THQ Nordic at gamescom 2019
Agency: Evolve Creative Solutions
Client: THQ Nordic
Event Name: gamescom 2019
Agency Website: www.evolvecsl.com
The THQ Nordic Booth Brief for Gamescom 2019 was immensely challenging. We were asked to design and build a B2C booth capable of launching six completely different game titles, across all physical and digital platforms and at a more immersive level than any of their competitors at the show. For THQ Nordic promoting the titles to the physical Gamescom audience is mega-important, but it’s just one of many promotional channels that our booth design had to perform across.
Our client put it simply: ‘Give our titles the biggest impact in the hall and give us an even bigger impact online!’
And the brief didn’t stop there:
THQ Nordic have built a reputation for creating insanely detailed realistic gameplay worlds; creating some of the most recognisable and loved titles and characters in the gaming world. Our brief was to match this same obsessive level of detail to create a set of unique experiences that blurred the lines between the real and virtual gaming world. THQ wanted the gamers to ‘believe they were truly there’ and that meant for every one of the six titles launched!
Finally the booth space itself presented one of the biggest headaches to the design team. The THQ Nordic booth footprint was just 500m2 making the effective launch of so many game titles a real challenge but this was nothing compared to the difficult corner location that THQ had been given:
Detailed Brief Objectives:
1. Promote 6 individual game titles at the show
2. Make the booth a direct extension of the game title environments
3. Actively broadcast and promote the games across all online and social media channels (YouTube, Instagram, Twitch etc)
4. Provide live gaming stations for more than 200 people
5. Incorporate a stage for mass game crowd promotion
6. Look to entertain queuing visitors and reduce boredom levels
7. Ensure maximum booth visibility from a difficult corner position
8. Exceed the 2018 booth visitor numbers
9. Reinforce the THQ Nordic position as a major force at Gamescom
We wanted the booth to be the most insanely experiential display at the show, so we set ourselves the target of achieving ‘hyper-reality’ for every gaming title no matter how many gaming stations were required!
We decided the booth should have more in common with a theme park than a traditional booth, so we zoned the space developing a host of differing promotional concepts and amazing title gameplay zones; making it perform across all physical, digital and promotional platforms. Our target was exceptional commercial viability and we knew that this amazing game playground was the key to driving more people to the booth and keeping them there for longer!
To achieve our aim we needed to create a sense of wonderment where gamers could totally loose themselves in the world of THQ and our zoning model was the key to success:
High Impact Promotion – The Stage Zone
To drive footfall to the booth and combat it’s difficult corner location, our vision was to build an amazing stage zone right at the front of the booth. Our idea was to build the space around a massive THQ Nordic logo with LED screens and a stage at the centre of the space. This zone was to allow for constant interaction with the live on-site gaming audience while pulling huge numbers of visitors to the booth!
The Game Zones – Insane Environments to tell a unique story
From an alien infested 1950’s diner, to the soaring rooftops of a Chinese Pavilion. We wanted to create the most amazing game play environments at Gamescom. We imagined that every environment should look, feel and smell exactly like the real thing, while directly mirroring the game detail that THQ are so famous for.
Gaming Zones – Targeted for Production:
Destroy all Humans – 1950’s American Diner
Monkey King Hero is Back – 16C Chinese Temple
Biomutant – Post apocalyptic bunker
Desperados – American Saloon Bar
Spongebob, Battle for Bikini Bottom – Comedy Beach
Darksiders – Gothic Cathedral / Charred Council Caves
High Impact Promotion – The Stage Zone
The concept was executed with a high impact crowd interaction zone at the front of the booth, specifically designed to create a huge buzz throughout the day. Focused around an 18m2 stage, with two huge 28m2 screens. The space was then supported by an Alien spaceship Photopoint and Darksider’s caves inhabited by amazing Cosplayer Actors.
The Game Zones
The complexity and unique nature of each independent Game zone was a huge challenge for the build teams. Our design demanded that each zone was built around a unique architectural theme directly related to the game. All of the game stations were themed for the space and each environment had a unique set of historical props and lighting features.
Live Studio and Booth Infrastructure
The live studio, tech room and all staff facilities were positioned at the centre of the booth, allowing great communication between the differing team members, as well as fast access to all areas of the booth.
This central location was also chosen as the technical and AV control centre.
Finally we positioned the fully glazed 16m2 live streaming studio directly above the tech room on the deck giving great views across the booth but also very short networking runs minimising network complexity while providing a superb base for the studio interview teams.
The THQ Nordic booth was highly complex and built over a 9 day period. Managed by the dedicated Evolve on-site team, we brought together an immense mix of craftspeople from the world of booth build, film sets, video game development, game broadcasting and theatrical lighting.
The on-site Team:
2 x Evolve Site Managers
2 x Evolve Designers
1 x Set Designer
30 x Carpenters
2 x Floor fitters
4 x Printers & graphic installers
2 x Electricians
6 x Specialist Model makers
4 x Network Specialists installers
6 x AV Installers
2 x Lighting / AV Designers
1 x Game Developer
Without doubt the THQ Nordic Booth is the most game driven, most immersive booth currently built at Gamescom. It won the Elite Gamer Award for Best Booth and helped THQ Nordic win numerous gameplay awards like Best Strategy Game at the show!
Together with the B2B Booth it has raised the bar for the level of gaming immersion and storytelling expected at Gamescom. In-line with the wider retail world, game companies are now realising that their audience expects more than big graphics and cheap giveaways…In order to compete they now have to provide a totally multi-sensory experience and our THQ Nordic Booth leads the way in this new design direction.
Our design has not only transformed the gamezone experience, it has made designers re-think the humble queue. Our booth has shown how queuing can be seen as an opportunity to ‘up-sell’ the gaming titles to the audience, allowing real excitement to build, but also encouraging them to interact with the booth facilities on a whole new level!
Finally we have set a new standard in build quality and attention to game detail. Working directly with the developer’s models will soon become the norm, as will the need to present hyper-realistic environments and characters that feel like they have jumped straight out of the game!