When Louis Vuitton was born on August 4, 1821 in Anchay, France, no one could have guessed that his name would head a $14 billion empire two centuries later.
To celebrate this bicentennial, the company has kicked off what is promised to be a year of events, with the unveiling of a new video game. Already adept at staying relevant, the French fashion house is reaching out to a younger generation with a new digital universe to be explored.
Called Louis 200, the game takes players on a quest, in a nod to Vuitton’s own 470-kilometre journey from Anchay to Paris, on foot, when he was only 14.
The game mixes education, art, escapism and entertainment. Players act as the Vuitton mascot, Vivienne, who must be navigated through dream-like locations, which echo Paris, Tokyo, London, Beijing and New York. Players who successfully traverse all six locations will reach the final level, and the birthday celebration.
Through whimsical dreamscapes, players must collect candles that in turn open postcards, which offer a snippet of Vuitton history. With 200 such postcards, players find out about notable collaborations, special commissions, runway shows, art shows and even family anecdotes. For example, postcard number 21 tells how the couturier Jeanne Lanvin ordered pieces from Vuitton in the 1920s.
In addition to the candles and postcards, Vivienne must run, jump and scale her way to collect keys, to access the next level.
A visually charming journey – during which Vivienne’s attire can be switched through all manner of Vuitton monograms and charms – the game is also embedded with 30 non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that have been created by the digital artist Beeple.
His game-specific NFTs are scattered throughout the game, so players must look out for pop-up banners, while anyone lucky enough to obtain one, can store it in a digital wallet that will remain locked until 2022.
Available for iOS and Android, the game was released on Wednesday, and is available in English and Chinese. Players can also compete against each other, thanks to a global leader board.
Louis 200 is not Vuitton’s first foray into video games, having released the wonderfully retro Endless Runner in 2019.
With a report by Accenture estimating the gaming industry to be worth more than $300bn, luxury brands are eager to get on board, and names such as Valentino and Marc Jacobs (as well as Vuitton) have gotten in on it by collaborating on outfits for the games League of Legions and Animal Crossing.
Earlier this year, Gucci created an immersive fashion experience for Roblox, while Balenciaga created an entire game called Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow to reveal its autumn / winter 2021 collection.