Shortly after new games are announced, publishing companies tend to release an announcement or reveal trailer showcasing their upcoming product. Even though said trailer may look polished and beautiful, it does not necessarily reflect the content quality of the product.
Gamers love to get hyped up over a new game, but if the video that they are viewing is not representative of actual gameplay then what exactly do they gain from this type of media?
A well-known example of a game with a wonderful trailer that fails to represent its product is Dead Island. Publisher Deep Silver released a three minute long announcement trailer and it received widespread popularity, but when the game was finally released consumers were thoroughly confused and disappointed. Even though Dead Island scored decently with critics, many agree that the famed trailer represented little of the actual game’s graphics, cut-scenes, or even general quality. The video has nearly twelve million views, current comments and causes continual chills.
Why did the publisher release such a high caliber trailer when they knew that it did not feature gameplay? It has a history of and continues to sell games.
The video game industry uses CGI trailers purely to advertise their game. While they may give a general idea about what the game is about, they are never meant to show players what to expect. This line between fiction and reality often becomes blurred when publishers attend conferences, such as E3, and present multiple CGI ‘sneak peeks’ of an upcoming project.
Some publishers will justify CGI-rich advertisements by adding several seconds of actual gameplay during trailers, but frankly this tactic only causes more confusion among the gaming community. Even though many can tell the difference between CGI and gameplay footage, publishers should enlarge any texts that state “not actual gameplay” in order to make their motives clear to all.
If a company is truly confident in their product, they should release purely gameplay trailers in order to assure consumers of their product’s quality. We all like to see pretty movie-like videos with our favorite video game characters and environments, but is that really enough to secure a pre-order investment of $60 or more? I’m sure Destiny will be a wonderful game, but I will not be giving Bungie and Activision money for it without seeing more than three seconds of their work in action.
Some people love CGI trailers and see them as a way of causing conversation about a game. There is certainly an audience for this type of media, but almost all gamers agree that gameplay should come first. If publishers want to construct an action-packed movie-like trailer then maybe it should be released after the flesh of the game has been exposed. Make people love the game, not the glamour around it.
Be smart gamers; make companies work for your business. If a company states that they are not releasing any more details or footage at that time then wait until they show you their cards before you decide to go all in.