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On Gameplay Trailers

August 19, 2008

I’ve been watching a lot of gameplay trailers lately, and I’m noticing a trend. Now, first of all, I don’t want this to be confused with what I call “gameplay videos.” Those are not trailers. Those have actual, in-game footage from one brief part of the game. I’m talking about gameplay trailers that are supposed to give a general feel of the overall gameplay from several different areas. However, I am notcing a new trend.

Text > Gameplay Footage

I have two examples for this. One is the trailer for the new edition of The Witcher and one is the trailer for Tank Universal. In both these trailers, you get brief cuts of gameplay, intermixed with long segments of text on black backgrounds. I remember the days when gameplay trailers showed the text WITH gameplay to demonstrate what they were bragging about. Now it’s like “HUGE EXPANSIVE WORLDS!” then fade in a camera panning around an empty field for half a second and then fade out.

Now, I understand the concept of teaser trailers, don’t get me wrong. But usually teaser trailers are cinematic in nature, i.e. not in-game. When you have a gameplay trailer, people want to see gameplay.

Also, I know The Witcher came out last year, but CD Projekt is touting all this new content and showing us none of it. What are we really supposed to believe: the text or the footage?

So a small tip about trailers, fellas: make sure you have something to put in there before you make them. Otherwise, no one is going to care. Trailers should be memorable, not just animated magazine ads.

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One Comment
  1. I’m a bit torn sometimes when it comes to trailers. Something like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCOewasvDa0 (Wow: The Burning Crusade cinematic) is jaw droppingly awesome. So was the original and Wrath trailers. But it didn’t show the GAME.

    I remember when Hellgate trailers hit the web and I was stunned and amazed. I wanted the game then and there. Then it came out …and it sucked. Such a disappointment after how awesome the trailer was.

    Something like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zxnho1yTjRo (Brutal Legend E3 trailer) is awesome though. It’s part cinematic clips, part gameplay. In fact I’d easily be convinced that all of that was in-game. It shows the gameplay and the story and the main characters. I’d like to see more trailers like it.

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