assignment 3 researching media production game trailers n.
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Assignment 3: Researching Media Production – Game Trailers. Thomas Gale 26.9.11. What is a Game Trailer?.

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what is a game trailer
What is a Game Trailer?

A game trailer is a type of video advertisement used for promoting an upcoming videogame. These are included with the first public news of a new game as a demonstration of the product, and usually more are released as development continues production right up until it’s release, and maybe even after the release of the game for additional advertisement.The purpose of a game trailer is to persuade people into taking an interest in the game, and considering a purchase. This is done via using the trailers to highlight key points of the product that are unique, set it apart from other products, and are worth both attention and a purchase. These are accomplished through the use of pre-rendered animation, actual gameplay, or a mixture of both. Other features include voice-overs, music tied to what’s shown, and other graphics and text inserted into the video, such as the logo of the game and the company who made it, to give a better idea of what’s going on.

2009 trailer to the 2008 videogame Braid; already released on Xbox 360 and advertising the then-new PC port.

what is a game trailer continued
What is a Game Trailer? (Continued)

The trailer for Braid that I provided demonstrates a few of the points that I discussed. It did the following:- Showed that it is of the platformer gaming genre, using familiar elements that the likes of Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog established, including moving to the right to reach the end, jumping to reach higher ground and cross chasms, item collecting, and the standard method for defeating enemies in the genre, which is jumping on their heads.- Highlighted the main features of the game, in Braid’s case the reversal of time to undo mistakes while learning from them without any consequences, an object that produces a bubble around it it that slows things which are closer to the center down and has a fading effect with distance, reversing time to produce a clone that travels to where you were before the time reversal, and a level where time seems to flow depending on which direction you move in.- Included footage directly from the game, without using any pre-rendered cutscenes to interfere with the actual gameplay the trailer was trying to establish and advertise to the viewers.- Only uses music that is featured in the game, utilizing three different pieces of music to bridge together the various scenes that are shown for a more powerful effect. It starts off with a soft tune to highlight the usual platforming elements, uses a dangerous tune to highight the time manipulation elements, and then uses a neutral track to highlight the burning city and the title logo of the game that fades onto the screen. - Uses breaks from the gameplay with black screens and written dialogue without any voice-overs to advertise the kind of personality that the game boasts. One particular example from this is the break that occurs between the normal platforming and the unique time elements of the game: the viewer is given the message of “What if you could learn from mistakes…” during the showcase of normal platforming elements, and is then given the message of “but undo the consequences?” after the player character is killed by falling into a spike pit, before then showing the time reversal mechanic and bringing them back to life.


How are Game Trailers made?

Game trailers are made through a variety of software, with each different component of the trailer made with a different piece of software. Despite the fact that most of the software that is used by companies to produce the content for the trailer are their own specially built ones, we can still get a general idea of what types of software they might use to produce them…- Gameplay and cutscenes that are directly from the game are recorded with the programs used to produce the game (professional videogame companies like Nintendo, SEGA, and Capcom all use their own specially designed tools), with most trailers using a ‘debug mode’ version of the game where the Heads-Up Display/HUD (elements such as life bars, extra lives, score, collected items, and so on) is removed so that more focus is drawn to the gameplay.- Music that is used will have either been from the game, and produced in-house at the company using live instruments with professional software such as Cakewalk to record and edit the music, or using music produced by popular bands/musicians, such as My Chemical Romance and Kele Okereke, to draw more attention from the public in. - Graphics such as the game title or the company logo will have been produced in either image software such as Adobe Photoshop or in modelling software such as Maya, depending on whether the logo is a still image or if it has a 3D edge to it.


What is a Game Trailer? (Continued)

On the other hand, this trailer for Sonic Generations takes a different approach from what the Braid trailer chose to do. It is full of content besides gameplay and written dialogue, and features;- Information about the game being the anniversary celebration title for the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, explaining why it is using levels from past games in the series and both the current and original incarnations of the title character in terms of both appearance and gameplay styles.- An equal showcase of both gameplay styles that the game boasts to show they have been split evenly, as well as levels that had not been showcased in other trailers and press releases prior to this trailer.- Glimpses of pre-rendered animation that will be in the final game in the form of movies/cutscenes.- Written, pop-up graphics made specifically for the trailer that have been added over the gameplay; a particularly amazing example is at 0:30, where they seamlessly blend with the action going on.- Music by popular musician Kele Okereke that won’t actually feature in the game, and is used purely to attract more public attention towards the product.

