On February 10, during the NBA’s Warriors versus Spurs game halftime, PlayStation and BBH NY took over the court at Oracle Arena in Oakland for a first-ever narrative projection mapping experience. It transformed the court of into a snowy landscape for an epic ‘War on the Floor.’
The event is all part of the promotions for the PS4 'God of War' campaign. The animated projection took over not only the floor, which served as the main action screen, but also the scoreboard and the digital scrolling board around the sides of the arena. The experience was seen by those at the game and thousands more through Facebook Live, as well as fans through ABC’s national broadcast.
Through projection mapping and pairing surrounding screens, Oracle Arena was visually converted into a snowy Nordic landscape, where fans watched as the game’s father and son duo, Kratos and Atreus, battled their way through harsh elements, monstrous enemies, and brutal landscape. The elaborate teaser gave fans a taste of the action that awaits them through God of War.
"Based on the high level of anticipation around this epic gaming adventure, we designed a completely unique, first-of-its kind experience," said Gerard Caputo, chief creative officer of BBH NY. "Harnessing the power of projection mapping technology, PlayStation and BBH were able to bring the epic saga of Kratos and Atreus to life, right on the floor at Oracle Arena."
He added that the event used motion capture computer graphics spot that was intended to drive interest, disrupt and get attention, “different from what the other (campaign) assets are doing. We look for an opportunity to bring something in that will be additive rather than repetitive. We could only really show so much at this point. The relationship to the father and son. The game play dynamic of how they fight together. New worlds that they’re in. We want to make sure there are surprises for those that purchase the game.”
While the challenges were many for the team, they knew that the crossover with NBA audience and gamers was high, and that this immersive story would please not only the base audience but hopefully grab new gamers as well.
BBH began the process by scouting with vendors and seeing how they could tell a story on a court. “How do we show all requirements that are expected but make it work in the space, with 4K quality detail. Everyone that partnered with us was curious to see how it would work. It grew out of ‘what else could we do?’ We want it to be one of the most successful game launches ever, so we asked ‘How is it shareable?’ and built a media package around that,” said Caputo. “We basically made a motion capture, CG film and are playing it through multiple screens.”
While the basketball court floor concept would be difficult to recreate at other arenas, the team isn’t ruling it out if there is a demand. But ultimately, Caputo wants people will be drawn to the interesting stories that the game developers make. “This game is very much storytelling.”
Said Asad Qizilbash, vice president, marketing exclusive games and world wide studios IP expansion: "At PlayStation, we are always looking for our games to grow and transcend into different mediums and attract new fans. With our God of War 'War on the Floor' activation, we had the opportunity to work with the Golden State Warriors and offer our fans an immersive experience to bring the story of Kratos and his son to life in advance of the game’s April 20 release.”