Games: Trailer failure

 
 

The use of cinematic trailers, while enticing gamers, builds up expectation to unrealistic proportions, writes Matthew Jones

I’ll be frank, I’m a gamer, a geek. In fact, I’m so much of an n3rd that I spell it with a ‘3’. As such, I tend to get a bit excited whenever there is word of a new game in the pipeline. But when the news is accompanied by a trailer of excessive proportions, I get a bit lost in the moment.

Therefore, on March 3rd, when the trailer for Dead Island was released, I was more than a little excited. If you have not seen this trailer, go online and look it up, that is of course, after you finish this article.

This trailer is so packed full of cinematographic goodness that within a week, there was rumours of a movie deal in the works. Since then, the producers, Deep Silver, has been in talks. Despite rumours to the contrary, the rights to the movie are still very much up for grabs, with several parties apparently interested in making a deal.

Shortly before this announcement however, the next in the well-established Elder Scrolls series, Skyrim, was announced. No fancy trailers here, just some close ups of a statue and an old man doing a bit of narration. Yet why are there almost as many internet hits for an unknown game?

That bloody trailer. The sheer amount of hype for this game is unreal. The short movie, because it really is a movie, gives no details about the game and this led to a massive amount of speculation about the nature of the story, who the kick-ass father is and when it will be released.

Recently however, it has been revealed that the game may indeed be a Dead Rising clone, focused on action and adventure, instead of the tense, emotional story that we were promised.

This is a valid tactic though. It worked on me after all; I’ve gotten so invested in this game that I simply have to buy it to find out if it will be as good as I hope.

This has happened before after all. Let’s take Halo as an example; its ‘Believe’ advertising campaign promised us a far more epic story than was delivered. Yet the Halo 3 launch was, without doubt, one of the biggest multimedia events of all time, with well over one million copies of the game pre-sold during the campaign.

These methods are fast becoming the norm with computer games. Developers will always over hype their product before release, and unfortunately for people such as myself, we get sucked into it. If Dead Island delivers on what its trailer promises, it will break the normal trend. Alternatively, it could easily become yet another example of a game trailer creating hype that it can’t possibly live up to.

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