THQ learned a valuable marketing lesson with the Metro series, says the global brand manager for Metro: Last Light.
In an interview with SPOnG, Deep Silver's Huw Beynon - who was previously head of global communications at THQ - revealed the difficulties in getting 2010 predecessor Metro 2033 to market. An "organisational upheaval" at THQ in 2009 pushed the game into internal obscurity.
"Metro 2033 was... it was almost like, forgotten in a drawer. It was coming to market, but no-one was really working on it on the marketing side until far too late," Beynon said. "The summer or so before the game even came out, it was almost like a discovery. We realised that we had this game coming out the following March, and we hadn?t announced it or done any marketing for it.
"We looked in the books, and saw that it didn?t have a particularly high expectation [to do well] and therefore it didn?t have much marketing budget allocated to it. We thought it was a travesty - we ended up going all hands on deck in a last-minute scramble, with zero funds to play around with, to try and promote the game."
Of course, against all obstacles, Metro 2033 later became something of a cult success. Beynon said that the game racked up a fanbase of some four million gamers over the years, with a large chunk of PC users becoming acquainted with it after THQ's Humble Indie Bundle promotion.
"I think THQ realised their mistake before even Metro 2033 came out," Beynon added. "It just couldn?t do much about it. But, right from the start with Metro: Last Light we were committed to the product, and that showed itself in many ways. From a greater focus from marketing and sales teams, to added assistance given to the studio. They spent significant money on Metro: Last Light already, with the live action trailer before E3 last year and all the promotion behind that.
"Deep Silver have picked up the reigns on that. As you can see, we?re determined to continue that, so the game is going to see a much higher level of promotion that Metro 2033 ever did. We started from a much better place, people are aware of it, and we have a fanbase behind it. I?m hoping it?s going to be the success that the studio really deserves, and one that THQ couldn?t quite pull off for them at launch the last time around."
Read the full fascinating interview - packed with similar tidbits of information - on SPOnG soon.