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Thread: Trailers without Gameplay

  1. #1

    Default Trailers without Gameplay

    I've noticed a few cases lately where companies have released trailers for their games that have no gameplay, and even no connection to the gameplay. The earliest one that comes to mind is the Halo 3 trailers, like this TV trailer or this E3 trailer. However, that one at least has the defense of being (at least at that time) the third game in a trilogy, so you shouldn't really be buying it without having played the first two or you won't understand the plot.

    The most famous example of a trailer not matching gameplay at all was the Dead Island trailer, which almost portrayed the game as being a lot more serious than it actually turned out to be. Most reviews after the release had the same conclusion - the game did not live up to its trailer.

    Finally, the most recent example of this I've noticed is the Rome 2: Total War live action trailer.

    (Description in spoiler)

    The Rome 2 Total War trailer in particular, unless Creative Assembly plans a drastic change of direction, has absolutely nothing with how Total War games actually play out. The element they focused on is an extremely minor gameplay element - assassinations are basically a percentage chance event when you use an assassin on a character, with no prior planning required. Most of the game is spent looking at maps, or armies in battle.

    Compare that trailer to the trailer for the original Rome. That trailer showed what was essentially a group of battles, rendered in game, that are totally plausible in game. Sure, it takes some liberties, such as using camera angles impossible when actually playing, and having unit compositions that no player would ever choose (like the all-cavalry julii army about halfway through), but there's nothing stopping you from having such battles yourself.

    Sure, the Rome 2 trailer is more cinematic, but that's not why people watch game trailers. If they wanted that, they could watch movie trailers, or better yet, actual movies. People watch gameplay trailers to get an idea of what's in the game that they are considering buying. If you don't show any gameplay, or near-gameplay, the trailer has, IMO at least, failed at its purpose, no matter how good the CGI is, or how dramatic the events portrayed.

    So what does everyone else think about cinematic game trailers vs. gameplay game trailers?

  2. #2


    Marketers will make trailers that they think will impress people and make them buy games, regardless of whether the trailer has anything to do with the gameplay.

    There is also the fact that over the past twenty years, video games have become less about the raw game mechanics with a story tacked on, to being full cinematic experiences in their own right. This has led to criticism that many games, particularly first person shooters, consist mostly of wheeling the player between set pieces with impressive visuals. Regardless, the content of trailers would be expected to reflect this trend.

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by x000017 View Post
    [...] that many games, particularly first person shooters, consist mostly of wheeling the player between set pieces with impressive visuals
    Not that there's anything wrong with this. It is wise, though, to be on your guard and not to mindlessly buy into hype produced by a cinematic trailer.

  4. #4


    I admit it. I've been burned by trailers before.

    There was that Dead Island one that you mentioned Hex, although I didn't actually buy it immediately after seeing it or anything I still ended up disappointed with the game (many months later I bought it then promptly sold it).

    This particular one though... gah it got to me so well!

    Not saying Deus Ex: Human Revolution was bad or anything! It was quite good.

    Just the fact that so many of the things occured in the trailer I just assumed would happen in-game, at least in a cutscene or something.

    Even some of the hinted story is different in-game. Argh, I bought it day one full price.

    Nope. 'Fraid not Okami. Silly wolf.

  5. #5


    Cinematic trailers are cool... you just want ones with real gameplay too...

  6. #6


    I am glad I almost always wait until I see gameplay/reviews (I didn't for ME3 or any final fantasy game though). But by waiting I definitely saved myself some thrown away money. Sure, games can still be fun without less-than-optimal gameplay, but if it starts affecting the game & causes frustration that is not self-inflicted, it ruins it for me. So sure, cinematic trailers are great for grabbing my attention, but I need a little more to actually buy it

  7. #7


    I think that game trailers show be required to contain gameplay footage. Actual gameplay, so cutscenes don't count. It doesn't give a fair representation if it is not based on footage from the actual game. That said, I don't mind if an ad contains footage that isn't gameplay, if it's used to add effect.

    I personally am not influenced by advertisements, to me, they just tell me that the game is coming out. If it seems interesting I will do research, I don't ever buy based on a 20/30 second advert.

    Adverts are like statistics, you can make them say almost anything that you want them to.

  8. #8


    I hate it! It's such a waste of time to introduce the characters and visuals if I don't even know if I'm going to like the game behind them. It's annoying and subversive and it makes me want to buy games less when they don't advertise the content, just the visuals.

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