Trailer to the upcoming 2011 videogame Sonic Generations; advertising it’s upcoming release on Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Nintendo 3DS.


Where/How are they normally shown?

Game trailers are primarily shown via online distribution in this day and age. Professional videogame reviewing sites such as IGN and Gamespot are usually given the trailers to put up for people to see, before the company that produced the title uploads it to their own services such as the company’s website, a website made specifically for the game, and/or the YouTube account of that company. Some trailers are adapted into TV commercials close to the game’s release, along with quotes from reviewers and the score the game was given by them.The very first announcement of a videogame (which can take place on the company’s website, a press conference, a convention, and so on) may include a trailer as well, though some companies opt to only tease what the game will be with a few screenshots, the title logo, or a strange, cryptic comment that contains a hidden message teasing what’s to come.


Are they targeted to particularaudiences?

Game trailers can only really advertise the game for what it is, and thus only appeal to the audience the product is for. If the game is centered on a rather hardcore setting, like a shooter that focuses on wanton destruction and killing to move forward, then it will only appeal to the more hardcore gamers that are generally males in their teenager and adult years, and thus only be aimed at that specific demograph of people.

2008 trailer to the 2009 videogame Sims; advertising the then-upcoming PC and Mac releases.

Trailers like this one for Sims 3, for example, don’t make themselves stand out as anything more than what it is; a real-life simulator where you control the lives of the people you create. It doesn't try to appeal to the demographs for people that are into platformers or into shooters and so on, and only tells the truth of the game rather than lying to try and draw audiences than what it currently has in. It’s true purpose is to appeal to it’s demograph, and show that it is simply a larger expansion over Sims 2 without detracting from the core gameplay.


Do they fit into certain genres or styles?

Game trailers can be put into different categories, even though there aren’t too many to categorize them as. Trailers range from revealers that contain a minimal amount of content to give a very quick glimpse at the future content (Reveals), to teasers that are small in size and only features small pieces of pre-rendered graphics and imagery (Teasers), to normal trailers that just give a very brief look at what’s coming and what to expect from the product (Trailer). All of these trailers can boast different styles to them; the trailers for Braid and Sonic Generations that I presented earlier are good examples of two distinct styles of trailers.Braid’s trailer focuses on the strong, deep feeling that Braid gives to players through it’s use of only written dialogue to narrate the game, which the cryptic comments about freely traversing through time without any consequences add to and force the player to sit down and think what they could truly mean. While having an interesting and catching gameplay style, more attention is specifically drawn to it’s unique idea of making the player really think about what the game is trying to symbolize and enforce thoughts about.Sonic Generation’s trailer focuses on celebrating the anniversary of the franchise, and showcasing it’s nostalgia-driven excitement for seeing stages from past games re-envisioned with the newer technology they use, and boasting entirely new layouts and design elements to make them feel fresh while also feeling familiar to what they are at the core. It only offers narrative to establish the minor story the game has and the content it’s revisiting from past years, and otherwise has a larger focus on the nostalgia the game’s using as it’s main selling point.All in all, it really comes down to what the product is about. If the game is really serious with it’s setting and story, then a trailer for it can’t really be made to try and make it stand out as more comical humor driven.


How would I design a Game Trailer?

