Researching Trailers 18/09
What is a game trailer? A trailer is an advertisement for an upcoming videogame. Using recordings to show gameplay or the graphics and environment, or cinematics made for the game or specifically for the trailer to show the world and major dynamic story points within the game. Narration or text scrolls are often used to develop characters or set back-story, and occasionally to describe gameplay. First being in character, the second as a direct advertisement. Trailers will show what happens within the game and attempt to make it look good, rather than directly saying why and that it is good, as media advertisement has to differ due to individual opinion changing drastically.Trailers were named as such, as original movies were advertised at the end of other films. The adverts trailed.
Purpose The purpose of a videogame trailer is to advertise the game to potential customers, it needs to keep their attention and show that the game has content that the viewer will find entertaining. Showing game-play is important, so the viewer can see what the game is like, and the target audience will be more likely to buy it. They only show the game-play that is the most exciting, defines the game the best, or seems the most fun. To keep the viewers attention and make the trailer memorable, ensure the target audience knows it’s for them, and make viewers want to experience the full game. Cinematics are shown to create the mood of the game, normally showing the plot. They are better used for viral advertisements, as cinematics will get viewers interested in the story telling of the game, and encourage it into conversation and media, creating more hype about the game.
How game trailers are created To hype up an upcoming game, several advertisements are needed. Cinematic trailers are generally used. If the company is ‘lazy’ they can use cinematics already in the game, but original cinematics are usually used. These create an impression that the game is important or ‘a big deal’, that it deserves a movie style plotline and world. This only works for games with story, but it does show the audience that your game has a good story, usually emphasising or exagerating it. Gameplay trailers are usually made with some sort of narrative to connect the displays. But are mostly used to show off the play style, and impress the target audience with what they could do. Music from the games soundtrack normally used on top of the gameplay. Normally with a signature soundtrack help the trailer stick in the viewers mind.
How they are shown If a company is confident that their game will do well, but would like to ensure it does better, a teaser campaign is done first. Small hints that a game is coming out or about what will be within the game. This raises initial excitement about the game, and will cause chatter among forums and friends, creating wide-spread interest. Teasers can be shown through most mediums. But as they are not needed to be seen by many by chance, the internet is the most common, followed by magazines, this fits well for viral spreading by fans. Later trailer campaigns will be shown on television more often, but the internet still has the most. Internet works well as it is almost free, spreads well, and target customers are likely to come across them, with frequent websites and web-searches. With television and magazine advertisements, the ads will be seen in teenager media, as teens, and fans of this media, are the target audience for most games.
Target audience The target audience for most major games are between 15 and 25 years of age, primarily male. But age brackets outside of this can be targeted as niche appeal, and many games target females almost exclusively. An average game tends to contain a fair amount of adult content, generally violence. And so positioning is important, Advertising Modern Warfare after Tweenies will not boost sales. But the more kid friendly games, aimed at families, such as Mario Brothers or Super Smash Bros could well be advertised in public areas, such as bus stops, or after family friendly movies and shows. Though in practise, television advertisements are based on age group alone. Magazines are a good example of audience targeting. A young childs comic is a good place for a childs game, and a specifically female magazine is ideal for a game specifically targeted at females. Gaming magazines aren’t technically advertisements, but getting word of your game into one will get gaming fans attention. The major target audience is a prime target for any game company, as they don’t tend to have enough games at any point. But for subclasses of this group, such as shooter fans or MMO players. Advertising sequels is best done on a page about the previous game, and an MMO, generally played one at a time, could best be advertised nearby a previous MMO page, in an attempt to ‘usurp’. Genres of games can advertise themselves well to specific fans.
Trailer genres Video games come in very many different genres and sub genres. To name a few there are: Platformers Puzzle Shooter Survival Etc... Different genres have different requirements when advertising, so trailers can be separated by genre. A platformer or puzzle game will likely have mostly gameplay in trailers, to acquaint players with the mechanics, and make the game more appealing when it is first played. It will also introduce difficulty this way, likely attempting to make the game seem challenging but not frustratingly so, showing a successful completion of a level accomplishes this. Survival games will be mostly cinematic, and even the gameplay parts will be shown in a heavily narrated style, creating the mind-set of a serious and deadly environment, and using lighting, pacing and music to create a tense ambience, creating the impression that the game itself is as suspenseful and scary as the trailer. These trailers will be very similar to horror movie trailers. A shooter trailer will be fast paced, with the impression of an adrenaline fuelled power-house gameplay, most similar to action films. Suiting with the audience, it will probably show off guns and abilities that can be used for the fast paced killing. This will be coupled, either in the same trailer or a teaser, with some background to set the atmosphere, letting the player know if it is a serious horrors-of-war realism shooter, or perhaps a light hearted murder-is-fun shooter, or in between.
