Up For Debate - Is Too Much Being Spoiled by Game Trailers?

Written by Jon Sutton on Sat, Jun 17, 2017 4:00 PM
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Over the last week, during E3 2017, we’ve been treated to literally hundreds of trailers, amounting to dozens of hours of footage. This time last week we barely knew what Assassin’s Creed Origins is. Now we know the ins and outs of its menu system, what we’ll be able to do its open-world, and all the many and varied additions which Ubisoft hope will improve it over its predecessors. It’s never been easier to receive a wealth of information on the games you are interested in. But, are we now being shown too much? Are there any surprises left for when a game launches?

This E3, more than any before it, was about picking apart the games that literally just been announced. Assassin’s Creed Origins was revealed with a pair of trailers, a chit chat with the creative director, a gameplay demo, and then a massive live stream afterwards. Super Mario Odyssey, a game which thrives on surprises, was shown off for hours by Nintendo. I had to stop myself watching because at some point it felt as if there were going to be no surprises left. 

Case in point - Prey. Arkane’s reboot is a decent game with some inventive ideas, but the constant deluge of pre-release trailers and info dumps (which admittedly I have to consume all of in order to write the news) meant the final product had literally nothing that surprised me. This softened my feelings on a game which I would’ve perhaps enjoyed more if going in blind. 

It’s actually become a bit of a problem for me, and I’d guess anyone who spends a significant portion of their reading about or watching games. The mystique has disappeared. There used to be a sense of wonder when I picked up a copy of PC Gamer and there was a review a game called Final Fantasy VII. All I had was eight screenshots to pore over, some excellent wordcraft, and my imagination to stitch the pieces together. Compare that to Final Fantasy XV, which I’d been acutely aware of for a decade, had seen a dozen trailers for, and the previews were telling me exactly how big its open-world is, and how long the game was. The wonder of the unknown was gone. 

The counterpoint to this is that we’ve never been informed as to whether a game is worth a purchase. Where once we’d have to base it on one or two reviews and word of mouth, I can now peruse 200,000 Steam users impressions of Grand Theft Auto V, and watch 20-hour streaming marathons. The age of picking up a genuinely dud game by accident is no more. 

So what do you think of this situation? Have we never been so well informed? Or are a game’s quality and unique additions already a foregone conclusion?

Are we being shown too much of games before launch?

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18:38 Jun-18-2017

The easiest solution is that anyone interested in keeping the surprise of a game intact should just not watch the trailer. I'm avoiding any information on games I know I'll want to play, and only watching small snippets of the trailers for any games I don't know anything about.

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04:38 Jun-18-2017

All I have to say is that I am a game developer who works with RPG Maker MV and this is something I will strongly consider when making an sort of trailer for my game.

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14:17 Jun-18-2017

Good for you mate. Hope everything turns out alright.

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20:11 Jun-18-2017

I am hoping I can get back to making gaming videos and working on my game again soon, I have been away from home for nearly 3 months now. I am eager to get back to work. My laptop can't handle that stuff which is why my next rig will be a gaming laptop, so I won't ever have to be away from my PC games again.

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03:07 Jun-18-2017

I just played Prey without watching any trailers or reviews (just checked scores) so I didn't know what the enemies were like or what guns there were or what the setting was. It was amazing! It's so much more interesting to play knowing that I had no clue what else the game had in store for me.

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17:11 Jun-18-2017

Couldn't have said it better myself. Trailer's & gameplay videos are a great source of information regarding a game, but at a certain point it is actually hurting the game.

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17:14 Jun-18-2017

What you said about (just checking the scores) may very well be one of the best ways to determine if a game is worth spending your money on. However if you base your decision only on someones "scores" / evaluation you give the person or...

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17:17 Jun-18-2017

persons to much power/influence over what you like/dislike etc. At a certain point, I think it is best to take a leap of faith and see for your self.

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01:40 Jun-18-2017

I take the same approach for games I take for movies, if I am interested in it, I will only watch the very first teaser trailer and stay away from all news and all other trailers related to it, only once the game or movie is released, I will only look at the critic score. Everything has become way to spoilery lately, I've had to unlike Star Wars and similar pages on facebook because there is way too much chatter about The Last Jedi and I want to go in fresh

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23:36 Jun-17-2017

Old games had interesting level design,newer games have bigger level.
Old games relied on quality of playtime,newer games rely on quantity of playtime.
Old games had interesting things to do,newer games want Titan SLI to look Great.

