I’ve just seen the Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain trailer, and - as a piece of promotional material - it’s really quite brilliant. Building on the intrigue laid down by The Phantom Pain trailer (shown at the Spike Video Game Awards 2012), it gives you hints of what the game will consist of, while leaving you thirsty for more. It is also masterfully edited and soundtracked beautifully with a track by Garbage and, all in all, is a pleasure to watch. And did I mention that it features a flying, flaming whale? Well…it does…and it’s awesome.
The trailer is a fantastic example of the ‘Show, don’t tell' ethos; it doesn't bombard you with exposition, but instead relies on the artistry of its production to sell you it's vision and in doing so stirs up a genuine sense of excitement; no mean feat for a series that is now 26 years old.
Which leads me to Ubisoft or, more precisely, to Ubisoft’s recent trailers for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and Watch Dogs; both of which are highly anticipated titles and both of which deserve a lot better than the clunking, dated monstrosities that Ubisoft’s PR team have delivered. Though, in both cases, the in-game visuals on display are good enough to keep you watching, the incessant narration explaining everything that’s happening on screen comes across as borderline amateur. The Watch Dogs trailer might make some attempt to contextualise the narration, but it’s a token effort at best and does little to disguise the clunkiness of Ubisofts marketing effort.
As for the Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag trailer… dear me. I know the Assassin’s Creed series is getting increasingly more ambitious and sprawling (or, should that be ‘unfocussed’?) with each an every installment, but it really is hard to get excited by a trailer overdubbed with a reading of the bulletpoints that will undoubtedly be plastered all over the game’s retail box. That these are trailers created by one of the biggest players in the industry makes them doubly disappointing.
But still - it could be worse I suppose…it’s not like Ubisoft have released a trailer bragging about how quickly its’ game loads, eh, Nintendo?