Thursday, 3 October 2019

We need to talk about Wendys' roleplaying game


I saw a teaser for something that fast food joint Wendy's was doing with roleplaying and today it seems the FAST FOOD COMPANY has dropped a nigh on 100 page fully illustrated roleplaying game for some reason.

Feast of Legends, a title that makes little sense, is a downloadable PDF that includes rules and a campaign that, if we're serious, nobody will play because it's garbage advertising.

It's pretty much D&D, but some of the stats are different and you roll 4d4 to generate stats because of something about $4, which I assume means something to people who eat there. Instead of classes you have Orders, where you get shit like this:

Adventurers who choose the Order of the Chicken Nuggets are often small and quick, but they pack an unexpected punch.Th ey bring great fl avor to the party and are a wonderful addi-tion to any combo of adventurers in Freshtovia.

Often overlooked at fi rst but always remembered after, those of the Order of the Chicken Nuggets are truly undeniable with their record-breaking reputation.

Aaaand this:

Tight, compact and packs a punch.The Order of the Jr.Bacon Cheeseburger is for the efficient warrior; no movement or moment is wasted.These characters appreciate the great flavor of many things coming together in one tight space.

What the actual fuck does that even mean? This isn't enjoyable - it's insanely on the nose advertising that's positively masturbatory about its own brand.

Hey, don't get me wrong - WORK went into this. There are lots of orders and the rules seem to work. Hell, I even quite like the Feast Mode mechanic that gives you advantage on a turn after a crit. But then there are mechanics like this:

As you’ve probably discerned, food is a major aspect of Feast of Legends. As such, what you’re eating in the real world will create direct buffs that affect your character in the game. Each of these buffs will go into effect for the entire 
duration of play for the day. So you might want to swing by your local Wendy’s or hit up delivery real quick.

Nope. No thanks. A mechanic designed to optimise conversion rate?

I've not run through the full adventure, it's a tonne of read aloud and full of stuff like this:

You come upon a huge stone door with three large dials on its face. The dials have the numbers 1-2-3-4 on them and face north, east, south, and west.Each dial currently has the “1” at the top.Upon further inspection, there is an inscription on the door below the dials that reads: “Thrice repeat-ing, nice for eating, a meal? A deal? A steal for certain"

Ohh, because it's that $4 thing again. That's what people want when they're playing games with their friends - to be advertised to at an astonishing rate. Every other sentence is an ad.

I'm not completely against a brand creating a roleplaying game, but understand that what people like about games is NOT your brand - it's good ideas.

Look, I admit that I'm putting on the rage a bit. I work in PR, I understand what this is. But at the same time, it's a roleplaying game that people are meant to play and I talk about roleplaying games. This is dire.

Wouldn't mind a chicken sandwich right now.

8 comments:

  1. I'll admit, I chuckled at the "Order" gag.

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  2. I don't think people are necessarily meant to play it. I hadn't even heard of this until now, and I wouldn't otherwise have been thinking about Wendy's, and now I'm actually kind of curious about this and will probably check it out just to see what the actual fuck, and maybe I'm thinking about a Frosty and Fries because I haven't been to a Wendy's in years, so I think they did what they set out to do (although realistically I will probably not be getting a frosty and fries. But I am thinking about it...)

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    1. Oh yeah, I understand it's fucking great marketing.

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    2. "it's a roleplaying game that people are meant to play"

      "I don't think people are necessarily meant to play it."

      I'm not sure most RPGs *are* meant to be played. I don't doubt the people that make most RPGs want them to be purchased, and even read, but played? Most are overwritten or rewrites of better RPGs with just enough changes to convince the author they've written something new. As for the Wendy's RPG, it's just a fun bit of advertising in an RPG-coated shell. Get a chuckle out of it and move on, I say.

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  3. Say what you will about the three Burger King games from 2006, at least those had a little bit of fun mixed in with the shameless advertising...

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    1. I remember at least one of those being fun for a couple of hours. Still they didn't leave any kind of lasting impression.

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  4. While now it is just a barebone system made cringy by excessively 'witty' corporate branding, in some cyberpunk, where corps had monopolized all RPG mechanics (such as dice rolling, character building algorithms, combat mechanics, etc), it is easy to envision this kind of RPG as the only RPGs which people can legally play. Instead of Storyteller, Dungeon and Dragons, Shadowrun and other things, you have Wendy RPG, McDonalds RPG, Disney RPG. Instead of Planescape and even Forgotten Realms you have Fheshovia. Even in the real world corporations are trying to build 'brand loyalty' from a very young age, and in cyberpunk where everything is even worse they will surely try to monopolize and restrain imagination so the only allowed imagination is some kind of Fheshovia setting or some other licensed corporate game. People building de-branded games will be some counter-corp rebellious punk movement, kind of literary hackers, or even fully dissident movement, if the cyberpunk is grim and totalitarian enough.

    In the real world this is just lighthearted (?) marketing gimmick (?) but it gives a good glimpse on what corps would like RPGs to look like if they could control them.

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  5. On one level, I think it's genius as I would have never thought of it. On the other, I think it's...I don't think I have the words.

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