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23:44 Jun-17-2017

Oh I forgot,
Old games wanted gamer's appreciation,newer games want gamer's money.


So,limiting the game to offer what it was marketed to offer does spoil it.

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23:48 Jun-17-2017

With the exception of the last one, I absolutely agree with you.
I have a solution that would revert that, tone down the graphics to 2007-2008 quality and start charging 90$ for a AAA game, of course no consumer is going to like that, but be realistic...

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00:05 Jun-18-2017

Or they can optimize games to run great on reasonable resources and focus on actually making G8 games and stop wasting their time on DRMs,Gimmicks,over-marketing and charge $10 less.

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13:30 Jun-18-2017

Yeah, because optimization can be done in a day... optimization is the hardest part of coding a game and the most time and resource consuming...


The reasons they are making DRMs, super aggressive marketing and such is, because their games cost too much to develop and are sold for too little...


60$ has been a standard for 15 years now and in 15 years the gaming market has doubled, but the game development cost has risen 10x times... that's why they fill their games with cheap stuff like micro-transactions, DRMs, paid DLCs, etc, etc. If people want a truly quality game, they better be read to pay more than 60$

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17:55 Jun-18-2017

There are more gamers are now than were 15 years before and the market is worth Hundred Billion+.
I personally would not mind paying full price for quality DLC like Blood and wine(Standalone).But the thing is greed makes very poor games.

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18:01 Jun-18-2017

That is why we are getting poopy Established AAA sequels.Making game is a form of art and art can not be crafted from greed.
While CDprojekt is making enough but EA is never enough.Really shows where the future is going.

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19:56 Jun-17-2017

If you're gonna watch that trailer, then nope, it doesn't. There are some games that took me completely by surprise because they were a blind date, but that's something you can only get by not watching the trailers at all. Some minor spoilers should be expected when clicking on that trailer.

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19:12 Jun-17-2017

no, it gives a general idea of the game, they are mostly cut from a random moment in the game. Besides there is so much going on that most gamers forget what the **** just happened. I mean, I can't even remember what I ate this morning.

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18:30 Jun-17-2017

I don't think that this is the case with most games. Yeah sometimes we feel that a game has revealed too much in its trailers, for me that was AC Black Flag because it had tons of demos showing open world activities which left almost few surprises left. So I think this side effect happens to some games but most of them don't suffer that fate.

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17:55 Jun-17-2017

I don't believe the quantity of trailers is a bad thing. We need gameplay trailers to determine whether or not a game is suitable for us, once that is accomplished whether or not we watch them further is up to us


Usually I watch a trailer and If the gameplay seems sufficient to warrant my purchase I stop watching trailers of it and buy it when it comes out. No one forces you continued

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17:56 Jun-17-2017

To watch any trailers you don't want to.

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17:53 Jun-17-2017

If I know I'm going to buy, I avoid knowing anything about it until release, where I may scan over some reviews. Because lots of trailers end up being lies.

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17:19 Jun-17-2017

I think that happens more in movies lately, actually

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17:25 Jun-17-2017

It makes sense for this to be an issue with movies because they're shorter and cost less money. Games are a significant investment so you want to know as much as possible before you buy them

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17:08 Jun-17-2017

I voted 'maybe,' because as excited as the trailer for Wolfenstein II got me, it was -8 minutes long and showed off quite a lot of the game, characters, and settings. Although, there was a lot of gameplay featured, too, and a lot of the dialogue was just snippets. I don't mind that much, really. So I guess that's okay.
I think one of the trailers for Mass Effect Andromeda gave away a bit of the ending, though..

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16:54 Jun-17-2017

We are NOT spoiled by something that does NOT gives us a good representation of the games actual gameplay.

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16:24 Jun-17-2017

MAYBE they show too much, but a game cost $40-60, so even if a game trailer or demo gameplay shows a whole mission i don't really mind. Watching a 30min demo gameplay wont ruin the fun, it will just give you a taste of what you are going to experience, after that you will still get to have hours of fun by yourself, unlike movie trailers nowadays which spoils many things before release.

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16:11 Jun-17-2017

Honestly i prefer to have an idea of what I'm gonna play,screenshots just aren't enough for me but if you don't like all these trailers u can just NOT watch 'em

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16:10 Jun-17-2017

I think trailers nowadays are showing less and less actual gameplay than they were a few years ago. If we can't see gameplay footage we won't know what the game is actually about, no matter how great the trailer looks.

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