At this month's EB Expo, EA hosted a five-course gourmet dining experience for modern military first-person shooter Battlefield 4. It made for an unlikely combination that both amused and bemused the invited guests. MCV Pacific spoke with EA's regional PR manager for APAC, Snezana Stojanovska, about how the event came about.
How did you come up with and develop the original idea for Dine with DICE?
Battlefield 4, as a gaming experience is designed to deliver best-in-class multiplayer with all-out-war, massive destruction dynamic environments and spectacular visuals. Coming all these elements together creates these unscripted, gaming moments that are possible only in Battlefield 4. This is DICE’s most ambitious and best Battlefield game yet.
Dine with DICE was designed to mirror those memorable moments in-game but with a twist, via a Battlefield-inspired meal and evening that attendees would never forget.
We worked to ensure every part of the event brought the themes, features and characteristics of Battlefield 4 to the dinner table for a unique, sensory experience. With our chef Karl Firla of Oscillate Wildly, we developed custom dishes that captured the game's themes of global conflict, including dishes that smoke, are reminiscent of battlefields or require destruction to be eaten. The entertainment also had to capture the risk, fast response action, fun and beauty of the game.
There were two essential ingredients needed in order for this event to work: DICE had to present, and we needed to lock in a chef to work on the other star of the show, the food. We had a standalone Battlefield 4 booth at the EB EXPO, complete with a tank and crumbling walls. Once we saw those first designs, we knew we found our venue; it really was the perfect backdrop.
Following weeks of creative development and brainstorming, we agreed on our show-stopping cast for the night: Award-winning Australian chef Karl Firla of Oscillate Wildly delivering a war-torn degustation menu, MC Dave Callan of Good Game and MCIF fame, plus the artistic talents of string/circus act Strings on Fire showcasing Battlefield 1942’s theme, plus speed painter Brad Blaze.
The combination of custom art, music and five courses of all-out destruction resulted in a visual masterpiece.
What was the thinking behind tying gourmet food with a first-person shooter?
With the huge amount of competing titles in the FPS category, there’s a real need to be creative and think about these games differently when it comes to PR and promotion. In light of Australia’s obvious passion for gourmet food, we recognised the huge opportunity in marrying the two into a fun and interesting event that would get people talking.
We decided each course was going to represent a key feature of Battlefield 4: Frostbite 3, Levolution, Commander Mode, Battlelog and All-Out-Warfare. We thought it was an interesting and innovative way of bringing the game to life and a good conversation starter.
Lars Gustavsson has been an integral part of the DICE team since the inception of the Battlefield franchise. His knowledge, passion and years of experience with the franchise meant he has a lot of stories to tell. For each course, Lars shared an insight into the game and its development from his personal experience on the “gaming frontline”.
His thoughts and discussion were all on the fly and nothing was scripted, making the event so much more natural and special.
A showcase of the dinner was created and has been shared on EA Australia’s official YouTube channel.
What were you hoping to achieve with the event?
Dine with DICE was all about creating an exclusive, memorable and very “sharable” Battlefield 4 experience that attendees could share via #DineWithDice.
The event was a celebration of the Battlefield franchise and a chance for our media, select EB Store Managers and EA community to meet and chat to the team behind the game in a fun, interactive and intimate setting. The combined EA and Naked Communications (EA’s local PR Agency) team couldn’t have been happier with the result!
What was the response from the attendees?
The response from all our attendees was overwhelmingly positive, both on the night and days afterwards. I think the main reason for this was the element of surprise: no one really knew what to expect.
It wasn’t a “traditional” PR event, but something a little more personal. We wanted each attendee to experience their own “Only in Battlefield 4 moment.”
What was DICE's response to the event?
Lars Gustavsson, Marie Granlund and Glenn Stotz absolutely loved the event as it gave them the opportunity to relax and chat with their local fans right before a huge show. Towards the end of the evening, we did a brief Q & A, with Lars saying that “meeting fans and participating in events like Dine With Dice make all the long hours and time away from friends and family worth it”. He was touched and incredibly humbled by all the support.
What lessons did you learn from the whole event (theming, organisation, logistics, etc)?
Dine with DICE was akin to a theatre production with the level of casting, creative development, staging and planning required to make it work; despite the event being smaller in scale to previous events we’ve worked on.
A LOT of planning that went into ensuring everything ran smoothly on the night. Constant communication was key in tying all elements of the event together and to make sure we were telling a story that “fit” Battlefield 4. We were lucky to work with like-minded, passionate event partners that helped us deliver the resulting performance (despite our fair share of challenges, reschedules, last-minute fire permits etc) that we feel delivered a show-stopping showcase of the game. The launch of Battlefield 4 couldn’t have started on a better note and we hope gamers will share their Only in Battlefield 4 moments on the official Battlefield Facebook and Twitter pages when the game releases today.