The game trailer I am choosing to design for this part of the task is focused around a recent story idea. I have talked about this on the blog for this college year in an off-hand comment regarding my choice of ‘steampunk’ for some of the previous work, and had posted up a variety of ideas for it on my deviantART gallery along with a rough sketch (that was poorly scanned, to boot) of some of the concepts. Also worth noting is that in the last two days of the Mr. Watt enrichment task, I simply exchanged my characters with the Mr. Watt characters and wrote out a quick, rough story to fit the Mr. Watt characters into it. This was all due to a lack of ideas and inspiration for what to do with them and actually have something for the task.The idea of the trailer will be to highlight:- The 2D platforming style of the game, inspired by amazingly inspirational and creative titles such as Braid, Limbo, Super Meat Boy, and Toki Tori; all of which have been praised for their unique takes on the 2D platforming genre after years of Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog clones.- The alternate-Victorian steampunk look and feeling, which is my own personal highlight and what I feel would make this game particularly special.- The game’s strong emphasis of the single Action button that causes a majority of the action in the world alongside the Jump button, and allows for immense interactivity with the world around you.- It’s use of physics-based mechanics so that, for example, box objects can be grabbed and pulled up a slope, then released and sent flying forward with the momentum it would be carrying.- The comically exaggerated deaths that occur from failure, such as pushing the box up the slope as opposed to pulling it up from the other side, and releasing the buttons; this results in the box knocking the character over as it slides down, and running over them and crushing them. It does not feature any sort of gore or natural violence to it.


Storyboard for Game Trailer idea

Action: Pan across Victorian London

Rooftopsduring daylight

Description: Shows London before the

events of the prologue, along with all the

steam-powered airships and other

noticeable technology gaps that exist due

to the Victorian’s vision of 20th century

technology being realized.

Sound:Cheerful, gives a sense of world

peace and prosperity

Action: Pan across a dystopian Victorian

London during night

Description: Shows London after the

events of the prologue in it’s state of

disrepair from the worldwide-scale

earthquake strike.

Sound:Dangerous, dark, gives a sense of

the world being in ruins and facing a dark



Storyboard for Game Trailer idea

Action: Pan across Victorian rooftops and

showing a character vaulting over chimney


Description:Gives the first view of what

one of the characters in the game will be,

and going by the action that they are

doing, indicates they are likely to be the

main playable character.

Sound:See previous

Action: Gameplay of character doing

normal platforming

Description: Demonstrates the basic

gameplay element of using the Jump

button to travel across obstacles, over pits,

and so forth.

Sound: See previous


Storyboard for Game Trailer idea

Action: Gameplay of character doing


Description: Demonstrates the basic

gameplay element of using the Action

button to interact with the world, such as

pulling on the sides of moveable boxes to

drag and move them to where you choose


Sound: See previous

Action: Gameplay of character accessing

alternate routes through the level and

hidden objects

Description: Demonstrates the ability to

access different ways through the game by

utilizing Jumpingand Actions to build new

ways forward. These will include things

such as a box being pushed over a steam

vent, waiting until steam starts pouring

outside the bottom of the box, and then

pushing the box off and letting a burst of

steam propel the character into the air.

Sound: See previous


Storyboard for Game Trailer idea

Action:Gameplay of the character dying

and time jumping back

Description:Demonstrates what happens

when the player fails and does something

that would typically lose a life in a normal

platformer, instead forcing time to reverse

back to before the unfortunate fate.

Sound:Briefly pauses with the death,

then plays a brief reversed version of the

tune from before during the time reversal

Action: Montage of various other

gameplay moments

Description: Provides more quickly

alternating looks at the kind of gameplay

that will come up, and then switches to a

shot of the main character standing to the

side of a chimney, as a large airship looms

overhead while releasing a massive

amount of black steam from it’s various

engine outputs at the bottom.

Sound: Audio starts to take on a slightly

more dramatic tone with the newer

gameplay footage, and deepens with the

shot of the character and airship


Storyboard for Game Trailer idea

Action:Far-away shot of London’s clock


Description:The shots of the clock face

are made closer and closer with each

second that passes, with the clock just

about to strike the next hour. Screen fades

to black on the very last second, before

the loud noise that comes up.

Sound:Audio grows quieter and sound of

the clock gets louder as it draws closer

towards it

  • Action:Release of steam over black screen,
  • logo appears after steam fades
  • Description:As the clock strikes the hour
  • with the black screen, a portion of steam
  • with a hissing sound is released and fades to
  • reveal the logo of the product. There is a line
  • after Re at first, but rotates to reveal a W
  • shape, and then keeps rotating back into a
  • line, then a M, and loops until the end.
  • Sound:Sound of steam hissing, and small
  • gears churning in time with the rotating
  • letter
credits references
Credits & References
  • All original information, videos, and images located at;