with fans, and not just audio-wise, but also on social networks on Twitter and Facebook. Storytelling plays a part, he explained, with various touch points. He felt that it was a perfect connection, alongside the smaller videos that tied in with Guardians. A long-form format also activates the theater of the mind, allowing people s imaginations to take the story to greater heights. Its popularity created a personal experience that players could latch on to and intrigue others in the process.
One good thing from this involves the open-ended story. The further it went along, the more it would draw in players, seeking answers on a coordinating Tumblr blog, as well as future episodes. Even with turning the franchise on its head , so to speak (like introducing a new hero instead of the usual go-to soldier, Master Chief), fans still connected with the content.
Professional actors play a part in the podcast as well, adding authenticity to the material. Keegan Michael Key (from Key & Peele) played a part in early episodes, as well as Cobie Smulders and voice actors like Phil LaMarr and Troy Baker (a veteran of various game franchises).
Cameron then hinted that season 2 would begin recording later that week, continuing to tie in with the game s legacy leading into its release coming on October 27th for Xbox One.
The floor was then open to discussion, and measurement of the podcast s success was brought up. Remaining social and having strong conversation with friends were both strong points, and social chatter was monitored on a weekly basis, adding to its overall success. (6 million and counting, according to Cameron.)