EA Fills Media With ‘Dead Space’

NEW YORK What do you get for a year’s worth of marketing? For its videogame “Dead Space,” hitting stores this week, Electronic Arts unleashed TV, in-cinema, a Web site, a six-part animated comic book series and other elements to support the futuristic sci-fi horror epic.

In return, the company hopes to see major sales, especially with videogame reviewers calling the title “a masterpiece of gaming” and a “front-runner for the best game of the year.”

“What we did was create an arsenal of diversified assets,” said Andrew Green, online marketing manager at EA, Redwood City, Calif. “[Marketing launched a year out] to allow the community to whet its appetite for the game and invest in it.”

Added Derek Chan, EA’s product manager for “Dead Space,” “To tell the story of this kind of thing takes a long time, a lot of conversation and dialogue, which is what we generated in the gaming community.”

Spend for the effort was not disclosed. EA spent $105 million on U.S. media in 2007 (not including online), per Nielsen Monitor-Plus, and $42 million through July.

TV launched earlier this month, via Heat, San Francisco, with 30-second spots on South Park, Adult Swim and Monday Night Football. Creative is running in-cinema in 2,000 theaters prior to trailers before R-rated movies.

Comic books, both in print and animated online, developer diaries (via Deep Focus, New York) and a Web site, www.Deadspace.ea.com, bulked up the marketing. A new DVD, Dead Space Downfall, is an animated feature film being released Oct. 28.

Some early reviews of the game have found it bloody and violent. Chan acknowledged that the game was a departure from the media company’s usual fare of sports games and casual games for the uncommitted gamer. “That’s one of the big challenges we had here,” Chan said. “Not a lot of people thought we were capable of producing and marketing a property like this.