How To Make A Video Game Trailer

Do you have a big budget video game you want to market to the masses? Does it star a gruff (white) man at the end of his rope facing impossible odds? And do you want to avoid showing any actual gameplay? Follow these simple steps for the perfect video game trailer!

By Tony Walter | May 24, 2013

Hello there. If you're here, I assume you've just finished creating a brand new "triple-A" video entertainment product, or video game. The good news is that the hard work is done. The bad news is that the hard work doesn't really matter. If your game isn't marketed in just the right way, your design studio will be shut down, and you'll be out of a job. Fortunate for you, I'm here to walk you through crafting the perfect video game trailer, that will inevitably lead to millions of sales. These techniques have been used by massive franchises such as Gears of War and Mass Effect. If you're lucky, maybe you'll get to release iterative, yearly sequels until the general public turns on you, and the past ten years of your life fill the GameStop bargain bin.

Step One: Slow Open

Your trailer should open slowly. Preferably, during this opening sequence, your trailer will focus on children, animals, women, or trees. This shows a state of peace or calm that your hero will be fighting for.

Bonus points for a female child playing.

It is wise to license music for your trailer.

Note that the licensed music does not need to actually appear in the final game.

Step Two: Establish Empathy For Hero

It is important for you to realize that your audience is morons. Regardless if this is the third in a trilogy, it is still important to establish your hero as good and admirable. And this should be done in the most obvious of ways.

Most of your audience live alone in their parents' basement. Thus, they relate well to a lonesome hero.

If the hero is not alone, be sure to really hammer-in the fact that he is a pretty good guy.

Keep in mind that no slow moments should appear in the final  game.

Step Three: Establish Hero As Great Warrior

Violence moves boxes. While I'm confident you were smart enough to shove as much unnecessary killing as possible into your game, it's vital that the audience has their blood lust satiated - in part - from watching your trailer.

A much weaker foe should now appear in your trailer.

The hero must kill as many as these foes as possible in as little time as possible. This establishes your hero as strong.

Your audience will expect lots of action.





Bonus Step: Dramatic Text Cuts

Market research found that inserting text between the cuts of these action sequences can increase your sales by roughly two thirds of a percentage.

The text should be simple and only serve to back up what the trailer has already established.

There is another eighth of a percentage point in it if the text doubles as the game's tagline.

Step Four: Formidable Foe

By now your hero should be established as both powerful and lovable. At this point, it is appropriate for you to introduce a true challenge for the hero. Generally speaking - and by "generally speaking" I mean always - the challenge takes the form of a very large enemy.

Keep in mind, there is no such thing as "too much" slow motion.

Dramatic timing with the soundtrack can be very effective for establishing the enemy as... an enemy.

Occasionally, it's appropriate to have your hero face many large enemies. You'll never hear me say he's trying to compensate for something.

Step Five: Your Hero Is F***ING Awesome

Remember that giant enemy you just revealed that everybody was super worried about? No big deal for your hero. This is where you establish exactly why you'll be playing as this guy. He's awesome!

Your hero will jump right at the giant enemy!

Seriously. Right in its face.

Or just charge directly at it, but really fast.

And there's always time for an angsty grimace just before the attack.

And sometimes, your hero will just strike a badass pose right in front of the enemy.

Step Six: This Is Probably The Most Important Step

What's your game called? Do you have a sick graphic with exploding text? NOW SLAM THAT RIGHT IN THE AUDIENCE'S FACE JUST BEFORE THE CLIMAX OF YOUR HERO SMASHING FACE WITH THE GIANT ENEMY. Who won the fight!? Did the hero beat up the monster!? Did he rescue that pretty lady he was with!? I guess to answer these questions, they'll just have to buy the game. Keep in mind that nothing in these trailers should actually be in the final game.

If you get some sweet sound effect to accompany your title card, even better.

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