Have you ever been playing your favourite multiplayer shooter and thought, ‘there’s just not enough goats.’ Then 34BigThings may have the game for you. Goat of Duty launched on Steam on July 10th.
And yes, Goat of Duty is pretty much what you’d expect. A mash-up of Goat Simulator and Call of Duty. The developers ran a beta for the game at the start of May and early word is, it’s actually not bad.
It seems the internet is not yet ready to abandon wacky animal simulators and ragdoll physics. And with some decent FPS mechanics to boot, Goat of Duty could prove a surprise hit. In the vein of its’ inspiration, Goat Simulator.
When Goat Simulator first launched in 2014 very few people expected it to blow up as much as it did. Beginning life as a Game Jam prototype, Goat Simulator eventually launched to mostly mediocre to poor reviews.
Essentially the entire game was about controlling a goat and wrecking stuff. There was little in the way of objectives or variety in gameplay. The textures of the world were low resolution and ugly, the map was limiting and there were plentiful bugs.
But the hilarious ragdoll physics and the satirical nature of the game made it a hit with fans. By 2015 alone Goat Simulator had sold over 2.5 million copies, totalling more than $12m in revenue. More than all the previous titles combined from the game’s indie developer Coffee Stain Studios.
The game achieved such success that it spawned a number of branded spin-offs and updates. Gaining licenses and partnerships with series’ Payday 2 and Rocket League. The third-party branding earned the studio so much they were able to upscale to become a publisher for other independent studios.
Goat Simulator has been ported to PS4, Xbox One and more recently Nintendo Switch. Making it playable on all current-gen consoles, with copies still selling, five years after the game’s initial release.
Goat of Duty
Goat Simulator has inspired a number of successors to the throne such as Bear Simulator and I Am Bread. Some tried to expand on the formula but none have seen the success of the original title.
34BigThings could be in the best position yet to take up the mantle with Goat of Duty. Given the current trends of gamers. The parallels between the two games are already apparent, both centring around playable ragdoll goats. That brand recognition will help and the multiplayer shooter format promises a more engaging gameplay experience.
But it’s in the social media marketing of the game where Goat of Duty has the best chance to replicate the highly-profitable model. The huge success of Goat Simulator was closely tied to the rise of YouTube. Along with Surgeon Simulator, it was the first title to coin the phrase YouTube bait. In keeping with the ‘Epic Fail’ culture.
The whimsical nature was perfect for sharing on the emerging platform which generated interest and led to more sales. Now with YouTube gaming at its’ peak, another popular trend could mean it’s the perfect time to launch a game like Goat of Duty.
Cartoon Violence in 2019
There has long been a place for cartoon violence in the minds of children, ever since Tom and Jerry. It’s nothing new but the gaming industry and YouTube are finally cashing in on it in a big way.
Fortnite is the obvious example of this, forming a significant part of modern pop culture and even winning Game of the Year awards. Fortnite is branded all over the backpacks and t-shirts of the youth of today.
But that’s just the latest example to capitalise on a trend of zany violence popularised by games like Overwatch or prior to that Team Fortress 2. Both still popular online shooters today. Kids want to play FPS games but the media complains they’re too violent and corrupting our kids.
So the solution is to meet in the middle with shooters that don’t depict graphic violence and boast a cast of child-friendly characters. (So cute, a hamster in a mech suit). This is a huge chunk of the modern gaming market and it’s one Goat of Duty could hit.
So, a cartoonish shooter that adopts the aesthetic of one of the pioneers of YouTube bait? Well, it’s a deviously clever marketing strategy. And if the mechanics are as surprisingly polished as reports from the beta suggest, Goat of Duty could prove a shock hit on the Steam market.