Xbox is no stranger to weird marketing gimmicks – the Xbox Onesie most of all – but for Ori and the Will of the Wisps, the company has actually come up with the best idea: bonsai trees.
Around 20 special bonsai trees – real bonsai, not fake – have been made in the style of Ori‘s Spirit Tree, complete with an Ori figurine under the tree. There’s some blue lights scattered throughout, and the whole thing is set in a wooden bowl.
For every bonsai tree, Xbox Australia is making a donation to Greening Australia, a non-profit focused on the conservation and restoration of Australian native vegetation. As for the bonsai themselves, they’re being given away through a promotion on Xbox’s Australian Facebook page later today.
Most video game promotions are generally pretty naff, so it’s nice to see a publisher come up with an idea that’s just … classy. Growing and caring for a bonsai tree, especially if you’re growing it from scratch and you have to wire the branches together, can be an arduous ordeal. You have to prune it back, decide on the shape you want, prune the roots, prepare the soil, repot, style and then make sure you don’t end up scarring the branches over time. That’s kind of what’s nice about this tree too: having the fake moss over the top makes the whole thing look a hell of a lot nicer when sitting in a living room.
Because it’s a real bonsai, you’ll probably have to repot it all in a couple of years. But as far as game promos go, I’ll take actual living trees over crappy merch any day of the week. As for Ori and the Will of the Wisps, that’s dropping on PC and Xbox on March 11, and it’ll launch through Xbox Game Pass for both platforms on day one. It’s been a couple of years since I played it at Gamescom, but even then, it was shaping up real well.
— alex (@dippizuka) August 21, 2018