Editorial: The Trailers

No, it's cool that this image is here, I totally mention Bravely Default in the article.
It took a lot for me to not talk about Bravely Default this week.

I have a confession to make; I am a sucker for a game trailer. One of the pleasures I get out of life directly results from ignoring my television unless a game is being played on it. Because of this, every once in awhile, I will just set sail on the Internet’s vast ocean of videos and watch game trailers without it being forced upon me, often with no intention to ever play the game.

That probably sounds quite odd. The trailer, after all, is the keystone of the ersatz Rome the Hype Machine builds, calling all gamers to reside within its walls based on the hope that this game and none other will finally be the euphoric utopia they all deserve. Well, okay, it is fair to say I am over-stating things (not really). I do not exactly like the Hype Machine, but I can understand it from a certain point of view. If one can not augment the attractiveness of a product in advertising, then one will likely not create the market needed to make it a sustainable venture.

With game trailers, it is (or at least should be) common knowledge that actual gameplay footage is a shrinking addition, perhaps more of an afterthought, when it comes to the big budget titles. Some indie developers leave out gameplay, as well. Just to be clear, this is not a jab at the omission, but instead a note of the decision in making the ad. To be honest, I actually appreciate it more often than not because, as I stated, I enjoy watching them for their own sake. I think of it as a little movie, and some of these folks really know how to tell a story, or at the very least jump start one in the few minutes they are given.

Instead they draw penises on dirty cars and scream for no reason.
I wish the kids in my neighborhood did wholesome things like this.

Before I start rambling on about a few I have watched recently, and some of my favorites, I should probably preface this by saying that I have no film experience. I am not here to apply the Laws of Aesthetics or whatever cinema buffs call them, so do not read on expecting some higher level shits given, for I have none to offer. My enjoyment of them is based solely on the fact that they made me want to know more about either the characters or the story, and given that I tend to get sucked in to a well-woven tale, it should come as a surprise that I am taking a break from heavily petting Bravely Default to chatter on about such things.

I recently had the pleasure of catching the trailer for Silence: The Whispered World 2. I have not played the first game, nor did I do any research on it or the sequel at all in the interest of being able to retain how the trailer purchased a small parcel of land in some obscure cockle of my heart and proceeded to build a little house there.

The opening with a softly falling snow and ambiguous choral voices immediately set me up for the idea that some sort of innocence is about to be lost. The air raid siren bellowing over a sleepy town wastes no time in confirming that idea, and despite the one crying wolf every few Saturdays near my house, the siren’s warning still means dire things. As always, the play of children is interrupted by the very adult concept of war, and the smile on a falling snowman’s head was not lost on me as it morphed into a frown, despite the physics being questionable. The run to the bunker only seconds before the planes show up with the bombs is something that never seems to lose its power as an image, but in this case it may be overshadowed by a hand then a flash. Once the children are in the bunker, it appears someone else tries to enter and is caught in the inferno that has become the outside. All this, of course, rings a solemn bell because it is something that actually happens in the real world, and should that ever fail to stir emotion, I would say that said world is in terrible trouble.

Too bad the game is getting shit on hard right now.
Sir, I forcefully posit that my mustache is glory in the raw!

While I do consider the trailer for Silence to be rather powerful because it plays heavily on events of humanity’s past and present, I turn to The Order: 1886 which evokes a far different side of me, namely the one that thought The Matrix was the best film that would ever be made. I am not ashamed to admit that sometimes I like a game (or movie, I guess) with lots of guns and explosions.

That being said, I do still need to be interested in the story, and The Order‘s trailer did that for me while even including what looks like that rare gem of actual gameplay and not just cinematic cherries. Sure, in a typical American fashion, I am sold on dialogue delivered in any accent different from my own, but the snippets in the trailer serve raise my curiosity about the story. The rebels appear to have teamed up with the monsters? Overbearing figure head with a beard questioning a subordinate player character? Those are okay things, but doing all that in the past as opposed to some science fiction future sounds pretty interesting, though, I have been disappointed before. Regardless if I actually end up playing The Order, the trailer did get some action juices flowing, even with the tired bullet-timey combat shots. With what the trailer gives me, I would definitely commit to reading the book, if such a thing existed, just to see where the story goes.

I seriously don't remember what this had to do with the game.
No, guys, you’re supposed to be pulling down THAT guy’s statue.

Once in awhile, a trailer comes along that does not really get my blood pumping or make demands of my emotions, and just presents me with something I think is particularly cool to watch. I turn now to an old favorite of mine, the trailer for Fable 3, a game which I did actually play and do not recall ever finishing. I suppose that speaks to the game not being very memorable. In fact, I think I may have found it tedious, which explains why the hours spent have been shoved in some dark closet of my mind. At any rate, I still like the trailer, and I think the Black Angels tune has a lot to do with it because the visuals have been carefully placed to augment the slow rolling dread conveyed by the music. I may not have loved the game, but I can appreciate this the same way I used to replay a well made music video back when MTV actually played music videos.

So, we come to that time where I ask, and you answer, and we share laughs and lambastes to be forever immortalized in the Lusipurr.com archives. Have you got a game trailer that just made you go “wow,” or perhaps even “hmm?” What aspects would convince you to try the game in the first place? What would cause you to adorn your viewing screen of choice with a fist-sized hole?

4 comments

  1. But you *can* talk about Bravely Default! It is an excellent game!

    I have seen quite a few trailers with ‘wow’ factor, although the ability for me to be impressed has been consistently undermined by impressive trailers that are released in advance for games that turn out to be terrible.

    That said, Bloodborne’s advance footage looks excellent. I do not usually buy games on the strength of their atmosphere, but Bloodborne seems to be hitting all the right buttons. This is probably because the Castlevania series is more or less dead–something has to fill the void!

  2. I think most of the trailers I watch come from a game’s page on eShoo and PSN, rather than proper marketing trailers you’d watch on YouTube. I just want to see some gameplay to help convincing whether a game interests me a lot. Movie-style trailers do nothing for me. That said, one scheme that really convinced me to buy a game right away without even knowing much about it was when they included the Mega Man-styled Mighty Gunvolt with Azure Striker Gunvolt on its release. I liked that they could take a modern game and put it in a classic context to see where it was coming from, and giving that as a bonus was perfect marketing.

  3. @Lusipurr: Bloodborne does look good and is making investing in a new system that much more attractive for me. One more title I know I will play.

    @Dancing Matt: I think most people do the same, and I will usually seek out gameplay trailers if I’m interested. I don’t know why I group watch marketing trailers like one might do with Super Bowl ads, but I do.

  4. I’ve watched some early gameplay footage of Bloodborne, of a previewer (not a dev) running through the opening bits. And that indeed looked amazing from a design perspective.

    Like with the old RE games and Dark Souls 1 and Demon’s Souls I really admired (like, sat and studied) the world design and the layouts. I’m like a closeted architect or something. This is, of course, no guarantee that Bloodborne won’t disappoint. It could still play poorly, in the subtle ways Dark Souls 2 did. But even so, the atmosphere could make up for that shortcoming. I mean, DS2 wasn’t a TOTAL disaster, just a step down from something as amazing as its predecessor.

    As for trailers, my standout memory is when Baten Kaitos was being previewed back on the GameCube (and I was very excited for it since it looked like more Skies of Arcadia at the time) and the initial trailers used MUCH better voice talent than the actual game did. It’s comically back in the game, they even included an option to turn off the voice acting….for good reason.

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