Will Smith’s $140 million zombie game flopped so hard no one knew it existed

What are we, some kinda free to play, zombie survival game starring Will Smith?

An online, PvE zombie survival game funded by Hollywood icon Will Smith somehow released last year, and no one knew about it. With $140 million funnelled into the online shooter, Will Smith’s Undawn has flown so far under the radar that even we — an outlet that is sent hundreds of emails by developers and PR every day, even on weekends — never even heard of it.

Since zombie survival games like DayZ are still incredibly popular, it’s not surprising that Men in Black star Will Smith decided to star in a new competitor. However, as reported by Reuters, Undawn has completely flopped, likely because no one had ever heard of it before.

Available on both PC and Mobile, Undawn stars Smith as Trey Jones, a guide to the post-apocalypse that teaches you how to navigate the demolished world four years after society collapsed. Described as a “key” release for Chinese gaming giant Tencent, the game cost $140 million and was worked on by around 300 developers.

Last month, Undawn made just $287,000 in revenue which, while not bad for a game most people didn’t know released, is not so great for a game that cost so much to make. Sources claim that Undawn has “flopped spectacularly”, leading to a change in direction at Tencent away from expensive, blockbuster games.

Instead, Tencent will continue to focus on smaller party games as well as continuing investment in MiHoYo experiences such as Genshin Impact, Honkai Star Rail and the upcoming Zenless Zone Zero. Additionally, the publisher is still working on the mobile RPG Assassin’s Creed Jade and even an Elden Ring mobile game with gacha elements.

Unfortunately for Tencent, revenue is also dropping on its biggest mobile performers. PUBG Mobile, CoD Mobile (which has just been usurped by Warzone Mobile’s awful launch) and Honor of Kings have all seen sizable revenue drops this quarter.

However, the issue with Undawn is completely different. Marketing for the Will Smith game has been horrendous. The Undawn Launch Trailer currently has only 355,000 views on YouTube at the time of writing, and the trailer thumbnail doesn’t even feature Will Smith. What are you thinking, Tencent?

In fact, only one video on the Undawn Official YouTube channel actually features Will Smith in the title and thumbnail, a 53-second trailer from 9 months ago. Sure, Smith has become less popular after slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars, but perhaps using your biggest, expensive star as a huge marketing point for your $140 million zombie game would be a good move. What do we know?

For those who want to jump in, Undawn is available right now, for free, on PC and mobile. If you didn’t know, it stars Will Smith.

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