How to make a game trailer

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How to make a cinematic game trailer for promotion

To make a cinematic game trailer is the best way to promote your game and to show the players what they’ll get. But it is difficult and costly to do so. You need to pick up the most interesting 30 seconds of your game and make them look clear. So clear, that even new players will understand what’s going on and how to win in your game, like in Unravel 2 trailer.

In this article we will tell you about 5 tips on how to make game trailer look more useful, catchy and intriguing than before. Just like a Cyberpunk 2077 trailer.

The difference between game trailer and teaser

Game developers who don’t work with marketing often mistake trailers and teasers. To make things clear:

  • a trailer is 30–1:30 seconds long, its main goal is to show how easy and fun it is to play this game;
  • a teaser is 10–30 seconds long, its goal is to attract the player with artwork, game setting and music.

The main reason for game trailers is to tell the people what kind of game is: is a RPG or a 3-in-row game, what game mechanics it uses, what are the best gameplay moments it can provide. For example, the Fortnite trailer shows future events with cars, purple spirits and Afterlife Party. And Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War shows a little of story, intense moments in single player company and old beloved characters from Black Ops 1–2.

And the main reason for the teaser is to attract the attention and to tell the players that they might want to play this game because of its setting regardless of the gameplay.

If your game is story-based and has a unique setting, like Assassin’s Creed, Diablo Immortal or Call of Duty Mobile, you’ll need to make both a teaser and trailer. And if the core feature is the gameplay, like Homescapes, Candy Crush or Among Us, just make a one good game trailer.

What is mislead game trailer

Mislead trailer is false advertisement. It shows gameplay mechanics which aren’t present in the actual game or almost non present. For example, trailers and ads of Homescapes, Gardenscapes and similar games show catchy puzzles where you need to use objects to solve problems. This type of gameplay seems fun to the typical players and they click the advertisement to install the game. But the actual game gives them boring hidden objects mechanics and “Energy” system with intrusive microtransaction. But still, once in a hour the game gives a chance to play the advertised puzzle just to throw the player back to hidden object hell.

Why do mislead trailers work? The main reason is the exploitation of player’s instincts. First, the trailer shows interesting gameplay and the player thinks that the whole game will be the same. Second, this kinds of trailer are easy to perceive. One can easily understand what is happening in the puzzle and how to solve it, and wish to solve it by himself.

Mislead game advertisement also works because of its cheap production price. Basically, the game developer needs to record gameplay or make the video look like gameplay. That’s cheaper than producing a well-directed cinematic.

How to make a good gameplay trailer

There are two ways to get the player to install your game:

  • to show how good the good players are;
  • to show how bad the bad players are.

They work because of our natural habit to compare our skills with other persons. When we see someone dancing, drawing or playing games, we tend to think “I can do it too! I can do it better! There’s nothing difficult about it!”. And when we see someone bad at something, we think “Why he is so bad? I am not that bad! I can do it better!”. In the end, a desire to become as good as professional gamer or to proof to yourself that you are not that bad makes you install the game.

The “good player” way works best with multiplayer games. In such a trailer you show how a good player beats the bad ones with ease. For example, Valorant from Riot Games trailers showed gameplay examples for every character, with good use of abilities, killstreaks and headshots. Also Riot Games hired popular streamers to show audience how cool it is to play Valorant.

The “bad player” is worth to use with single-player games. You need to pick a simple situation which can be shrank to “rock-paper-scissors” and make it look dumb. Lets take Angry Birds as an example. Imagine a trailer, where the player fires the first bird in opposite direction of where the pigs are. And the fires second one into the ground and finally hits a pig with a third bird. You’d quickly understood what the goal is and make up the way to kill all pigs with precise shots. That feeling and thoughts would make you to install the game instantly.

Some mobile game developers are using tricks dirtier than “bad player”. They can add a label saying “Players with IQ lower than 150 can’t pass this level!” to trick you into thinking that if you can see the solution, then you have more than 150 IQ. It’s dirty, but it works.

How to show gameplay in trailer

You need to try hard to make your gameplay look good. Remember, that other players will compare your game to other popular games. For example, when the battle royale called Hyper Scape was launched, most players compared it with Apex Legends and Fortnite and didn’t even try it.

So what do you need to make a gameplay trailer? First, a script for it. Even when the trailer looks like random gameplay moments mixed together, it still has a script behind it. Script describes what you’ll show to the player, it may contain the narrative which explains what is happening in the trailer.

Second thing to make a game trailer is to show gameplay with no interface or HUD. The game interface is important for the actual game, but in game trailers it only distracts the viewers attention.

Third thing to do is to make a specific scene for the trailer. You can build a small level to show most of the features in a few seconds or take footage of those moments and combine them. For example, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Doom Eternal trailers are made of dozens cuts from different parts of the game.

Make the trailer look good without the sound

A research by Facebook shows that 85% of those who watch mobile game trailers turn the sound off. So there is no big point in hiring a narrator who will read the voiceover in several languages if you want to promote your game on Facebook and ingame ads. But if your project is big enough to be advertised on Youtube, Instagram and other platforms where users constantly watch videos with sound on, then you’ll need a voiceover.

But still, make sure that your trailer would show the attractiveness of the game even without the sound. You can add subtitles, duplicate game sounds with visual effects and make the characters emotions more expressive and easier to recognize. Look at the PUBG trailer — it still shows a full gameplay experience when muted.

Localize the trailer for the most popular languages

If you want to address your game to the whole world, you need to make the whole world understand your game trailer. Even if the trailer doesn’t have a narrative and labels in video, you’ll need to show the name of the game.

Cinematic game trailer localization can be done in two ways:

  • the hard way — to capture the same ingame footages with different languages chosen;
  • the easy way — to add localized texts at post-processing.

What languages to use? Most games are localized in 10 languages that cover 95% of App Store and Google Play users:

  • English (US, UK, Australia, Canada);
  • Japanese;
  • Mandarin Chinese (China, Taiwan);
  • Hindi (India);
  • Russian (Russia, most of East Europe countries);
  • Korean (South Korea);
  • German;
  • Spanish (Spain, Mexico, Argentina);
  • Portuguese (Brazil, most of South American countries);
  • Indonesian.

If you have already decided which languages you will translate your game, use them in the trailer. And do not forget to use the translated logo, if you translated it before.

Add a Call to Action to the end of the trailer

Remember, the main goal of the trailer is to show to the players how good the game is and push them to install it. So you need to end the trailer with a Call to Action:

  • Defeat the Enemies!
  • Become the Strongest!
  • Install it Now!

Or something else more suitable for your project.

Call of Duty Mobile trailer has simple “More to come” CTA. It works, because players really expect more content in future.

Ask a game outsource studio to make a trailer

In-house game trailer production isn’t the best choice for a small game developing team. You’ll need to take your team away from main work to write a script, make custom level, animate everything and draw additional effects.

You can cut the cost and time of game trailer production by hiring us — Kreonit Art outsource game studio. While you are working on your game, we’ll make a trailer for it and show it from the best angle.

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