How to make a trailer With making a trailer, there are two possible directions. An original cinematic trailer, made to spell out the narrative, normally used for teaser trailer campaigns, or a gameplay trailer, displaying actual in-game footage and animations. A combination could be made, which would be assigned into the latter category. The former should stick in the viewers mind, showing interesting characters and a story they wish to hear the end of, so the cinematic will be best set at the game start, to avoid spoilers and drag the viewer in. It is also a good chance to show off your graphics engine, displaying the environments and characters in the highest quality to impress viewers, even if the gameplays graphics are less impressive. A cinematic trailer is a good place to introduce characters, especially the protagonists. Showing the characters emotion and story will make people more deeply involved with the game, and showing his actions, replicating gameplay, will advertise the game mechanics, and exaggerate the enjoyment of the gameplay. Cinematics can also introduce the play-style, if not as much as gameplay trailers. Clearly showing the major game mechanics will introduce/advertise it. Creating the atmosphere (e.g.. Horror environment, wide exploration, action packed) is also well accomplished in cinematics, and is good for advertising.
How to make a trailer, cont- For the game-play trailer, the first thing to do is to pick out a collection of in-game footage to use, this will depend much on the type of game. The parts chosen should show the game to be fun and interesting, and highlight the mechanics and mood of the game. If a game has a unique game mechanic which is integral to gameplay, the trailer should show how it works, so it is not totally foreign. Also, new mechanics are always a good thing to advertise, so it’s good to exaggerate how important it is, and how much you can do with it in order to catch viewers interest. The chosen game-play examples should give the player the right mind set, whether it’s a tactical shooter or an isolated horror game. The examples of game-play must, above all, encourage the viewer to play the game, So show varied uses of mechanics to persuade viewers that the game will not get dull, and interest them enough that they will buy the game to see what else there is. Show the tactical parts of shooters, creative solutions to puzzles (just the completion to avoid spoilers), combinations of mechanics within strategies, patience and terror within horror, etc…
My trailer A videogame concept I’ve loosely thought up without a name. You play a mechanic on a really, really large space station working as a science colony, the space station was stocked with the greatest scientific minds on Earth, but became stranded in space, technology and sciences in the station have advanced drastically. In a voluntary biology experiment to earn money after being made redundant by robots, the protagonist is granted technokinesis in an accident. (Technokinesis- psychic control over machinery.) The ships automated defense systems recognise this as a threat, and classify the protagonist as a virus to be erased. In the game you have to traverse the different sections of the station and manually reach the control centre to stop the ship, as you are unable to use electronic communication or transport. You have two support characters; a female scientist who developed the neural experiment that gave you your powers, and a sentient watch that gained self awareness from being at the centre of the technopathic electric al storm.
“Welcome to day 8761 aboard the Sextuple S; Science colony ship” “We hope you are enjoying this brief stranded period, and remind you of our motto: ‘If I’m not progressing humanity, I’m hindering it’” [shots of the spaceship, showing the technology]
[protagonist is brought for a neural-experiment] “Please step into the chamber, sir. You’ll receive your credits when you survive the procedure. If you retain frontal brain activity” “Wait, what was that last part?” “Please evacuate biological enhancement research center 17. Or repent.” “Oops” [explosion]
[pans of supporting characters] “Hey, pal. You’re awake, great. Listen, good news and bad news. The bad news is that your brain is now carrying a computer virus, as the ships defense mechanism have recognized you as a threat to be erased” “The good news is that you got some effin’ sweet psychic powers from it. Science, am I right?”
[Begin gameplay demonstration. Fast paced electronic music together with displays of technokinitic powers, enemies, and displays of graphics with enviroments and characters]
[insert logo] Rated 15 [scenes of violence and adult themes]