Late in October 2019, the peaceful and picturesque county of Rutland (fun fact: it’s the only UK county currently without a McDonalds) – became the unlikely location for Jelly to execute an exclusive, invite-only activation where guests were thrown head first into a real-life version of Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts (SGWC).
The event was the centrepiece of a stacked content schedule built around key and well-positioned influencers. All attendees were playing the role of the Seeker, the main protagonist in SGWC.
Our guest list boasted established content creators such as Arekkz, Cyborg Angel, GameRiot, Steejo, Westie and Wizzite who all have a huge combined social reach of 4.5 million. Alongside our invited influencers, we worked with CI Games’ PR teams who fielded gaming press peers to come and experience the game.
Greetings, Seeker. Your Mission Is…
Within SGWC the player receives instructions from the Handler on the next assigned mission. We recreated that experience ensuring the guests received all the information they required whilst making reference to the game’s mechanics.
Each attendee received invitations containing printed items, such as a briefing dossier and surveillance photos of their target (captured using CCTV at the filming location for added realism). Also included was a fake cassette tape featuring songs with nods to the game (i.e. The Seeker by The Who). Clues hidden in the track list spelt out a message encouraging the Seeker to look at the file uploaded onto a secret USB hidden inside; ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ by 80s pop sensation Rick Astley, which when played actually contained a secret Seeker message (this may be the first time anyone has ever rickrolled a rickroll?!).
We hired a professional voice actor and cosplayer to record the message in the same style as the Handler delivers in game:
These packs were sent with no details, making them completely anonymous – in keeping with the theme of SGWC. We wanted the players to enter the mindset of the Seeker, as befitted an important part of the event they were about to undertake.
The Venue and Method
Bearing our goal to recreate the game in mind, we knew that the venue and how we delivered the experience would make or break it. We had plenty of prior experience orchestrating events with guns but we wanted to do something bigger, bolder and way more badass!
The perfect solution presented itself in the form of an old abandoned prison in Oakham, Rutland. Closed after a riot in 2011, the premises has since been converted into an established Airsoft site courtesy of The Gaol Events, making it the perfect spot and somewhere that could have easily featured in-game.
As well as the aesthetics, we had lots of flexibility with the venue – we were even able to knock walls down in order to make the flow of the event seamless and safe. We created our own game map that wouldn’t have been out of place in the game itself.
We hired the local Airsoft experts to play as hostile NPCs, they roamed the game maps in character all day and ensured the safety of our competitors did not diminish their experience. Although some of the Russian accents were…interesting!
In addition to the venue, it was important that we find the guns available in game to use during the event. Sourcing the Airsoft versions of real military weaponry was key to the authenticity of the event, the experience and the hecking awesome photos after.
We carefully curated the event to maximise the content that our guests could capture and use afterwards whilst trying to avoid taking them out of the immersive experience.
In addition to the missions, we further added difficulty levels. Each player was asked whether they would like the following:
- Easy – generous helping of bullets, the hostile NPCs were forgiving of noise and combat.
- Medium – fewer bullets with slightly more alert hostile NPCs.
- Hard – very few bullets with hostile NPCs behaving as they would in real life.
- Expert – hardly any ammo (3 bullets) and the hostile NPCs are expecting you.
Each guest took part in the following missions:
- G-Wing : a solo mission in near-black conditions to navigate hostile NPCs ending in taking out a target using a sniper gun. We even snuck a double agent into the mix to really spice the experience up.
- E-Wing : a mission with a guide through a maze of rooms and corridors, clearing rooms of hostile NPCs and attempting to recover data from a laptop that is alarmed.
- F-Wing : a shooting range with a retired ex-sniper who lost a leg from a sniper giving advice on how to shoot and answering questions on his experiences in combat.
Cameras were set up to try and capture as much content as possible; including hero shots and crucial moments without interrupting the guest’s experience or concentration. This footage was provided shortly afterwards to allow the participants to prepare content after the embargo was lifted.
WE EVEN SOURCED A DRONE.
A designated game capture room was set dressed to look like something straight out of a military base, featuring camo, Airsoft guns, 20 top of the range capture PCs and headsets (Astro A40s for that full 7.1 surround sound) to give players the high quality gaming experience we strive to achieve. Players used it throughout the day as a homebase, meaning when they weren’t shooting at real people they could practice their in-game shot.
We had the latest prerelease build available at the time, meaning the content was the best it could be with three maps to choose from. Invitees were blown away by the sheer amount of contracts on offer, as well as the size of the maps – an impromptu Longest Sniper Shot competition was started. The winner hit a huge 572m shot in the Harbour map.
It’s all well and good having a kickass event, but branding is vital for any marketing activation. We created everything from photo and interview backdrops, displays, signs and even flags. The game’s branding was well represented and designed to be at the forefront of the guest’s mind without being overwhelming.
Using stealth, accuracy and skill, our attendees participated in the SGWC-inspired mission with each pitted against the others in a bid to get the best time around the course.
Each Seeker had to complete the course on their chosen difficulty mode quickly, and safely, executing each element perfectly to be in with a chance of winning the title of Ultimate Seeker. When the event was completed we compared the stats – with the harder difficulties earning more points – and a clear winner emerged. We created an asset to reveal the leaderboard from the 18 participants with their stats and announced what the prize would be.
Cyborg Angel picked the Hard difficulty through the missions, her shot accuracy was so good that it was even better than our resident sniper expert, and she bamboozled our experienced hostiles by navigating in the pitch black of the venue. The Ultimate Seeker indeed!
We sent her prizes – the actual guns that were on display at the event – as well as an award showing off her impressive course results. She enjoyed the event so much that she was planning to do more Airsoft… so we topped things off by adding some high quality Airsoft carry cases to help support her newly-found hobby.
Don’t just take our word for it….
“I had an absolute blast at the Airsoft event, it was one of the coolest events I’ve been too” – Steejo
“One of the most incredible days I’ve ever had in my lifetime” – TommyT999
“This is a new type of game to me but damn it was addictive. I left feeling even more excited for release day which is 22nd November.” – FullSync
“I had to stealth through the facility, taking out guards – it was awesome!” – Arekkz Gaming
“It was one of the best events I’ve taken part in!” – Ice Cream Uploads
The purpose of the event was to create a unique experience and bring SGWC to life. Using our innovative planning, creative design and industry expertise, we delivered arguably the greatest influencer capture event IN THE WORLD (or at the very least Rutland).
Check out our SGWC event gallery for a closer look here:
Think your events could do with an injection of our evil event planning genius and inflated ego? Let us know!!