The Problem with Trailers


I’ve got a bit of a thing against video game trailers. Do I get hyped over them? Sure. Do I love watching announcements of titles that I’ve been dying to see just a glimpse of? Totally guilty. But all the same, I sometimes find it hard to forgive the game industry for the way it treats trailers, the video game press for how it feeds into the mania and all of us gamers for how we do the same.

The fact of the matter is, trailers are mostly the product of PR and marketing departments. Often time, they’re created by people in the company that had little to do with the game itself, or worse yet, by an outside firm altogether. Yes, we’re all looking at you now, Bioware. The goal of these trailer makers isn’t necessarily making the most accurate representation of the game – it’s generating hype and moving copies.

This is why we see all kinds of game trailers that really don’t reflect the game that we see while holding our controllers, and it really bugs me these days. But I know I’m not the only person that notices that kind of thing. Over at Ars Technica, writer Kyle Orland breaks down the number of ways that game trailers make for terrible gameplay experiences. It’s a really nice look at the ways that game trailers differ from the games we play, and should hopefully point readers to measuring their responses a bit more in the future.

Personally, this is why I try to refrain as much as possible from posting every single trailer that comes out, especially pre-rendered ones. What do you guys think of this topic? Let’s talk about trailers.

Source – Ars Technica

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

7 thoughts on “The Problem with Trailers”

  1. I’m glad Dead Island was kinda terrible because it’s the ultimate “Pre-rendered trailers are bad m-kay?”. It blew my mind the amount of people who were hyping themselves up over a 3 minute video of some kid getting thrown out of a window (in reverse!!1), as far as telling you about the gameplay of Dead Island it was about as useful as staring at a wall for 3 minutes.

    It’s the equivalent of a new Star Wars coming out and the trailer is just 3 minutes of girls in bikinis and stromtrooper helmets washing cars. It sort of has a connection to the universe but tells you bugger all about the actual story and there will be weird people on the internet who touch themselves whilst watching it.

  2. “The goal of these trailer makers isn’t necessarily making the most accurate representation of the game – it’s generating hype and moving copies.” Exactly. These trailers aren’t meant to give an accurate impression of gameplay, merely to generate hype and get their game on people’s radars. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

    The classic case of Dead Island is a perfect representation of this. That original trailer had nothing to do with gameplay, but may have been the best trailer ever produced in any medium, almost a short movie. From that point on, people knew about the game, and wanted to know more. The trailer did its job.

    I don’t think anyone looks at a video game trailer and thinks “this is what the game will look like”. Closer to release date, the company will release gameplay trailers and others that give a more accurate representation of the actual game. Those initial trailers, though, are used to generate hype.

    Keep ’em around, I say. They’re entertaining as hell.

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