Cinematic Game Trailers
Medal of Honor: Warfighter Trailer Explodes in our Face
by David Hilton
© 2012 David Hilton
How good are game trailers getting these days?
With all the doom and gloom over the uninspiring sequelisation of gaming and copycatism in the shooter genre (I’m having fun with words today), one element has stood out to keep gamers interested in upcoming titles.
The game trailers.
We have had some top-notch trailers this year, from the live-action Total War: Rome II and Assassin’s Creed 3 Rise trailers, to the controversial Hitman: Absolution Attack of the Saints and Tomb Raider assault trailers, to the fun Borderlands 2 trailer.
The word to sum up the approach and quality of trailers in 2012: cinematic.
The latest Medal of Honor: Warfighter trailer is a perfect example of this new breed of high quality trailer, grabbing our attention with a blend of story, stunning visuals, and explosive sound.
Medal of Honor: Warfighter: Preacher Story Trailer
The trailer begins by sucking us in with excellent voice acting over scenes of the protagonist coming to collect his daughter from his obviously estranged wife at a Madrid train station.
Previous story details revealed that Tier 1 U.S. Navy operator Preacher from the first game is having family trouble after years of combat deployment.
This personal touch and association between ‘train’ and ‘Madrid’ is enough to create that ‘oh no’ feeling we get when we know something bad is going to happen.
During rush hour on Thursday 11 March (the event is now known now as 11-M), a coordinated set of at least 10 bombs on 4 commuter trains exploded, killing 191 people and wounding around 1800.
As he arrives at the station, Preacher sees a man he recognises as a threat on a train just before a massive explosion. He wakes up in the hospital and we see his suffering at what we presume is his loss, or near loss.
“Something happened: everything’s changed” the voice-over tells us.
The scene fades into a dark windy night with a chopper flying into screen as the soundtrack picks up.
From here it is a sequence of dramatic, stunning fast action and slow motion visuals of warfare, to pulsating music, interspersed with scenes of personal pain including a photo of a woman (presumably his wife), a ceremonial flag covered coffin being carried, an American flag folded, and a woman and child viewed from above (a classic angle used to denote vulnerability).
The quality and editing would have been as good as in any film preview, but what makes it even better is that it is all game graphics using the gorgeous Frostbite 2 engine. The trailer still demonstrates the actual game.
The juxtaposition of loss and revenge is not original by any means, but the trailer does a good job of showing a back story is present and rather than a story about a group of soldiers, there is a personal story to be told as well.
Some trailers lie: a good example was the powerfully emotional Dead Island trailer which never reflected the real gameplay. But they do sell games.
The Medal of Honor: Warfighter trailer does its job: it grabs you by the heart and explodes in your face, pumping you up for action.
Emotive and cinematic. That’s the playbook now. And I’m ready to play.
© 2012 David Hilton
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