Giving a Book a Good Cover (Pt. 2): Effective Game Play Trailers

Some of the questions that were left unanswered in the launch trailer should be answered by the game play trailer, but not all of them. The trailer should peel back the consumer’s eyelids and let them read chapter 1, tempt them enough so they want to read chapter 2…and cause them to purchase the game.

What persona will the player be immersed in when he or she sets down to play? Game play trailers should attempt to open up more clues to the games actual storyline. It should expose the player to playable locations not seen in the launch trailer. Most importantly it should show actual GAME PLAY. Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed “Cello” trailer (below) did all this well and successfully intertwined music with game play to provide an atmosphere the viewer wanted to return to.

Game play and how it is presented in a trailer can make or break a games success. All the teaser trailers and launch trailers presented prior will not make a difference if the game play shows poorly. Game play chosen for these trailers should include a broad range of in game action but should highlight the more unique aspects of the game play. As in Assassin’s Creed “Cello” trailer, the more unique game play definitely benefits from being cued in with the music. Keep in mind trailers are creative spins on the final product so, as was the case for some with Assassin’s Creed, don’t purchase the game purely from game trailers or you might find yourself a little disappointed. Game reviews and word of mouth still hold the most clout over a games commercial and player embraced success.

If you see a game play trailer that shows very little game play, be wary, and hold off on a purchase until more is revealed. Hiding actual game play from the gamers should be a sign of a poorly made game. This also holds true for game trailers that misrepresent their game play by only showing climatic gaming moments.

When a game is bold enough to release trailers that are made up entirely of in game footage/play then you can assume it will be a quality product. The developer is no longer teasing you with possibilities or brief glimpses of what will end up in the consumers hand but is showing game play you will be missing if you decide not to buy. Strictly game play trailers should immerse the player in the games world and attempt to connect you to the story – make it feel personal. The upcoming Battlefield 3 (due to release Fall 2011) has successfully been presenting game play through episodic trailers with the most recent (at publish) provided below.

Just like a drug dealer, Battlefield’s episode 3 trailer presents you with intense moments and tries to create euphoric feelings within the viewer with the hopes they return for more.

Although we shouldn’t judge a game entirely by its “cover” we should pay close enough attention to what they present so we can decide if we want to “read” more.

*Thanks to GamingNerdHerder’s board of consultants for insight on this post.

Giving a Book a Good Cover (Pt. 1): Effective Launch Trailers

Launch trailers are the book covers of video games; something we shouldn’t judge but sometimes do anyways. Launch trailers (trailers for a game soon to be launched) are supposed to make us pick up that book and open its cover.

How many game trailers have you come across that motivated you to post them via your social network or instantly purchase the game? More likely, how many times have you stopped a game trailer before it finished?

Game trailers can have a huge impact on awareness for a new franchise or create the necessary buzz at the start of a stretch marketing campaign. Some trailers can cause instant purchasing, especially when it is presented via a digital download service like STEAM (the leading digital PC gaming download service and social network with 25 million+ users).

If your looking to generate awareness amongst potential buyers and get them to open the cover, then how should your game trailer be presented? It needs to contain a good representation of the games atmosphere and create interest by leaving somethings, like game play, unknown. A launch trailer captures and holds your interest but leaves you with some questions. Perhaps those same questions will lead you to do your own investigating and start “reading” the game. A great and recent example of this type of trailer can be seen in Dead Island’s launch trailer here

The Dead Island launch trailer, if presented to an audience on STEAM, will more than likely NOT create a desire to pre-purchase but would generate the desire to learn more. That desire to learn more may lead that potential customer to the game’s website and transform that inquisitiveness into the desire to purchase. At the least, the launch trailer will put the games name in the head of the buyer and when more information on the game becomes available (like a game play trailer) the buyer will take notice.

Join the herd next week for Pt. II of Giving a Book a Good Cover where we look at game play trailers and what makes them view worthy, from start to finish. If you have any game play trailer(s) that impacted your decision, positively or negatively, to purchase please let me know about them in comments.