by David Reader
When my friend told me that 2K was hosting an event, at which anyone crazy enough to bungee jump could win a copy of Borderlands 2 (combining something I’ve always wanted to do with the sequel to one of my favourite games) I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. But, on reflection, I really should have.
My girlfriend and I arrived at 8:30AM to queue and there were, unsurprisingly, quite a substantial number of people already in line. As it was early, the bungee team were still preparing their equipment, and the PR team donning the area with Borderlands 2 banners.
There was an air of excitement but unfortunately not for long – soon after our arrival a team member did a headcount and, interestingly, had a worried look on his face. Not long after that another member of PR team came over to explain that they were hoping to get through around 70 jumps and we shouldn’t be disappointed if they didn’t manage to get to us, but they hoped to get through as many as possible.[drop]Shortly after this the line was separated (mainly due to the layout of the area) and as we were comfortably in the front section, we had hope.
So, we waited, and that’s when the shenanigans started. The crane driver and bungee team were having major issues setting up the crane, and when all issues were eventually resolved (excruciating to watch) it was an hour or so past the scheduled start time of 10am. By the time all the bungee equipment was attached and tested it was around 11.30am but finally the ‘psycho’ Borderlands 2 fans could get to jump.
However, the first two people – who apparently had waited since the previous day – weren’t exactly psycho and chickened out, much to the displeasure of the crowd, who were booing and shouting. Not only this but each took a good 5 minutes of decision-making time before finally coming down. For an event hailed as something where only those ballsy enough should participate, they should have been given 30 seconds to decide before being pushed out by the bungee staff.
Thankfully this was followed by fans who took the leap swiftly, earning their game in the process. All was well… until the rain started: relentless, pouring rain, accompanied by an occasional chilling wind. We continued waiting and at this point the lack of communication between the PR team and the crowd was extremely noticeable. They hid under the main tent, only venturing out occasionally, and most information we received was from the hired security in the area. Not once was the crowd told directly how many jumps the team now expected to get through or whether they would be continuing jumps past 4pm to compensate for the late start.[drop2]As the day went on, the jumps continued as best they could but with worsening weather everyone in line (even those with umbrellas) was soaked, freezing and extremely miserable. If it wasn’t for the fact that we were so close to the front of the line (having waited for nearly 7 hours by this point), we would certainly have left.
The bungee team was noticeably getting worried and opted to take a short break. After taking the rig back up to test, they came down immediately and declared it too windy to continue. Once again we hear from the security that they should still be giving copies of the game to those in the front section of the queue (those at the back had long been sent home). Naturally having run out of copies, the PR team took details of those still in line, told us they would be in touch and that we should have the game by the end of the week.
This was a complete PR disaster.
They should have been prepared to jump more than 70 people, had all the equipment in place and tested for a prompt start, and definitely should have had a contingency plan in the event of bad weather. Mid September in London is hardly known for its balmy climate, after all. They ran out of games to dispense, despite jumping less than the intended number of people and the lack of communication between PR and fans was disgraceful.
So now, whenever I play Borderlands 2, I’ll always think of nearly freezing to death instead of having fun with a bungee jump. Nice one, 2K.