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"Guess I'll just piss on the floor": Baldur's Gate 3's top TikTok tips

There’s no shortage of success stories surrounding Baldur’s Gate 3, and Larian Studios creative content manager Ben Maltz-Jones added to the stack in a Game Developers Conference session titled “Roll Play: The Strategy Behind Baldur’s Gate 3 on TikTok.”

Since taking over the official Larian Studios TikTok channel in September of 2022, Maltz-Jones has grown the account from 591 followers to more than 280,000, with a cumulative total of 4.7 million likes spread across more than 100 TikToks uploaded to the site.

Maltz-Jones said it also helped extend the demographics to which Larian was targeting its marketing, as its TikTok viewership skews more female and “quite a bit younger” than its followers on other social media platforms.

“This wouldn’t have been possible without Larian leadership giving me a ridiculous amount of freedom to try and fail,” Maltz-Jones said, “and I don’t think it would have been nearly as successful if they hadn’t allowed me the room to experiment.”

When he first started running the TikTok account, Maltz-Jones said he was the only full-time social media person on the staff, “so it was important to be able to do a lot of stuff without continual assistance to not burden everybody else.”

He very quickly had to learn how to capture and edit footage from builds of the game so he could conceive of an execute on ideas himself. Fortunately, he said Larian had excellent debug/UI tools for that, letting him hide the game’s interface and freely move the camera around the game as needed to capture the shots he needed.

“The sooner you can learn to capture things yourself and not have to explain why it’s important that you make a character look exactly like Shrek and then kick somebody else off a cliff, the better, really,” he explained.

Anyone can run a TikTok, Maltz-Jones said. The key is just knowing how to play to the platform’s strength and understanding its weaknesses.

To grasp those two qualities, he suggested reading up on the platform and using it regularly, following particularly big influencers because that will help you understand things like which viral sounds are currently popular, or what features and changes are being made to TikTok more generally.

And while some sounds and celebrity clips may be popular on the site, he advised caution about using them as there are legally gray areas around companies using such content without permission to promote their own products.

“Make sure your legal team is aware of how TikTok works and that they understand the platform,” Maltz-Jones said. “Be prepared to explain how viral sounds work and how Tiktok encourages the use of them.”

He also stressed that content published through TikTok doesn’t have to be as polished as other forms of promotional content. To emphasize the point, he played a five-second TikTok video of a Druid character casting the Create Water spell and triggering a downpour alongside a song clip saying, “Well, I guess I’ll just piss on the floor (piss on the floor, piss on the floor).”

The clip has nearly one million views as of this writing and was the most successful posts on the Larian account for about eight months.

“The footage you capture doesn’t have to be polished so long as it serves the purpose of the platform,” he said. “TikToks can be rough and ready; it’s not like professional trailers.”

In short, the idea is to run your company TikTok as if it were a fan account.

“Don’t get caught up in the details of the game you’re promoting,” Maltz-Jones said. “I’ve seen independent developers turn to TikTok to post really polished gameplay clips with just massive amounts of text above and below, and they almost always fall flat.

“Think of your TikTok account as, ‘What if a fan made this? What would they find funny? What would be an unexpected choice?’ It’s about that style of authenticity that really helps us shine on the platform. Because in a sense, our process is to have less of a process.”

If the marketing for a massive AAA studio takes itself too seriously, it might not click with the tone of the platform. A game like Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands can do really well on TikTok because of its less serious tone, but there are ways to make successful TikTok videos even more somber pieces. He suggested looking at wholesome games channels on the platform to get an idea as to how other types of games can be pitched well.

“Curate your own brand voice for the platform,” he said. “The best way to do that is consistent posting using your own tone and humor.”

As for how consistent, while TikTok might recommend posting three or four times a week, Maltz-Jones said he started with one post a week and only ramped up to two shortly before the game’s launch.

Beyond that, Maltz-Jones was somewhat skeptical of cross-posting content from other social media platforms on TikTok, saying “bespoke” content created with the platform in mind will tend to do better. But if you do want to re-use content, he suggested re-editing it for TikTok at least by putting blurred tops and bottoms on any horizontal videos, and never telling the user to turn their phone because people will just skip the clip instead of doing that.

On hashtags, he suggested having only one hashtag specific to your game, with four or so other, more general (but still relevant) hashtags included to make sure a video gets shown to a wider audience.

Finally, he also talked about TikTok’s algorithm being geolocked, saying that a representative with the company suggested using a VPN to make it seem the company was posting from America, as that would help it spread further.

“You can have TikTok play into your strategy and showcase aspects of the game, but make sure to do it in TikTok’s way,” Maltz-Jones concluded. “Plan how you’re going to approach it, have fun making the content, but ultimately embrace it.”

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