Rokkan brings back horror with brand and integrated marketing duties for Bethesda's, The Evil Within, created by the father of survival horror and creator of Resident Evil. #bringbackhorror
best-selling game in the US in October 2014
copies sold, one week after launch
game rating on Metacritic
Bethesda had a truly unique situation on their hands in releasing The Evil Within. Developed by Shinji Mikami—creator of the seminal Resident Evil series—and Tango Gameworks, the new title would mark the resurgence of the survival horror genre, and the long-awaited return Mikami’s highly crafted, gruesome terror.
The last decade has seen survival horror games focusing more on action than true horror—trading gut-wrenching suspense and ambience for all-out, run-and-gun play. And gamers were feeling that absence.
Bethesda looked to Rokkan to ensure that this new I.P. would restore an entire genre to its origins, a throwback to the heyday of big-budget horror.
The Evil Within embodies pure survival horror: immersive, cinematic environments, profound fear and anxiety, and an intricate story. While investigating the scene of a mass murder at an asylum, Detective Sebastian Castellanos and his partners encounter a mysterious and powerful force that unleashes a deranged world, where hideous creatures wander among the dead victims.
Rokkan led integrated marketing for the game, including branding and identity design, key art creation, and the overarching strategy, framework, and roll-out for the launch campaign.
We began with the most important thing: a name for Mikami’s return to survival horror. “The Evil Within” was penned after several rounds of copywriting and iterations. What could be more terrifying than what lies inside the mind?
That concept was the spark of inspiration that guided the key art. The logo was is once clean and threatening, echoing an “old-school” look. And, as The Evil Within is set at an asylum, our direction combined morbid physiology of the brain with several themes of the game: suffering—both mental and physical—, futility, and, of course, evil.
Once we established the language and look and feel of The Evil Within, we created the Evil Takes Hold campaign, which encompassed the game’s digital presence, trailers, content strategy and overarching campaign framework.
We kicked things off with the digital hub: http://theevilwithin.com, which would house all of the content and social media surrounding our campaign.
Then, we gave the world the first glimpse of The Evil Within: the live-action announcement trailer.
Rokkan brought in venerable director, Kyle Cooper to show us the demented mind of a serial killer and the monstrous manifestations of terror therein. Every creature and drop of blood was shot on film to achieve a classic look that paid homage to both horror films and games.
Rabid fan reactions to the game announcement led Rokkan to create the #bringbackhorror hashtag, which led and fostered the discussion around The Evil Within and Shinji Mikami’s return.
Our content strategy included several video series, including: a stunt where game testers had a terrifying experience playing The Evil Within in a haunted house, behind-the-scenes interviews, and making-of deep-dives with the artists behind the game.
Once it launched in October 2014, The Evil Within set a new record for highest first-month sales for a new I.P. survival horror game: it was it was third best-selling game in the US, and second best-selling game in the UK. In just the first week of sales, The Evil Within moved nearly 1 million copies.
Not only were sales extremely successful, but the game was very well-reviewed, despite its niche genre; IGN gave it an 8.7 out of 10, and it garnered a 76.09 on Metacritic.
2013 / 2014
Creative, UX, Development, Strategy