…but…but the trailer didn’t look like that!

11 Oct

So, an ongoing complaint I’ve heard in games recently is about the ‘misleading trailer.’ A prime, perfect example for this is Dead Island, a wonderfully over-hyped game about, well….zombies.

Did you say...zombies?

Did you say...zombies?

Going back and looking at the trailer….the trailer doesn’t look much different than the finalized game. So this boggles me a bit further as to why this trailer was so misleading. Regardless, there is a point to be made here.

If you seriously, honestly thought, that the final game, would look the exact same as this trailer, then I hate to break it to you: you’re naive. The only time you can make that expectation, is when you’re going to the movies.

You see, the way a game trailer works is like this: a trailer in gaming is not a 100% representation of the product. It’s a mere display of cutscenes or what the developers wish our puny XBoxes and PS3s could run at, at all times. The problem is, when you give a controller to a person and say ‘hey, you’re in charge now’, the ability to pre-render everything goes straight out the window. It is impossible to predict what every gamer will do every time at every instant. When I go to a Michael Bay movie, I expect to see a ton of explosions, some random hot chick, and and blatant exploitation of the computer’s processing power. Why?

Because I’m not interfering with it. It’s his movie, and he has sole control over it. I’m not playing his movie-I’m watching it.

Vanessa, that’s bullshit: no, it isn’t. If game developers could anticipate your every single move, we would have games that better resembled movies years ago. Gaming is a creative medium, and in order to cater to everyone, some corners have to be cut-being the psychic solution is one of those corners. May I also mention that there’s a sect of gamers built specifically for breaking things in a game? Well, actually, two: one is called Q&A testers-their job is to break it, go back and say ‘yea this won’t work. here’s an annotated, APA report on why.’ The other is called your typical asshole-these are the people who go above and beyond to find the most obscure clipping errors, the weirdest glitches, and honestly, just something to bitch about. Did you catch that one time, when gaming aesthetics were at an all time high, where models looked more realistic than ever, and developers work like crazy to meet demands that quite honestly, coming from the gaming community, are sometimes unrealistic? Probably not-you were too busy complaining about why Left 4 Dead 2 lied to you, and why Dead Space 2 lied because it ‘wasn’t as scary as it looked.’ Do you want a game or a movie? I would suggest you figure that out-it’ll drastically change how much you need to save up. Also, if you’re going to bitch about one game not ‘following up’, you need to bitch about them all. Dead Island caught a lot of heat, and Gears is catching heat for looking ‘uninteresting and flat’, so why isn’t MoW3 getting the same complaint? Isn’t that just the same game with a different filter, with better trailers every time? Final Fantasy 13 got zero bad rap, and the in game lip-syncing was about as bad as it was in FF8. I’ve yet to hear a complaint about Soul Calibur-and that trailer NEVER looks the same as the final product. Ever.

Why this is a retarded argument: what I notice is that people tend to point out how much the trailer lied to them based on how badly the game is peer-reviewed. Note that I said PEER-REVIEWED, and not IGN or Gamasutra or whatever other trash you want to reference. And yes, they’re all trash. I’ll do that in a different post later, when I get some sleep.

When you start making the judgement of a game based SOLELY on how it differs from the teaser trailer, you sell the game short. Honestly, if the game is fun, why does it matter? There was a time when games looked like nasty blocks flattened against your screen-it’s called 8- to 32-bit. If you ever once, went back, wiped the dust off your PS1 or SNES or whatever, to play a game you really liked, then bitching about how a game looks today is null and void. Then again, there was also a time when games didn’t need trailers to appeal to greedy masses of fanboys to overhype a game, only to turn around and bash it into the ground because ‘it was a huge disappointment.’ The only thing disappointing in this case was us, because our inability to play the game based on replay values, features, or general fun content never existed. We were too quick to say ‘doesn’t look the same? That means the rest must be shit.’

Now, admittedly: there have been some really nasty, blatant lies out there. I bring up Dead Island because what was conveyed in the trailer was pretty clear-zombies and such, people are dying, defend yourself, or turn. Someone’s wife was involved there, but the jist remains. Quite frankly, that’s the story in and of itself, so why there’s complaints about the story is beyond me (again, another post). If you want to bash something horrible, try Dante’s Inferno-a game whose trailers never once gave way to any idea of what the game would be like. I went to the midnight release for this, and 3 days later sold it back. Dante’s Inferno was a boring, shameless re-hash of God of War, but put to one of the most important, provocative, and well-known literature of all time. The leveling system was slow and silly, you didn’t really benefit from saving or destroying souls, and if you made it past Cleopatra, you’d pretty much experienced the entire game. Nothing was well hidden. The only challenge presented was how long I could tolerate it-and when I found out that I had missed 1/3 of the achievements because of something that was NEVER EXPLAINED, I realized I had actually found a game that I loathed. This was a trailer that looked promising but took a complete shit on my optimism. I still don’t even know why that damn tabard was stitched onto his chest-the only thing I took from that game was ‘so…….he did all of this for his dead wife?’ The trailer and cutscenes, however, were drop-dead gorgeous. Game-not so much; it didn’t even relate.

Bottom Line: ‘Misleading trailers’ are a byproduct of our own assumptions. I’m not sure who the hell said the trailer tells it all, but they lied to you, terribly; again, this isn’t the movies. The complaint never applies to ‘big hits’, such as CoD, BF, FF, Halo, any RPG, any PS2 game-I could go forever-so why does it apply to ‘that one game you don’t like/don’t care for?’. Think of trailers like pieces of fine art: best viewed with an open mind, aware that change is necessary-and ok. But if you expect everything to come out the exact same as that one piece you liked, you’re just going to be let down. And museum security really doesn’t care about your complaints-it’s why they never do anything to ‘fix it’, especially when your loaded opinion isn’t their problem.

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Posted by on October 11, 2011 in Uncategorized


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