The Creation of T.A.O.: Trailer Analysis Overkill

Tonight, I formalize my game trailer reviews in to a recurring piece that I will call “T.A.O.: Trailer Analysis Overkill”. The concept is simple; I will attempt to scrutinize every aspect of a game’s trailer that I can wrap my mind around. I believe that there is much that can be drawn by becoming more than just a casual observer. The reason for this is all based in the most basic of business principles, “Time is money”.

Consider this: If your company in investing copious amounts of money in to the writing and development of a game, you’re going to want to advertise and promote it. One such method is to create a trailer that can become a TV commercial (30-60sec in length) or a trailer that can be viewed online for a more extended amount of time, say 90sec or more. for every second that the trailer is developed, it is costing the company money. every lighting effect needs to be calibrated, every word spoken must be recorded and mixed, and all staff involved in the recording, editing, mixing, and production of every element is expecting some for of compensation.

On the finished end, consider this side of the finances: a company has somewhere between 30-120sec to convince me to buy this game. How are you going to do it? They are going to cram as much information as they can in those seconds and hope that it’s done in some cohesive manner. But to capture all the elements of a modern game in that short amount of time? Characters, places, combat mechanics, scenarios, and settings must all be represented in some form.

So while the scenery may look pretty and the protagonists voice ominous, my thought is this: With all this money flying around in the development of this trailer, let alone the full game itself……way spend 3sec with a close up of some seemingly innocuous street merchant, unless she’s something more?


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