Whelp! I’m used to June being centered around games, reveals, trailers, conferences, and streams, but this year — even without a real E3 — it’s explosive.
There are so many streams, I can hardly keep up. So thank you, Belghast, for making this list with all the streams and links. I’ll come back to it and make sure I watch all the streams I’ve missed so far.
I’ve watched most of them so far and I’m seeing a lot of repeated content, but the added gameplay/interview segments are amazing. It’s nice to see gameplay played by the hosts instead of someone who’s already played the game for 100+ hours because they need to test everything. I want to see players experiencing the game as newbies. Because I will be a newbie, and I will fail miserably most of the time.
It’s like seeing clothes on normal-sized models instead of size zero or two models with no boobs or butt.
So let’s talk about trailers. The streams are filled with them, but will they actually sell me any games?
What makes a good trailer (imo)?
Disclaimer: This is all my opinion and should not be taken as ‘this is the gold standard’.
Most trailers (not teasers) should include at least some of the following:
- In-game footage
- An introduction to the player character
- An introduction to the setting
- A question or hook
I put ‘in-game footage’ first. Why? Because we want to know what we can expect visually. Games are still a visual medium and thus the art style and graphics can heavily influence our decision to (not) play a game.
Gameplay! I can’t stand trailers without gameplay. That’s what we’re going to do for, who knows, 60+ hours? I need to see the combat system (if there is one) because I can handle some better than others. I need to know if it’s first or third-person. Because I can’t play anything first-person and thus the game would be a not-buy if it is.
Every good piece of marketing needs a hook. We as an audience need to care, need to have a reason for wanting to play. I wouldn’t necessarily say the question or hook is a call-to-action, but it’s part of the sales funnel. With a dozen space-related games announced across multiple genres, why would I care about your game?
This is where the introduction to the character(s) and setting comes in. Maybe this is enough to convince some players. Like the teaser for Cyberpunk 2077. I’ve heard so many players loving the setting, and most of them didn’t even care about what kind of game it was (or would be).
For some games, the character and setting, with a small bit of gameplay are enough to show what the game is about. Think about Journey. There is no textual story. It’s all told through narrative design. It makes you wonder, and that is the hook.
Solar Ash had the same kind of vibe. There was no need to introduce the story. The character moving through the world and interacting said more than words could about what kind of game it is. Based on the trailer, I would try it.
Trailers or teasers?
I saw two trailers, Project Athia and Star Wars: Squadron, which only featured video segments, although they say in-game footage. You get a sense of the graphics you can expect. (Please don’t. We all know how deceptive these things can be.) But we see nothing of the combat system, UI, or what’s actually something we will see outside of the cutscenes. I wouldn’t say these are trailers, they’re teasers. They want us to become curious about the game, but it’s not made to sell us the game.
I’m curious about what we’ll see when they’ll reveal more about Squadron later this week, but I’m not holding my breath about any new info on Project Athia.