Game Hype and CG Trailers

Image By Flickr User: BagoGames (CC)

It’s hard not to get excited while watching game trailers isn’t it? Watching a trailer for a game you’re looking forward to feels a bit like looking into the future. It’s a glimpse of things to come, of what we might expect. How could it not be exciting?  Just look at this preview for Uncharted 4: A Theif’s End !

We don’t really have any idea what the gameplay will look like, but at this point do we really need to? I don’t really see why so many on the internet instantly condemn these sorts of trailers. Seeing gameplay is always a plus of course, and ultimately games are about gameplay. However, with triple-A games having become heavily focused on narrative, I would argue that the CG trailer is more relevant now than it was in the past. Especially in these early-development stages.

Lets look at that Uncharted 4 trailer again; we don’t get gameplay from it, but we do get something just as good: ideas. The combination of the somber music and Drake washed up on some beach give us a sense of the game’s tone. The voiceovers give us a sense of the state the characters are in. It sounds like Drake got out of the adventuring lifestyle after Uncharted 3 (to be with Elena?) and has stayed out of it for awhile, but not so long that Sully, who was already getting old in the first 3 games, can’t tag along on last time (so we’re talking a couple of years at most). It also reveals that Drake isn’t returning to this life by choice, so something big must have happened (to Elena?) Finally, we’re given the proper name of the game: A Thief’s End; it tells us that there will be some finality, and also introduces an important question: who is the thief the title is referring to, and what sort of end are they meeting?

What it does is give us something to speculate and stew upon. It’s by design of course, but should that really matter? Anticipation plays a huge role in what makes a new game exciting, so why not feed it a little bit? Of course it’s disappointing when a game doesn’t live up to the hype, but how many games have actually managed to do that? Even the great ones? These trailers may hype up games to unreasonable expectations, perhaps more often than not, but is it really a bad thing if it makes the wait into something fun an exciting?

How do you feel about CG trailers? Should they only be put out in the early stages? Perhaps even not at all? What do you see as their chief problem?