Videogame trailers are usually a predictable affair. The announcement trailer, the gameplay trailer, the story trailer, the multiplayer trailer etc. And they’re all aping movie trailers with cuts of gameplay and big flashy words. However, video game marketing are evolving beyond movie trailer and into something smarter. Below are why videogame marketing are becoming narratives in their own right.

Further enrich the setting of the Videogame

One of the difficulties of making a good videogame video games is adding context to the game. Too often, any narrative context is left lacking in a game. For example Rage and Far Cry 2 while technically amazing lacked an engaging story. Videogame trailers offer an opportunity to add setting and layered characters for a videogame. Resident Evil: Operation Racoon City was a lousy game but it’s Triple Impact Trailer, introduced it’s various factions and the different characters in a stunning zombie-splattering way. A much better zombie-killing experience, the L4D Trailer, does a stellar job of not just introducing the multiplayer characters as people, it also introduced the various special monsters and their strengths and weaknesses in the game.

They can add a Narrative to a traditionally non-narrative videogame

In multiplayer games, it’s often just shoot the guy who’s shooting back and there’s your entertainment. With a repetitive game revolving around traditional game modes i.e. capture the flag, often narratives in multiplayer are shunted to the side. Narrative-Focused trailers and other content are an opportunity for narrative.


Team Fortress 2 was introduced in 2007 and is still one of the most popular multi-player shooters today because of the continuous release of trailers and content on the TF2 website. New updates are introduced with hilarious comics. Each character from the Spy to the Heavy are some of the most developed characters in videogame history. Now TF2 has more story and narrative elements than most single-player videogames.  


They Make Videogames Exciting

Narrative-focused trailers can do so much but what truly makes them so popular is that they are exciting. They get a lot of shares and views. Valve’s (yeah Valve is the king of Narrative-focused trailers) Portal 2 trailers were exciting with videogame websites sharing them without being paid to. More importantly Portal 2 was a commercial success and publishers noticed.

The the Far Cry Experience a series of live-action videos starring Christopher Mintze-Passe and Michael Mann were amazing and certainly hyped up Far Cry 3’s release. Call of Duty has always created great cinematic live-action trailers again and again, starring A-list actors like Taylor Kitsch, Robert Downey Jr, Russia FPS. Because they work.


The Dead Island Official Announcement Trailer, was an emotional roller-coaster that hyped up the videogame beyond what it could deliver. And while it’s a shame that it was more middling action game than what people expected, it is still remembered. They’res even a movie based on the trailer, not the videogame the TRAILER in development.

With the upcoming release of Fallout 4, Bethesda released a new trailer promotion. Instead of just being another gameplay trailer it’s a Youtube series with a cutesy 50s era Educational Videos on the Seven Special Attributes of the game. The first, Strength, is below.

Fallout 4 is going to be a success, and while it’s solely because of a safety ad it is going to certainly help. Is there a great videogame trailer that you like? Share in the comments below!