Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Tale of Two Trailers

It’s like a whoopee cushion at the end of an opera.
~~Justin "Syp" Olivetti

Please forgive my language in this post. I am just dumbfounded.

Have you seen this trailer?

If I had not clicked through the link from the official Guild Wars 2 Twitter account, I would have have thought it was a trailer for The Secret World. There is no indication of what the trailer is actually for or what it is about until the very end. I get no feeling that matches the feelings I have actually playing Guild Wars 2. It does not match the game. Contrast that with the actual launch trailer for The Secret World:

Holy shit! THAT trailer evokes exactly the feelings I get playing TSW: the sense of dread and danger. The knowledge that I am part of the thin red—and blue and green—line that is all that stands between the World and the Darkness.

I am not making a judgement between the two games. Just saying that the trailer for one gives me chills. The other just leaves me saying, "What the fuck just happened?"


  1. The GW2 launch trailer falls completely flat. I don't buy the argument that they're trying to use it appeal to non-mmo gamers either, because if they are, I'm not sure how effective it is. I've already shown it to some non-gamer friends on a forum I belong to, asking them if they knew nothing about the game what does the trailer make them think of it, and whether or not they'd play it.

    About a dozen people have responded, and answers range from flat out "no, it doesn't really do much for me" to "it makes the game look very lame."

  2. Having now played both games, i'd clearly without a doubt say TSW wins hands down a hundred times over in the feeling I get watching both Trailers and arouse much more curiosity. I can connect much more with the TSW one than with the GW2 one. Hell if the TSW one was a movie i'd go watch it. Hell the Secret World can actually be a movie, as the possibilities and intrigue are endless. The GW2 one I don't quite get.

  3. I just replied at length over at Syp's so I'll keep it brief. I think the point of the GW2 trailer is that it's aimed at people who don't currently play online roleplaying games. It's not surprising that dyed-in-the-wool MMO players are scratching their heads - this isn't aimed at them because ArenaNet already *has* their attention.

    Whether it works is another matter altogether. I think the live action part is fine, if cliched. It clearly does represent the game. The stacked conceits are Actor = aspirational idealization of Viewer : Game Character = aspirational idealization of Actor. In other words, the person watching wishes he or she was like that cool girl swimming underwater and the cool girl wishes she was this magical fantasy woman so since the person watching can't actually *be* the cool underwater girl the next best thing is to get this game and be that girl's fantasy instead.

    All of which is holed below the waterline by the Asura, the first glimpse of which is going to make anyone not already immersed in the genre go "what the hell!? Is this thing for five-year olds?".

    I think it's a waste of time trying to reach that demographic in the first place, and this isn't the greatest attempt to do it, but I give them credit for trying.

    1. Wow, brief. ;P

      But seriously, I ranted all over the bottom of Syp's comments. After re-watching it just now, I still don't think the trailer reaches whatever audience the marketers tried to target, even with the voiceover. The clay person with glowing cracks and even the underwater lady sort of make sense, but the detour into graffiti and firewalking don't. And I have to disagree with your comments about the typical gamer nowadays. While there are plenty of schlubby gamers like me (and you?), there are plenty of "cool kids" playing too. Come to think of it, even the NCSoft and/or ArenaNet logos at the beginning would have clued people in to the purpose of the trailer.

    2. Like I said in my comment, I don't buy the "aimed at people who don't currently play online roleplaying games" angle either. Or maybe it's like you said, whether it worked is another matter altogether. My non-gaming friends are a small sample, but they're pretty average folks, within GW2's targeted demographic, and they're probably even more turned off by this trailer than I am.

      The other thing that makes me doubt the argument is that this is a trailer that I've seen marketed and talked about mostly on game sites and game blogs, etc. I may be wrong about this, but to my knowledge it's not a commercial that will get airtime on TV, etc. If you're not a gamer already, what are your chances of stumbling upon it by yourself or clicking on the video to view it, I wonder.

    3. Very true. Any buzz—good or bad—it is generating seems to be among people already playing or at least already aware of the game.

  4. Even considering that I did not like TSW very much (mostly gameplay concerns, with some art style preferences to top it of), I completely agree with you. The Secret World trailer, while using a very basic and beaten-to-death style tells you what you need to know about the game. It's a trailer that tells you "if you like weird, creepy things, this is for you". It's not original, but it's effective.

    The new GW2 trailer... I honestly don't know what they were thinking. It's not on the game's visual style, it's the wrong mood, it doesn't say anything about the game except showing it as "just another fantasy game", it spends most of the time talking about "breaking the mold" concepts that... well, everybody likes to say their games are doing, and it's hardly ever true, so most viewers tend to take with more than a grain of salt. It even changes the long established tagline from "This is my story" to "Our time is now", and you have to jump through a lot of mind hoops to get exactly what is the point.

    I find it really a complete failure as a trailer, and I really don't buy into the "there is no bad press" marketing mythos, I have seen a lot of good products taken down because of marketing problems.

    Ps.: I really don't know why I haven't been following your blog longer, but your comments on Syp's blog sold me. It's good to see people that appreciate the good use of logic, manners and common sense. Cheers.

    1. Thank you very much for the vote of confidence. I try to keep it civil both here and elsewhere.

      Obviously, I am also of the opinion that there is such a thing as bad press. Meh, in the next couple days we'll all be talking about something else. :)

  5. The GW2 trailer didn't do much for me. Granted, I've never played GW2 (or GW at all), nonetheless, it certainly didn't make me want to run out and try it.

    The TSW trailer was better, showed a little more of what the gameplay might be like. Again, I have yet to play TSW, but unlike the GW2 trailer, I know have a slightly better understanding of what I might expect if I were to start playing.

    And now for something completely different.


    1. LOL awesome. That's pretty all you need to know about Locks and Pally

  6. It very much reminded me of the Mr. Plow commercial from an old Simpson's episode (oddly, only the Spanish version is available) on you-tube):


    Not shown in the clip, is Homer's reaction where he turns to Marge and says "I don't understand my commercial" or something to that effect.

    More on topic, I can't imagine a sizable target audience that GW2 spot would be effective at reaching. The contrast between the dark palette and gritty mood of the bulk of the video with the bright pastel hued game play footage creates the impression that GW2 is a cartoon world aimed at tweens.

    1. Ah those crazy Simpsons. Who knows, maybe it is a bunch of teens they're trying to reach. Tey would be the only ones truly impressed with the graffiti artist and the firewalker, not mention the idea of overthrowing the status quo, at least in the youthful rebellion that seems protrayed here. As Mekhios said in the commentary on Syp's post, ours is a generation largely immune to marketing gimmicks.

      In that sense it reminds me of how old McDonalds, Taco Bells, and Burger Kings both had orange and red color schemes, because those colors increased people's appetites, right up until people realized it was a manipulation and/or the color schemes began to look dated. Then they started to decorate.