Published on May 21, 2014
Don’t Make an Extreme Video Game Trailer Mistake! Most people are familiar with the art and craft of cinema. Anyone can rattle off a whole list of things that make a video good or bad, like the use of color or black and white, the camera being shaky or in soft focus, or perhaps the use of a soundtrack. But when a gamer watches the trailer for a video game, the animation companies responsible for that piece of cinema have all new pitfalls and hazards to avoid. Attention to Detail: Extreme Edition When watching cinema, everyone loves to spot a good mistake. Viewers pride themselves for catching sight of a boom mic falling into frame, or they get a laugh when they realize they’ve caught a glimpse of the camera’s reflection in a mirror. The same is true for video game trailers. But in these cases, the mentality is more intense. Animation production companies tasked with creating a good video game trailer must consider a special audience: gamers. Gamers are looking for more than plot or characters. They are scrutinizing every frame for spoilers, graphic glitches, and software issues. Buzz around new video games is huge in the gaming industry, and if an animation company fails to catch a mistake, glitch, or bug, the industry will not likely forget. Advancements in Technology In recent years there has been a trend toward nostalgia and visiting the past through film, as seen in The Artist (2011), which was filmed in black and white, or The Master (2012), which was filmed in 65 mm film. Stylistic throwbacks can be seen in popular platforms like Instagram’s photo-editing effects and fashion, as well. But new technology drives the gaming industry. Even if people fondly remember retro Tetris or Pac-Man, gamers are looking for the latest in the trade, and animation production companies will have to flaunt as many new developments as they can. For proof, consider the Nintendo 64: the ‘64’ is named after the 64-bit CPU processor, the largest at the time. Or one might consider the Wii, whose success comes purely from technological advancement. A talented animation production company will pack each frame of the video game trailer with shots of detailed graphical advancements and newer, more complex gaming mechanics to catch the eye of the viewer. Disappointing the Audience: Extreme Edition If they are not careful, animation production companies can allow these two factors to become the perfect storm for video game blowback. Gamers often invest great time and attention in playing and winning video games, and when the gameplay they experience does not match the gameplay portrayed by the animation company in the trailer, the sense of disappointment and betrayal is that much worse. For example, consider a YouTube celebrity who has created a successful career from pure and simple gamer bitterness. “The Angry Video Game Nerd” hit his most popular days in 2008, boasting hatred for bad games. Bad games, for this YouTube celebrity,
are defined by technical flaws, unsatisfying gameplay, and, as outlined here, not living up to the hype promised by a new game. His bitterness has resonated so deeply with the gamer community that he has become successful enough to make his own “Angry Video Game Nerd” movie, released in 2014. It may sound tricky to avoid all these mistakes, but any good animation production company can do it. They only need appreciation and respect, both for the game and the gamers. About Powerhouse Animation Powerhouse Animation is a traditional 2D animation studio based in Austin, Texas. Since 2001, Powerhouse has been making ideas come to life through animation, illustration, and motion graphics. With a staff of 35 in-house artists, animators, videographers and designers, Powerhouse works on a wide variety of projects and has created animation for companies including Disney, Sony, Marvel, DC, Old Spice, Coca Cola, Miramax, the USO and more. To learn more about some of these projects visit www.powerhouseanimation.com.
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