“Comedy is always hard to deliver in a video game, but Leo's Red Carpet Rampage nails it.”
“While the gameplay is addictive, it’s the detail and humour of each challenge that pay dividends for players.”
Leo's Red Carpet Rampage
This is another very silly idea that came up in a pub and quickly took over our lives for a little while. Its a free-to-play arcade-style web game that puts you in the shoes of Leonardo DiCaprio as he sprints down the red carpet on his much-anticipated quest for Oscar glory. It was created by Bjorn-Erik Aschim, Max van der Merwe, and Sam Taylor, and marks The Line’s first venture into the world of games. If you haven't played it you should head over to redcarpetrampage.com and try it out before you continue reading this little case study below.
Making Red Carpet Rampage
Despite an ambitious turnaround of 3 weeks (never again) and a minimal crew, the game instantly took off online in a way we couldn’t have imagined.
Within 3 hours of posting, it popped up on Buzzfeed and Mashable, quickly followed up by The Hollywood Reporter, GQ, and The Tonight show with Jimmy Fallon. The game has racked up more than 3 million plays worldwide and continues to receive a surprising number of daily plays.
Before starting the project in earnest, Bjorn put together a very basic prototype for the game using Construct 2. The game design and coding side of things was then put in the capable hands of Max van der Merwe, leaving Bjorn and Sam to focus on artwork and animation.
“The main problem with the possibility of Leonardo DiCaprio winning an Oscar? It won't involve him taking out Lady Gaga, racing Matt Damon down the red carpet”
“Although most analysts seem to think that this is the year Leo finally catches his illusive Oscar, would it really be so bad if he didn’t and “Red Carpet Rampage” became a runaway franchise hit?”
Red Carpet Rampage Gameplay
"Games rarely delve into of-the-moment political satire, and the tone throughout "Leo's Red Carpet Rampage" is just nutty enough that when the game nods to the #OscarsSoWhite movement, it isn't heavy-handed. In fact, "Leo's Red Carpet Rampage" succeeds at mocking the lack of diversity among the Academy Awards nominees while playing up the ridiculousness of award campaigns in general."
Here is a composite sprite sheet of all of the graphical elements that were used in the actual game including animations and text. Sprite sheets are used to speed up the loading times of the graphical elements within the game. It’s faster to fetch one image and display only a part of that image than it is to fetch many images and display them all. For a web game like this it was important to keep the loading times to a minimum.
Getting peoples attention
From Bjorn’s earliest prototype, button-mashing was always a core feature. It harks back to an earlier era of games such as Track and Field, and introduces a level of noise and frenzied physical movement to the experience. We wanted the game to be loud, and cause a commotion, in a way that couldn’t be ignored in a communal environment like an office.
“The world needs Leonardo DiCaprio to finally win his Oscar. It just does...Until then, The Line has created the perfect game through which to vent all your frustrations."
We knew the characters would be a very important feature of this game so getting the likeness of the main characters was crucial. Bjorn started working on the pixelated versions of Leo right from the beginning. We were toying with the idea of having the game go through different stages of Leo's career and letting you play as all of his characters throughout the years. Eventually our limited resources and short development time forced us to focus our efforts on other aspects of the game and we released a basic functioning version of the game that we could potentially expand upon if we wanted.
After witnessing the success of the game online we decided to make it complicated for ourselves and design not just one, but two updates. One allowed you to play as Leonardo DiCaprio’s character from The Revenant, and the other allowed you to fight a giant golden robot with laser eyes that would finally let you win the Oscar. We released both updates the day before Oscar night. Leo's Red Carpet Rampage "Revenant Mode" and finally "Super Red Carpet Rampage". (If you click the little Revenant-Leo on the main loading screen you can unlock the secret "Frostbite mode")
All in all, Red Carpet Rampage was an incredible experiment. It captured the world by storm an showed what could happen when a couple of people decide to pursue an idea that sprung out of simple banter down the pub and follow it through from a crude prototype to actual fully working game. It shows the potential of current events satire in game making and the possibilities of interactive experiences that have a wide social and global reach. It managed to get people involved and engaged and sympathise with a character in a completely novel and different way that a simple film or video could have done. We're super excited about what happened to Red Carpet Rampage and can't wait to apply what we've learned from this to other productions.
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