Client: Sega/Gearbox Software
Based on the mythic sci-fi franchise, Aliens: Colonial Marines is a video game steeped in incredible nerd lore. It’s development has been arduous; and the game was long thought cancelled because of its several years of silence during production. So to reinvigorate interest in the big-budget release, SEGA tapped iam8bit to conceptualize and produce a series of mailers, sent directly to journalists around the world. Each package arrived within 4 days of the last, creating quite a swell of viral buzz online.
#1 – NEWT’S DOLL HEAD
When Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) discovers the orphaned “Newt” in Aliens, she carries with her what any little girl might — a doll. Well, to be sure — the dirtied, decapitated head of a doll. Severed caressingly by hand, then individualized with scuffs, filth and grim, each head was mailed anonymously to journalists, free of any corporate branding or decorum. (The result was something like Brad Pitt’s discovery of what’s in the box at the end of se7en.)
#2 – SULACO “LIMITED EDITION” PRINT
The second mailing received by journalists was a treat for any film geek worth their salt — a very “limited edition,” oversized fine art print of the U.S.S. Sulaco, as painted by the one and only Syd Mead (famed concept designer of Tron, Blade Runner and countless otherworldly epics). The piece itself was culled from Mead’s personal archives, only seen once before as a brief glimmer on the 1987 Academy Awards broadcast, emphasizing it’s rarity even further. (At this point, journalists started to get the hint that this is Aliens related.)
#3 – PULSE RIFLE
For the coup de gras, we concluded the mailer series with a hand-crafted, delicately engineered, working Pulse Rifle. By “working,” we mean that it’s actually an amalgam of finely tuned, modified NERF components and custom-molded parts, fabricated to appear like the weapon from the films and video game — a functional replica, complete with 50 grenades (aka foam darts) and packaged in a military-grade, hardshell case with the U.S.C.M. (United States Colonial Marines) emblem spray painted on its exterior. For all intents and purposes, this particular piece is perhaps one of the most complex in tchotchke history.