Game Dev Tips – Trailers
Game Dev Tips – Trailers

Game Dev Tips – Trailers

Find out how to make great game trailers with insight from Crytek's Director of Creative and Cinematic Services.

The latest installment in our Game Dev Tips & Tricks series is filled with invaluable insight about how to create awesome game trailers. A game trailer is your most important marketing asset and, very often, the first time your potential audience sees your game. First impressions count, and your trailer can make or break interest in your game. Today, we're delighted to be joined by Philip Roberts, Crytek's Director of Creative and Cinematic Services, who has led the creation of over 700 trailers during his career in games! Philip oversees the production of cinematic scenes and video game trailers across Crytek's games, and these tips will help you make sure your trailer lands with a splash! 

Three Tips for Creating Great Game Trailers

Think about the message!

A trailer is a sales tool and your most valuable one. It’s often the first time a potential player sees your game in action. A great trailer can raise awareness of your game and create online discussions, hopefully spreading the good word. So, consider what you want to say and its purpose at the beginning of any trailer project. Do you want to create an announcement trailer telling the world about the game for the first time? Or a feature trailer focusing on a single aspect of your game, such as a new DLC or gameplay mechanic? Or do you want to get the engaging elements of the story across? Once you know your core message and purpose, it’s important to keep this in mind throughout the whole process to create a well-focused marketing asset. Whatever you decide, your trailer should allow the audience to easily understand what type of game it is, for instance, FPS, RPG, or RTS, and if it is single-player or has co-op or multiplayer modes. Most importantly of all, make sure you leave them wanting to play it!

Consider narrative and structure

Generally, viewers will watch the first ten seconds of your trailer if they have stumbled across it or are viewing it out of curiosity. Beyond that, nothing is guaranteed. So don't waste time on logos or messaging slates at the start of your trailer. Present them with your best footage up front and show them what is unique about your game. Try and include a narrative hook that will keep them interested in watching more of the trailer. Viewer retention for a full trailer is a tricky thing to achieve, so thinking about narrative, pacing, and structure will improve your chances. The narrative of the trailer doesn't have to be story-driven, although it can be. It is more about the pace and flow of the shots. Try grouping similar elements together and always end your trailer with a call to action, so the viewer knows where to find out more about your game, when it is coming out, and the platforms it will be on.

Quality over quantity!

When someone sees a small black dot on a white sheet of paper, they fail to see the big picture, the almost pure white sheet of paper. Their eyes are instead drawn to the imperfection, the black dot. It’s always tempting for first-time trailer makers to show everything about their game in a trailer, but if a feature in your game is not ready or not that important or interesting, then don't show it. Trailers are your opportunity to show your game at its best, so focus on doing just that. Don't be forced into feeling you must fill a certain amount of time for your trailer or throw the kitchen sink at it. Typically, there are no rules on a trailer's length, and very often, less is more. So go for quality over quantity and show well-focused footage that delivers your messaging and leaves the viewer wanting more!  

You can check out some of our incredibly talented Creative Service Team’s work on Hunt: Showdown for further inspiration below:

Want more game dev tips? ICYMI, you can check out the previous installments in our Game Design Tips & Tricks series below:

Visual Effects Tips & Tricks

Narrative Design Tips & Tricks

Level Design Tips & Tricks 

Marketing Tips and Tricks

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