With so many horrible examples to use as reference, it’s amazing anyone knows how to make a video game trailer that effectively promotes his or her game. Yet…some do, which begs the question: what makes a video game trailer effective? To find out, I reviewed video game trailers for the top 10 indie games of 2012 (based on IndieGames.com’s list) and searched for commonalities. I discovered that while there is no exact recipe for how to make a video game trailer successful, there are certain ingredients that help in a major way.
How to Make a Video Game Trailer Kick Ass
- Keep it Short
Most of the top 10 video game trailers were under one and a half minutes long. Keeping your video game trailer short helps hold your audience’s attention for the video’s entirety. In addition, it forces you to cut all superfluous content from your trailer, resulting in a very cohesive and impactful piece.
- Set the Mood with Music or Sound Effects
The best trailers I examined relied on music and/or sound effects to keep viewers’ attention. Slender: The Eight Pages’ trailer illustrates this strategy best by using only sound effects to build tension and suspense. The entire trailer had my heart pounding and my skin crawling. Check it out below.
- Captivate with an Attention Grabbing Intro
The first few seconds of your video game trailer are the most crucial. In this brief moment, a trailer will either hook viewers into watching the rest of it or lose them forever. While there are many ways to accomplish an attention grabbing intro, the top 10 video game trailers favor story telling (i.e., introducing a story line at the beginning of the trailer that is unraveled through the end). For an effective storytelling video game trailer example, check out Hotline Miami’s trailer below.
- Show In-Game Footage
Every gamer has a particular art style he or she favors, however, this shouldn’t deter you from showing your in-game footage. Whether a viewer is into your style or not, leaving out in-game footage will only force him or her to hunt for it elsewhere. Adding this extra step ain’t going to help your conversion rate. Make it easy for the people to find what they’re looking for: show what your game looks like in your trailer. (Oh yeah…cinematics don’t count).
- End with a Call to Action
Want to know how to make a video game trailer the most effective marketing piece ever? Add a call to action. At the end of your trailer, don’t leave your viewers hanging. Direct them to the next step: where to play, download, purchase or learn more.
- Include Reviews…if You Have Them
If you’re able to score positive game reviews early on, flaunt them in your trailer. Quotes from review sites not only look good, they add authority and trust to video game trailers. Think about it. When you watch video game trailers that quote IGN as giving that game a “10 out of 10,” doesn’t that pique your interest? Well, you’re not the only one. Take a look at Resonance’s trailer for a good reference.
Above feature image was taken by vxdigital.