Video Games

How High on Life Unexpectedly Stole Gamescom

Update: In a previous version of this article, High on Life figures were listed as 33.5 million video views and 77.6 million impressions. This includes views and impressions of content posted prior to Gamescom. This has now been adjusted so that the numbers listed are only for content posted during Gamescom.

A week after Gamescom kicked off Opening Night Live on August 23, the show’s unexpected hit on social media was Rick and Morty creator Justin Roiland’s Squanch Games’ High on Life. It is clear. He’s set to release on December 13th for PC and his Xbox, and is wrapped up in the same kind of dark-comedy weirdness seen in Roiland’s previous films, including his Trover Saves the Universe and Accounting. It was a first-person shooter for his game. Squanch Games creative his director Mikey Spano describes it as “a blade runner if Jim Henson did it” and compares the bounty hunter’s gameplay to Metroid in his prime. Tonally, it’s an acquired taste, and honestly, it wasn’t on the Gamescom bingo card for the game we thought we were talking about.

On the IGN channel alone, High on Life content has generated over 24 million video views and a staggering 56 million impressions.


A week after Gamescom, the IGN channel alone saw more than 24 million video views of content about High on Life and a staggering 56 million impressions. (represents the number of people who saw a post about ). .) By comparison, Dune Awakening (his second most popular title we covered) had just 8.6 million impressions.

High on Life was not a Gamescom exclusive or world premiere. When Microsoft announced it at his Xbox and Bethesda Showcase back in June, it performed reasonably well. In the two months since, the trailer has steadily reached 348,000 views on his YouTube channel. It’s been on our radar for sure, but it’s barely leading when it comes to potential hits this year. no one I would have said “High on Life”.

When Gamescom’s opening night live show last week showed new gameplay footage featuring a very verbose boss fight, it worked instantly, reaching 100,000 views on IGN’s YouTube channel a week later. I was able to break through. It certainly wasn’t the most successful show of the night, and that honor fell to the Pinocchio-themed Soulslike Lies of P, who quickly surpassed one million views on the same channel.

On August 24th, IGN Executive News Editor Joe Skrebels played High on Life at Gamescom and released a 25-minute hands-on preview of the gameplay leading up to the boss fight featured in the trailer. (including above) posted. This further showed how dense the game’s dialogue was with Roylandism. A completely raw video with no narration, just game audio, he has 1.3 million views on his YouTube channel on IGN.

From here, I cut a segment I posted on TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram, starting with an introduction to “Knifey.” This is the loud knife/tether creature that sounds like Rick in Australia when he yells “I need more stings”. That clip now has his 7.6 million views on TikTok and was initially met with an obvious craze for his Rick and Mortyness. There were some well-deserved complaints about it not coming to PlayStation, but the initial reaction was generally positive.

After that, things took a turn for the worse. Roiland’s approach can be divisive even at its best, and people quickly complained that the humor was predictable and vulgar, much like the discourse on Rick and Morty. Some complain that it is starting to get old. The main criticism was that the talking weapon was annoying, with comparisons to the talking guns from the Borderlands series. It’s worth pointing out that since Navi updated The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Link frequently, talking companions have generally become the wrath of some players. A similar character, Paimon appears perhaps too often for some in Genshin Impact.

On August 26th, we snipped another High on Life scene from gameplay footage to show how humor can come in response to comments from avid fans. The scene, which boldly shows the cyclooptic child alien thing shooting at you while your gun Kenny pisses you off, has an additional 4.7 million views on TikTok and 6 million views on Twitter. “Normally you’re not allowed to kill kids in games, but he’s dead. We killed this kid,” whines Kenny. “It has an E for Everyone rating!” His one tweet, which saw him rack up 28 million impressions in the three days that followed. The discussion was not about “jokes”. It all came down to his Twitter game, which he found Roiland’s work to be incredibly polarizing. 9Volt Summary Perfectly expressing the sentiment, “I could have made a game worse than Borderlands,” the tweet quickly garnered 116,000 likes. Kotaku’s Patricia Hernandez He called it “the epitome of wrinkles.” But the more people declared it “unfunny,” the more Roiland fans came out to defend it. Google TrendsMeasure how many people are searching for a specific keyword or topic.

The next day, August 27th, Spano and Executive Producer Matty Studivan spoke with Max Scoville on Gamescom’s live show to confirm that the game isn’t actually as chatty as this early look led us to believe. “You may feel like you’re being blown up all the time,” Studivan explained. “At this level there is a lot to be said, as there is a lot to be taught, but as the levels open it is important for Justin and Mikey to find quiet moments where they are exploring. …where you can understand how ridiculous the game can be.”

Interestingly, more and more people are looking for information about High on Life, watching videos, and talking about it everywhere they post, but when one of these is released later it’s It is unknown if the desire to play has changed over the years. Gamescom had a big influence on what people add to their IGN Playlist wishlists, but High on Life didn’t make the top five for the week. The game with the most wishlists was (predictably) Lies of P, followed by Dead Island 2, Atlas Fallen, Dune Awakening, and Where Winds Meet.

Top 5 games on playlist wishlist a week after Gamescom didn’t list High on Life

Ultimately, the reason High on Life was able to steal Gamescom had little to do with it being a video game. It’s a testament to the ubiquity of comedy, and perhaps a response to Rick and Morty’s unique brand of humor. Anyone can have an opinion on whether something is funny or not, but in any discussion of a game like Lies of P, we have to understand if it can be played like Bloodborne. High on Life’s challenges, like its predecessors such as Monkey Island, Goat Simulator, The Stanley Parable, and Psychonauts, are accessible enough for those simply looking for a laugh while finding ways to meet the needs of gamers. It is to

John Davison is Publisher and Vice President of IGN.follow him twitter.

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