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Play with your friends as influencers dying to go viral| GuyWhoKnowsThings

The list of things influencers have done to get attention is terrifying. Creators have eaten 10,000 calories in one sitting, glued their lips together, and smashed gallons of milk on the floor in public. When Logan Paul recorded himself The discovery of a body in a Japanese forest known for suicides sparked a violent reaction on the Internet.

The new video game Content Warning takes that premise of doing anything for fame to an insanely meta extreme.

Players play content creators who venture into abandoned factories and spectral ships to search for murderous monsters. The goal: get images to upload to the fictitious website SpookTube without getting killed. Players get “views” depending on how scary their clips are, and will lose if they don't meet a quota within a few days.

“It's inspired by influencer culture, the grind of creating content and beating algorithms to get views,” said Petter Henriksson, one of the game's designers and programmers. “The lengths people will go to to go viral or die trying is truly extraordinary.”

Content Warning has quickly become one of the biggest horror games of the year, a surprise hit from Swedish studio Landfall, known for other silly ragdoll physics-based titles like Totally Accurate Battle Simulator. Released on PC as part of the studio's April Fools' Day tradition, the game sold one million copies in two weeks.

Both the content warning and the equally successful Lethal Company Benefit from proximity chat, which allows players to communicate only when they are physically close within the game. But an additional camera feature raises the Content Warning, motivating players to make potentially deadly decisions that they will later watch on a TV in their community home.

The visuals are often light-hearted: a low-quality montage of players laughing while dodging silly entities like giant snails, a robotic dog that spews machine gun fire, and a killer whisk.

“It's actually a little triggering as a YouTuber: sometimes you're here being a slave to the algorithm,” said Marcos Cárdenas, who publishes gaming videos to almost 1.4 million subscribers under the name Macro.

“You get more views of the game on SpookTube if you do crazier, sillier things,” said Cárdenas, 28, who has played for more than 30 hours.

By encouraging players to save clips to their computer, Content Warning has successfully incentivized the uploading of clips to social media.

As a result, the Internet is burning with the game: there are scenes of players pretending interview the sickly beasts as well as suggestions to further lampoon influencer culture by add offers and sponsorships from fake brands. Players have even tried speed up the gamewhich is impossible to overcome completely because the quotas increase unlimitedly.

Landfall CEO Wilhelm Nylund said the studio chose to spoof YouTube instead of a popular platform like TikTok or Twitch because it holds a special place in the hearts of many gamers.

“I've spent a lot of my teens and now 20s on the platform; I think that's true for most people who play our games,” Nylund said. “YouTube has been with me throughout the game creation process and one of the ways I originally found players to play them.”

Although it may take place in a future dystopia, the YouTube parody component makes the game feel surprisingly current. There are other hyper-modern aspects, such as a caged creature that forces people to complete a Captcha if they want to escape, and a feature that mimics live streams, complete with fake commentators reacting to clips.

While Content Warning doesn't have an official story mode, there is a subtle story. The concept, created by Nylund, is that players live in a cloud society because the air in the “Old World” became dangerously polluted. They must wear diving suits to immerse themselves in the sick old world and obtain pseudoviral images.

The track is partly criticizing overly optimistic solutions to the climate catastrophe, Nylund said: “The idea that, 'Well, it's all good, we can ruin the Earth and then just build our way out and continue the same way as before.' 'Nylund said earlier.'”

The stakes in Content Warning are much lower. Getting zero views might make a real-life YouTuber irrelevant, but the game can simply shut down after a bad round. “There is a good catharsis in it,” Cárdenas said. “Actually, you're not losing anything.”

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