REALTIME heads to XDS Summit

Our Games team are heading to Vancouver next week to attend the annual External Development Summit. If you’re going to be there and would like to meet up with our Executive Production team, Callum & Dave, please get in touch. We would love to show you how we support our clients with high-end CG trailers, cinematics, commercials and beyond!

Sea of Thieves: A Hunter’s Cry

Merrick won’t be able to keep his secrets safe forever… We are super excited to share the latest cinematic trailer we created for Rare’s Sea of Thieves.

Promoting the game’s newest time-limited Adventure, ‘A Hunter’s Cry,’ we loved breathing life into some of our favourite characters from the game.


Sea of Thieves at Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase 2022

Our favourite pirate adventure Sea of Thieves showed off the glory of sailing the seas, and the launch of its latest seventh Season at the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase this weekend. We were delighted to support our long-time collaborators, Rare, with the creation of this trailer – featuring the catchy tune we haven’t been able to get out of our heads all month!

The best game trailers of 2020

In spite of the pandemic, 2020 has been a huge year for games. Two giants, Sony and Microsoft, debuted their latest consoles, and some of the biggest franchises in the gaming world released their much-anticipated sequels. We may not have had a traditional E3, but that didn’t stop the sense of anticipation in the air as trailers dropped periodically to keep us glued to the screen.

But of the dozens of jaw-dropping trailers, which managed to snatch our attention this year? There was plenty of competition and we’re sure some of your favourites will be missing, but here are our picks of the ones that caught our eye. Let’s have a look. Oh, and we’ve limited ourselves to just one of our own trailers – it’s only fair…


Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – Cinematic world premiere 

For many, it feels about time Assassin’s Creed put the Vikings in the spotlight. This trailer has everything you want from an Ubisoft trailer. From the spray of the sea to the paint on Eivor’s face, the heavy detail and hyperrealism makes it easy for the viewer to really immerse themselves in the scene. 

The contrast between the description of the bloodthirsty savages and the reality of the Vikings’ quaint life is a nice way to spin an often misunderstood people. It almost makes you forget you’re watching an Assassin’s Creed trailer. Until the signature stealth blade comes out in a brilliant slow-motion shot. This one gets an A* for editing from us.


Fable – Official reveal trailer

Due for release next year, Fable captured the essence of the game in a short and sweet minute-long trailer. From the very first second, we’re captured by the realism of the sun rays that light up the fairytale scene. The trailer holds such intricate details, even managing to capture the damp humid air of the forest. 

Accompanied by that whimsical ethereal music, this trailer succeeds in creating a fully immersive and thrilling experience. All in only one minute. Many people will be waiting for this one with bated breath, as the beloved series has been MIA for too long.


Everwild – Official cinematic trailer

While we’re on the topic of Xbox, we have another pick from the Xbox Showcase earlier in the year. This time, it’s the newest IP from Rare – Everwild. Known for their groundbreaking entries on the N64, Rare saw a return to form with Sea of Thieves and look to have hit gold again with the beautiful Everwild. 

The trailer sells us on the mystic and intrigue of a fantasy world inhabited by wonderful creatures. The art style might be the biggest draw here, with its gorgeous colours and art direction that effortlessly replicates traditional animation visuals. It has many fans on the edge of their seats wondering what Rare can accomplish next.


League of Legends – Season 2020 cinematic trailer

The League of Legends 2020 trailer weaves between three different storylines. Showing a snowy scene, a cyberpunk jailbreak scene, and a creepy, more fantastical, scene. Flawless transitions between scenes, tie the stories together instead of just leaving them feeling kind of thrown together carelessly. It’s a testament to the game and the trailer’s direction that the three don’t seem jarring when next to each other. 

The transitions aren’t the only flawless feature of the trailer though; the music is synched up with the visuals so well that we feel like we’re there. Each blow the characters take is emphasised by drums and makes you feel it too. It’s a love letter for long-time fans of the game and built up plenty of hype.


Baldur’s Gate 3 – Cinematic reveal trailer

Baldur’s Gate is here to rival Hollywood movie trailers with their cinematic trailer., It’s brilliantly directed and, at times, almost too realistic. The creepy visuals are enough to make the toughest person wince. If you can brave it though, you’ll notice all the subtle details that make this trailer what it is. Unlike many of the trailers on this list, there’s no voice-over at all in this trailer. 

The visuals and the music handle the storytelling, and they do it perfectly. For Baldur’s Gate fans who were waiting for their next entry, they got exactly what they wanted.


A last-minute surprise (or two)…

To round out the end of the year, The Game Awards came along – as they always do. And with it came a number of surprise announcements, complete with some jaw-dropping trailers. It was a bit of a year of old franchises born anew, with compelling trailers for Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and Perfect Dark. Even Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins is back and looking better than ever.

And some franchises returned in everything but name. Back 4 Blood is the spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead, and The Callisto Protocol is channeling Dead Space. There were plenty of celebrity appearances throughout the event, but Vin Diesel himself turned up in the dino-riding sequel Ark 2. The entire show was full of amazing trailers; there was definitely something for everyone.

Hundreds of games were released this year that had amazing trailers to promote them. But of them, these ones stood out to us for us. If we had the time, we’d talk about all the ones we loved: Final Fantasy XVI, Far Cry 6, Horizon Forbidden West, Bugsnax, Avowed, and so many more.

From microscopic details to the overall scene, these trailers take the crown for creating exciting scenes that make us eager to get our hands on these games. So as we say goodbye to 2020, it’s nice to look back on the trailers that distracted us from the reality of all our lives. This isn’t just about the developers who make the games, but the studios who create these vivid, gorgeous trailers that capture us all. So to all our peers, thank you for everything you’ve done. Roll on 2021…

At REALTIME, we work with our clients to help them achieve their vision with their games. If you need help bringing your game to life, get in touch with me today at [email protected].

Are we ready for the “Netflix of gaming”?

The games industry is currently holding its breath. The start of the next gen battle is almost begun and we have some prices at last. The Xbox Series X and its smaller companion, the Xbox Series S, will cost $499 and $299 respectively (around £449 and £249). The PS5 is on an even playing field, with a cost of $499 for the standard edition and $399 for the digital edition (£449 and £359). But while we wait for the November releases, everyone is sort of just twiddling their thumbs.

To pass the time, some have turned to the wonders of Xbox’s Game Pass – a library of games you can peruse at your own pace for just pounds a month. And it isn’t the only such service out there. There’s also Uplay Plus, EA Play, PlayStation Now, and even Apple Arcade.

It’s the “Netflix-ification” of gaming and has gathered a lot of steam. This isn’t shaping up to be a flash-in-the-pan fad like motion controls; it has the potential to be what defines the next generation. Not consoles, but services. But is this a good future for gaming? Or will cracks begin to show?


The competition

So who are the big players shaking up to be? Xbox Game Pass might have the strongest library so far due to their heavy investment in third-party studios. Now those investments are starting to pay off. At their recent showcase, they revealed a flurry of games, all of which are headed to Game Pass day one. Recently purchased studio Obsidian released a preview build of Grounded and announced their new RPG, Avowed. Ninja Theory also showed off Hellblade 2. And we would be remiss to mention Rare’s Everwild. All in all, their library currently has over 100 games and will grow quickly.

But with Xbox’s All Access deal likely coming to the Series X, the prospect becomes harder to resist. For a $35 per month contract, players can get a Series X console plus access to Game Pass. It’s no different from a mobile phone contract and is an appealing option for anyone who can’t foot the upfront cost.

Their largest competitor, PlayStation, will struggle to match that. They have PlayStation Now, born from the ashes of OnLive (which PlayStation purchased), creating Sony’s own cloud gaming platform. Just like Game Pass, it features a collection of first- and third-party games, though we don’t see Sony pushing quite as hard as Microsoft does for Game Pass.

To complicate matters, EA and Ubisoft also have their own platforms where they serve up their games. EA Play and Uplay Plus both feature the studios’ biggest franchises. With games like FIFA and Assassin’s Creed, it’s certainly a big draw. Then, on mobile, we have Apple Arcade, which offers a more casual experience using the same model.

And while we’re here, we should mention both PS+ and the Epic Games Store. While they aren’t game subscription services per se (PS+ is an online access subscription and Epic Game Store is, well, a storefront), both give away free games to draw you into their service. Their intentions are the same as everyone above.


A utopian future?

On the surface, this all sounds fantastic. For a set price, you can access a library of games and play at your leisure. As games push over £50 and look to go even higher in the next generation, it’s an appealing prospect. Even more so if it’s something like Game Pass and you can access brand new games immediately. And with 10 million subscribers for that platform alone, you can’t argue it isn’t working.

You could say it’s more consumer friendly. We’re being given access to hundreds of games – mere pennies each. And the newest games too – Game Pass subscribers can play the latest Microsoft Flight Simulator. PS+ subscribers were given Fall Guys for free in August; a brand new third-party title at no cost. A more apt comparison might be Spotify, with the latest albums released day and date.

But that might not be where the similarities will end. Artists on Spotify don’t earn a lot of money from their streams – potentially as little as 0.006 cents. So 1 million streams would earn them a whopping… $6,000. Great if you’re a huge artist who can guarantee an army of loyal listeners; not so much if you have a smaller audience. If they can listen to you on Spotify, what compels them to buy your album?

The same can be said for games – why buy them if you can access them for cheaper? It might sound good if you’re a first-party developer with that insulation, but third-party developers stand to make less from actual sales.

And as pro-consumer as it is, nothing is permanent. Games can be taken off these services, potentially leaving you halfway through a game. If it’s a massive game you can pour hours into, that’s a lot of time lost.


In conclusion…

All of this is without even mentioning the competition presented by cloud streaming services such as Google Stadia. Its recent launch was solid and they have a strong foundation to build on. The benefit over the other options is you don’t need the hardware; theoretically, you’ll be able to play your games wherever on any device you please. Their Pro version offers a small selection of free games and, were that to grow, it could become a fierce competitor.

What remains to be seen is how sustainable the idea is. Right now, it seems like a dream. With these services, what excels aren’t the big franchises we all know, but the smaller ones who stand to gain a whole new audience.

But we need to be careful and ensure developers who need the support find the funds they need. We have no doubt that the likes of Microsoft and Sony have this in mind, and their pursuit to bring more studios into their fold is part of that.

In the end, their goal is to create an ecosystem where people stay within their loop. That’s what services like PS+ and the Epic Games Store are hoping to achieve in particular. They want to drive traffic to their stores and online services and use these sweet treats as bait. It’s a fantastic tactic and one people won’t complain about as long as they get to watch their library grow.

The future of gaming might not necessarily be a war of platforms, but a war of services. The industry is no stranger to operating at a loss to bring in numbers, and this could be an extension of that. The mark of a winner may not be the amount of consoles sold but the number of subscribers you have. How that plays out who knows; we’ll have to wait and see.

At REALTIME, we’re ready for the future of gaming. And with our clients, we’re working on bringing it to the gaming community. If you’re looking for a creative partner for your next project, get in touch with me at [email protected].