RAM: Getting ''Dark''

Most people would be disturbed by a picture of a corpse with a toe-tag bearing a good friend's name. But AKQA didn't think gamers would mind.

A viral promotion created by AKQA for "Perfect Dark: Zero," a launch title for the Xbox 360, immerses viewers in the world of the game's antihero assassin, Joanna Dark, on a quest for vengeance against the evil corporation dataDyne. The viral campaign allows the sender to rat on a friend or co-worker as an "agent of dataDyne," and Dark promises to "pay them a visit."

That visit comes in the form of an e-mailed video, which is a first-person view of a patient dying on the operating table -- presumably the receiver of the viral e-mail after a visit from Joanna. The sender then receives a recorded phone call from Dark - if they agreed to provide their phone number - assuring them that the job is done. They receive yet another e-mail message with the toe-tag.

"We definitely think that this is the kind of tone that's going to get this kind of audience excited," says Rikki Khanna, account supervisor at AKQA. "It's true to the nature of the game." The microsite that hosts the viral feature includes age verification for entry, since "Perfect Dark: Zero" is rated M, intended for ages 17 and older, by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.