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Can you produce a high-quality game trailer against the clock?

David Cullinane 14 March 2019

We’ve talked before about the importance of a game trailer. For the audience, they are an exciting preview of what’s to come that both entertain and intrigue. For the developer and publisher, they’re a way to measure audience reaction and drum up hype.

CG can be used to present the game as a highly polished experience – an effective tool that allows for endless amounts of creative storytelling with which to visually communicate your key messaging. In addition to the production itself, a great deal of time often needs to be invested to ensure that a CG trailer successfully hits the sweet spot. But when time is against you, and you still need that major marketing asset to help with the promotion of your game, what are your options?


A little tease

As is often the case, a developer might require for a trailer at very short notice. The level of success that a game can suddenly enjoy can come thick and fast, with few able to predict the levels of success that games like ‘Candy Crush’, ‘SMITE’ and ‘Fortnite’ would go on to enjoy so soon after their initial release.

Having a great marketing asset that will help build your brand at this important stage will ensure that your game isn’t seen as a flash-in-the-pan and sink faster than ‘Flappy Bird’. In the case of SMITE, the game’s developer Hi-Rez Studios were smart enough to mine the opportunity that their hit game presented them with. They commissioned a high-profile CG trailer that helped reinforce the game’s excitement and quality.

However, such was the demand to get a trailer out as quickly as possible, a ‘teaser’ needed to be developed ahead of the release of the initial ‘Battleground of the Gods’ trailer. Doing so allowed the production of the final piece to continue. In doing so, the ‘teaser’ helped build further momentum for the game and proved to be another ‘marketing beat’ that would further secure the game’s fast-growing success. All of this was achieved without making any compromises to the quality of the final production.   


Creating a ‘teaser’ for a trailer can be an effective way of dramatically reducing the production time needed to produce a major marketing trailer – particularly useful if you need it for a particular event or opportunity that can’t be moved. But is this the only way?

Fortunately, the answer to this question is ‘no’ – depending on the style and nature of your game, it may be that an alternative execution for the trailer may be suitable.

Once Fortnite decided to introduce their ‘Battle Royale’ mode, the game became so successful that it transcended gaming culture and entered the mainstream media. Creating their launch trailer in the game’s own engine helped save production time and take full advantage of the many assets that they had at their disposal. It’s a route that has only relatively recently become a viable option thanks to the improving quality of game engines which can be used successfully to create high-quality trailers with a quick turnaround.

A perfect example of this is the multiple ‘Sea of Thieves’ trailers for Rare’s swashbuckling multiplayer adventure. Using a game engine ensures a fast turnaround without any compromise to quality. In this case, these trailers were produced in UE4, but flexibility is key when choosing who to work with. Are they capable of acquiring various styles in one engine, like the more ‘lifelike’ visuals achieved in ‘Dakar ‘18’, also made using UE4? Or can they work with another engine entirely, like a proprietary one or Amazon’s Lumberyard?


Art attack
But the shortcuts needn’t end there. If you don’t feel that a teaser trailer or in-engine trailer are suitable for your game, then you could consider the option to produce an effective but time-saving 2.5D piece. Foregoing the complexities of full 3D, going with a 2.5D production helps remove the need to build, rig and light complex character assets, let alone the world they inhabit. ‘Runescape: Adventure Calls’ is a great example of a production that can be swiftly executed in a shorter time frame, while providing a stylish and compelling way of conveying to the audience everything you want to convey about your game.

Regardless of how you might want to produce your trailer when up against the clock, whether as a teaser, in-engine, or 2.5D, development of the initial creative will be key. The development of the creative means finding a practical solution that neatly conveys everything you want to communicate, and is best done by a production team that has a deep understanding as to the type of media that you choose for your production.

Fortunately, RealtimeUK’s creative team is on hand to help with this and can probably identify a number of ways in which your trailer can be delivered a soon as possible with no compromise to quality.

At RealtimeUK, we are very experienced in working to a tight schedule. We work with you on a short timescale to produce something that will capture and engage an audience. To discuss further, get in touch with me at [email protected].