Space Ape Games has hit the gas on a novel concept: The U.K. game developer has enlisted more than 20 top YouTube gaming creators to play bad guys in its new mobile game, “Fastlane: Road to Revenge” — banking on the fact that they’ll actively promote the free-to-play title to their millions of viewers.
The version of “Fastlane” with the YouTubers as “bosses” is slated to be released for iOS and Android this spring. In the arcade-style shooter game, players drive through a city to complete missions and eradicate rivals to reclaim their urban turf.
Digital personalities who have teamed with Space Ape for the game (pictured above, left to right, as they will appear in the game) include Sooo Mungry, TheAlvaro845, Slogoman, Kwebbelkop, Jelly, Galadon and TheGameHuntah.
Others in the mix include Chief Pat, Team Epiphany Jake, Coleson Comedy, TheSmithPlays, JoblessGarrett, Eclihpse, Azzyland, iamSanna, Clash On Gan, AndroiMers, Bootramp, Leah Ashe and Epic Voice Guy — and Space Ape expects to announce additional partners.
The 20 YouTube creators have an aggregate audience of around 55 million subscribers. By using them as characters in the game, Space Ape sees “Fastlane” serving as a source for content they’ll be able to serve to their audiences on a regular basis. The company isn’t disclosing its financial terms with YouTube influencers, but the arrangements are not traditional endorsement deals, said Simon Hade, Space Ape COO and co-founder.
“It is impossible to make any deal work if you are just paying someone to endorse your game,” Hade said. “The value comes from having content that solves a problem for the channel: giving them interesting things to talk about with their fans. We will never just pay someone to make a video.”
Players will interact with the popular YouTubers’ alter-ego boss characters, which will each have a custom in-game persona, name and look. Each YouTube creator will pick their collaborators and nemeses; design their own vehicles for the game; and choose which vehicles players will have to chase in their quests as well as which items will drop when those vehicles are destroyed.
The official launch of “Fastlane: Road to Revenge” will kick off with a one-week event featuring quests from each YouTuber. Subsequent weeks will feature one four-day event starring one or two of the digital stars. “If we do it right and the in-game integrations are interesting,” Hade said, “there’s massive re-engagement potential to become a staple of [the YouTube gamers’] weekly playlist.”
Added Hade, “These YouTubers are all very colorful characters in their own right. Each channel is unique, and they have a sort of humor their fans really love.”
Kwebbelkop, a Dutch gamer whose real name is Jordi Maxim van den Bussche, has 6.5 million subscribers to his YouTube channel. “This is such a unique opportunity to interact with my fans; I’ve never encountered something like this before,” said Kwebbelkop in an emailed statement. “This is going to be epic. It will also be super cool to align with some of my YouTuber friends and compete against others as we race through the streets of ‘Fastlane.'”
“Fastlane: Road to Revenge” lets players collect exotic cars and upgrade them with armor, weapons, special abilities and more, and the game will include multiplayer leagues and leaderboards.
|Courtesy of Space Ape Games|
Founded in 2012, London-based Space Ape has released three build-and-battle strategy games: “Transformers: Earth Wars,” under license from Hasbro; “Rival Kingdoms”; and “Samurai Siege.” Collectively the titles have topped 35 million installs to date, yielding more than $92 million in gross revenue, according to the company.
“Fastlane” represents a new category for Space Ape. It’s modeled on classic top-down shooter arcade games from the ’80s like “Spy Hunter” and “1942,” Hade said. The genre is hugely popular in Asia but “isn’t really owned in the West,” he said. “That’s an opportunity from a business perspective.” The game is designed to be playable in short windows of time (45-90 seconds per session), such as “while you’re ordering coffee,” Hade added.
As with its other games, “Fastlane” is free to play, with in-app purchases to accelerate a player’s progress (such as buying a new life). “It is not going to be the kind of game you spend a lot of money in,” said Hade. “The price points are very low.”
Watch a teaser trailer for “Fastlane: Road to Revenge”: