SteamWorld Build - Pre-Order Campaign Video Ad Suites

SteamWorld Build - Pre-Order Campaign Video Ad Suites

In short

We were delighted to partner with Swedish publisher Thunderful on the latest title in the SteamWorld series - SteamWorld Build. Since 2010, the SteamWorld franchise has become synonymous with versatility, with each game tackling a different genre - RTS, platformer, turn-based strategy, simulation and deck-building. Each shift in genre has had the same result: critical acclaim and the adoration of the franchise’s dedicated and growing community.


Video ad suites

Age Rating

Pegi 18

Video innovation

As the name suggests, SteamWorld Build is in the city-building genre, although there are also tower defence and dungeon-crawling elements. The Thunderful team were keen to drive the game’s pre-release pre-order and wishlist numbers using video content, and this is where we joined the project.

Build features four main gameplay pillars: build, mine, defend and escape. Our first production saw us create a suite of three video ads showcasing these core pillars; these ads formed the campaign's foundation. 

Following this initial success, the Thunderful team asked us to devise two more videos that would showcase the gameplay innovatively. We love these challenges because they test our creativity and really get us thinking. 

Our first video for this portion of the campaign used icons representing each content pillar and a fake mouse pointer to create a web-like interface. The mouse pointer moved between the icons, selecting each in turn while the content displayed gameplay footage for the selected pillar.

For video two, we adopted a split-screen approach. With the screen divided horizontally, we showed content from each gameplay footage in pairs. The result was a highly engaging video that also encouraged viewers to rewatch.

Right around the world

Nailing the video content was half the challenge. The marketing campaign for Build wasn’t confined to English-speaking countries; it was a multi-territory campaign that included France and Germany and required special attention. 

Localising content for multiple regions is essential. A recent survey found that 76 per cent of consumers prefer buying products with information in their own language. And while it might sound straightforward, it’s not simply a case of translating words.

A single territory campaign often involves hundreds of separate assets. When dealing with a multi-territory campaign, those numbers balloon, sometimes into the thousands. 

Handling this vast quantity of individual assets requires numerous skills: attention to detail, quality control and mastering, file management and organisation, and more. What’s more, that all needs to happen to a deadline. Time management is vital.

Testing testing

Along with extensive localisation, we also produced versions of our ads that used different CTAs. These included “pre-order now”, “buy now”, “get it now” and “play now”. Thanks to our work, the Thunderful crew could A/B test each version and settle on the best performing.

A/B or split testing is a necessity for any marketing campaign. It allows marketers to determine which ad version most impacts viewer engagement. That leads to better ROI in your marketing campaign, gives you valuable insights into your customers and allows you to produce more engaging future campaigns.   

The advertising campaign for Build encompassed many platforms, which meant we needed to create versions of our videos with multiple resolutions. We paid particular attention to TikTok, where we needed to be mindful of making the main pillars work within the platform’s UI. On TikTok, short videos are king, so our ads for this platform needed to be as punchy and engaging as possible to capture viewer attention. 

By the end of the project, we had produced more than 500 individual assets - pretty good going!

A festive treat

SteamWorld Build launched on 1 December, and the Thunderful team had a special plan to mark the festive period. The Jingle Bolts update was made available a week after the game’s release and replaced many of the in-game assets, transforming the theme from western wilderness to winter wonderland. 

Using brand-new gameplay capture, we updated our existing footage with the fresh festive theme, producing a new suite of video ads to promote the update. In addition, we supplied end slates - both static and animated - for use across a range of international territories.

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