Will Smith’s Newest Game Undawn Bombed, But Few Knew It Existed Until Now

Image: Lightspeed Studios

A recent report states that the zombie survival game Undawn, endorsed by Will Smith, did not perform well commercially for Tencent. The game had a budget of around $140 million and involved over 300 developers, but faced challenges achieving success after its release in June of last year. If you didn’t know it existed, you are far from alone.

The reception of Undawn was mixed, but the reaction to a tweet revealing its existence was steadfast on one position: why is this the first we’re hearing of this game? Some people were surprised that a Will Smith project got so little attention, while others said the marketing was not good. I also only heard about this game from the tweet, as did so many others. This feels like a situation that was clearly a marketing issue.

Undawn included a digital version of Will Smith as a character named Trey Jones, who helps players through the game. Despite high expectations and a big budget, the game only made $287,000 in revenue last month. This poor performance is seen as part of a larger change in strategy at Tencent.

Tencent is reportedly shifting its focus from Western franchise mobile versions to prioritize casual party games and titles similar to Genshin Impact. The news about Undawn’s commercial failure caused many people to learn about the game for the first time on social media. This lack of awareness shows the difficulties the game faced, even with a major celebrity involved. Some people wondered if Will Smith’s recent controversies may have affected the game’s appeal.

Marketing is one of, if not the most, important parts of making a game. The Day Before was an easy cash grab by its developers, but its marketing caused it to take off and do well on release. If you release a game without marketing, no one will play because there’s no one to play.