Over the past three months, Playcrafting has been on an exciting journey in partnership with Schick Xtreme to build Shave The Day, a game that raises money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a not-for-profit organization with the aim of raising funds to help find cures for children with cancer.
How do you make a game that is genuinely fun to play, showcases a world-renowned brand, and raises money for an important cause? It’s a unique challenge with a lot of moving parts. Edelman – the agency of record for the Schick Xtreme brand – approached us to meet the challenge and bring the game to life.
Playcrafting worked with the Edelman team to hone in on a core gameplay mechanic and aesthetic that could be iterated on, refined and launched in just three months. It’s been an exciting ride for all of us. And I’m very excited to finally introduce Shave The Day, a head-shaving mobile game where you can donate to pediatric cancer research wherever you are and wherever you go. Just by playing.
A Unique Challenge
A quick look at the top free games on the App Store shows that games with a simple gameplay loop dominate the top of the download charts. For players looking to pass the time on their phone, games with basic controls (a swipe, a quick tap) tend to scratch the itch. The aesthetics for these kinds of hyper-casual games are meant to not get in the way of the addicting gameplay loop. Graphics tend to feature basic 3D shapes. Audio is often meant to do the same as it brings a sense of ambient atmosphere without getting in the way of the gameplay.
With these principles in place, we set out to determine what the gameplay itself would be. We knew that shaving had to be featured prominently. But how do you make a shaving mechanic that can be quick without coming off as too aggressive? XtremeMan to the rescue!
The narrative of XtremeMan as an unconventional hero of Shave the Day allowed us to bring Schick Xtreme to life without sacrificing the need for hyper-casual gameplay. XtremeMan gives a character that most people affected by cancer can relate to. He’s a hero for kids with cancer.
Every 2 minutes, a child is diagnosed with cancer. That statistic doesn’t change just because we don’t see it every day. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is here to help.
St. Baldrick’s is known for its shave drives – events where you raise money for children’s cancer research by getting your head shaved while donning their signature green smock. A shave drive offered the perfect setting for XtremeMan to fly in on a hovering Schick Xtreme razor to shave as many heads as possible in the context of an endless runner. The stage was set for an amalgamation of Schick Xtreme’s brand and the St. Baldrick’s mission within the confines of a mobile game.
The Iterative Process
For every game that you see in a mobile store, there have been dozens of builds of it that came before launch and even after. Ask any game developer and they’ll tell you how much painstaking work goes into refining every aspect of a game – from how it plays, to how it looks, to how it sounds, and so much more.
Before any visual assets were brought in, the field of play had to be established. The endless runner game type allowed us to set up the main play area early on. Through private playtesting and player feedback, the gameplay itself was sharpened to produce just the right amount of challenge without being too hard for players. Once the core front-facing field was established, we could populate the world with characters and objects inspired by Schick Xtreme and St. Baldrick’s.
A series of refinements allowed us to bring the spirit of both Schick Xtreme and St. Baldrick’s to life while tying into the original vision and scope of the process.
With games that are a direct extension of a brand, players can easily get turned off by what might feel like an obvious “cash-in.” Direct product placement in games, just as in movies and TV, can be jarring to the point of pulling you out of what should be an immersive experience. Luckily, the team at both Edelman and Schick Xtreme really understood this. We worked to bring the trademark Schick Xtreme razor design into the virtual space without just dropping it right in the game. The razor itself maintains its signature color and “X” grooves. It’s unmistakably Schick Xtreme, adapted to the virtual world of Shave the Day and naturally connected to the narrative of the game.
For St. Baldrick’s, the trick was to bring shavees to life without complicating their appearance or going out of scope for the project. Shavees are outfitted with the green smocks typical of a shave drive. And to show that cancer impacts people of all walks of life, skin tones and hairstyles are randomly generated. Shave the Day needed to be as inclusive as the mission at hand. The effect of an explosion of cubes as you hop over shavees to shave them gives you that feeling of accomplishment each time. It was a great way to present a cartoonish version of shaving itself!
The Most Important Part
For as fun as Shave the Day is, its mission is to help raise real dollars for children’s cancer research. The in-game “bald bucks” that you collect while playing translates to an actual dollar amount that helps get to the $250,000 goal. For those who want to donate themselves, an in-game Donate button is there as an optional way to contribute right to St. Baldrick’s.
I think we can all use a little fun right now. And in a world that can feel like it’s on the brink, especially amidst a pandemic, why not have that fun also contribute to a great cause? As our daily lives get more virtual with each day, a video game that makes a real-world impact through the screen we use the most is such a ray of hope.
Let’s fight childhood cancers, one shave at a time.
Founder & CEO
Visit shavetheday.com for more information.
Want to know more about what our team at Playcrafting can do? Let’s chat!