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    How “Lords of Shadow 2” makes the argument for longer trailers

    How “Lords of Shadow 2” makes the argument for longer trailers

    June 12, 2013 6:24 PM6 comments

    It would probably be a good idea for you to watch the trailer above, or else the rest of what I’m going to say will probably go over your head.

    You did? Good. Let’s get cracking.

    At just about 6 and a half minutes, Konami has produced a trailer that definitely goes over the average running time. The usual trailer goes for around two minutes – one is not exactly rare, while anything close to three could easily be considered an act of God. This isn’t exactly unusual for the company, as their trailers for Metal Gear Solid would often reach astronomical lengths – I recall a Metal Gear Solid 3 trailer that was around 10 minutes long. This just goes to show that they are comfortable with exposing such a large amount of their games so early in their marketing cycle. And these trailers wouldn’t do damage to the brand – the MGS franchise is an absurdly popular one, and considering that they are now doing another entry that takes place before MGS 1, 2, and 4, it is evidently a successful one in terms of revenue.

    So, why is it that more companies don’t produce longer trailers? It can be understandable within the movie industry as the average blockbuster movie has a shorter run-time than the amount of cinematics in a AAA game. Additionally, the bulk of movie trailers will be watched in the theater while the audience waits for the main attraction. If every trailer was doubled or tripled in length, then that would mean the audience would have to wait even longer for their movies. Or managers would select only one or two trailers, instead of the six to eight. In contrast to videogames where trailers are most often watched online, either on a computer or another mobile device. Run time isn’t a problem because these are probably being employed as time wasters anyways. They wouldn’t mind watching a six minute trailer in this scenario.

    However, many studios do place a ton of emphasis on online marketing – as they well should! Online is everything now. If you ignore your online market, then you have no business acting as the marketing director for any sort of industry. Every major movie coming out has a FaceBook, a Twitter….maybe even a Tumblr if they are “in with it”. YouTube goes without saying. All of these would be great avenues for longer trailers. It would certainly do a good job of creating distinction between the two mediums.

    Let’s go back to the top for a bit – the e3 Lords of Shadow 2 trailer. Why is this such a great case for longer trailers? Because it wears the long running time like a glove – the editors knew what they were doing here. They had the prologue that set the scene and scope for the trailer, with each pulse interwoven with a bit of prose. Once the prologue was done – signified with Dracul’s scream and the shift from Gothic piano to adrenaline fueled brass, strings and electronics. We jump from action scene to visual storytelling back to action, but neither of these overstays their welcome. The flow of information does not feel claustrophobic, condensed or rushed. It has the benefit of taking its time and filling you with dramatic awe. That’s something you just can’t get with a mere two minute trailer – unless your talking about Tree of Life. But for every other movie, tv show or video game that is out there, a little bit more exposition can do wonders for building excitement in your product.

    It can also have another benefit – skipping out on trailer cliches. Trailers do tend to do the same thing, because they need to get as much people as possible excited in their products. So they tap into the “trailer zeitgeist” – in this generation’s case, rapid cuts and the Inception BWWAAAM of various degrees. But the more trailers do these things, the more the movies look the same and the less excited that consumers will be in them. No one wants to the see the same movie twice wrapped up in different packaging. But if a trailer can have more room to say exactly what their movie is about, then chances are they will not have to deal in cliches and make their movie/game/show’s imagery more interesting.

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