September 24, 2020

Advertising: Helping Fans Dress Like a Videogame Hero

Now the company that makes the game, Konami Digital Entertainment, has a new sartorial twist: it is introducing a line of clothing based on the game. The line, the Peace Walker collection, which is scheduled to go on sale on the Konami Web site Monday, takes design cues from characters in the game without replicating their clothes.

“This is for Metal Gear Solid fans to be able to incorporate the brand they love so much into their lifestyles,” said Careen Yapp, vice president for acquisitions and franchise development at Konami, whose other games include Silent Hill, DanceDanceRevolution and Castlevania.

Typical of the collection, which borrows from the game a military-chic aesthetic, is the MGS Field Coat ($189), which on the Web site promises to “successfully support your mission in any terrain under any conditions.” While the coat has specific references to the game, like buttons and a detachable badge on one sleeve that feature its logo, such identifiers are no more prominent than labels and buttons on a pair of Levi’s.

“The challenge is to not create costumes, but rather lifestyle collections,” said Knut Bergel, the president of Musterbrand, which designed and manufactured the line under a licensing partnership with the game maker.

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Based in New York and owned by the Otto Group, a German company whose United States holdings include Crate Barrel, Musterbrand was established last year for the purpose of developing merchandise inspired by the virtual world.

Along with the Peace Walker collection, Musterbrand has designed clothing lines based on Gran Turismo, the series of racing games by Sony (available at bit.ly/dRJ7G1), and the forthcoming installment of the Deus Ex series, Human Revolution, by Eidos Montreal, which will be released at the same time as the game, in August.

Clothing from all the lines will be sold only online, which to Mr. Bergel is as fitting as selling Jets hats at New Meadowlands Stadium.

“When you go to sporting events you very often buy your gear at the stadium, and when you play a video game” on a computer, “you should buy these collections where you play,” Mr. Bergel said.

Consumers spent an estimated $15.4 billion to $15.6 billion on video games in 2010, according to the NPD Group, a market research firm.

While video games are most popular with children and teenagers, with more than 90 percent playing, about one-third of adults play, too, according to Mintel, another market research firm. Among the most dedicated segment of adult gamers, those 18 to 24, 42 percent say they find video games to be more entertaining than television, and 37 percent say that games are their main source of entertainment.

One company that recognizes that adults are playing, Chrysler, recently signed a licensing deal with the video game publisher Activision that encompasses both the virtual and real worlds.

In Call of Duty: Black Ops, a shooter game released last November, the protagonist, in accordance with the deal, drives a Jeep Wrangler. Additionally, as the game was being released, the limited edition 2011 Wrangler Call of Duty: Black Ops Edition, was rolling into Chrysler dealerships. With a price tag of $33,500 for the four-door model, the vehicle, available only in black, features the game’s logo on its front quarter panels and roof.

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Mr. Bergel, of Musterbrand, said the company hoped to expand in virtual worlds.

“We would love to design clothing for upcoming versions of the games,” Mr. Bergel said.

Jonathan Jacques-Belletête, the art director of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which is scheduled to be released in the United States on Aug. 23, said game designers generally had given little thought to clothing.

“In the video game industry we usually talk about the design of the characters themselves, and that’s usually where the discussion ends,” said Mr. Jacques-Belletête. “The word ‘fashion’ in video game design is something that’s almost never heard. They’re just thinking of big armor and big weapons.”

But at one point when he was designing the game, Mr. Jacques-Belletête could think of little else.

“I was thinking of the aesthetics of the Renaissance era, and also sort of Baroque, yet fashionable and kind of cyber-punkie,” Mr. Jacques-Belletête said.

He sought inspiration from collections by designers including the late Alexander McQueen before designing the clothes himself.

“If I had to redo this I would probably hire a fashion designer for the preproduction,” said Mr. Jacques-Belletête, adding that he would welcome input from designers like those at Musterbrand for future projects.

In the forthcoming Human Revolution collection by Musterbrand, the article of clothing that is the most faithful to the game is a sleek double-breasted coat worn by the main protagonist, Adam Jensen, and Mr. Jacques-Belletête said there is nothing costume-like or overstated about it.

“If you walked into something like a Diesel or G-Star it would totally fit in, and then as you tried it on you’d see that there are things that are a little more out there,” said Mr. Jacques-Belletête, referring to the clothing stores.

When he saw a prototype of the jacket in his Montreal office recently, he said he had the odd sensation of slipping on something that he never imagined existing beyond pixels.

“I tried the jacket on and I wanted to keep it,” Mr. Jacques-Belletête said. “I was walking around the office showing it to people — and they were totally stoked.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 10, 2011

An earlier version of this article misspelled the surname of Knut Bergel as Berger.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=a108d9eabc7bd525b91e687436c79948

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