For developers whose games fall below the AAA label, partnerships with YouTube are a crucial tool for promoting new titles. Space Ape Games, based in the U.K., has taken that strategy to the next level: It has recruited 20 stars from YouTube’s gaming community to be bosses in its new mobile game Fastlane: Road to Revenge.
Fastlane is an arcade shooter that, judging by its trailer, takes a lot of its stylistic cues from Grand Theft Auto. Players must ride around in cars and blow things up, and the participating YouTubers, including Kwebbelkop, Slogoman, and Jelly, will design their own vehicles for use in the game. The star gamers, with some help from their communities will also get to influence the game’s missions, cutscenes, and items, with a large part of the in-game world tied into the YouTube community.
Space Ape chose to pull off such a massive series of deals because it wants to give YouTube stars an easy way to make exciting content based around Fastlane. “It is impossible to make any deal work if you are just paying someone to endorse your game,” Space Ape co-founder Simon Hade told Variety. “The value comes from having content that solves a problem for the channel: giving them interesting things to talk about with their fans. We will never just pay someone to make a video.”
Fastlane is not the first title to integrate YouTube stars into its gameplay. Previously, creators like Ali-A, DeStorm, and KSI beat each other up in 2015’s Celebrity Street Fight. This integration, however, is the biggest we’ve seen so far. If you’d like to see how Space Ape pulls it off, you can find Fastlane on the App Store and Google Play.