Trailers play a really important role in helping you to market your game to the world. They can be a great way to engage with people and to get them excited about playing your game. However, it’s not always obvious where to start or how to put one together so that it really showcases your game!
So, I’m Ninichi, a game music composer (check my game music stuff out!) and I’ve been involved in creating the music for various indie game trailers and game music soundtracks.. Through the work I’ve done with various super talented indie game developers, I’ve come to understand and appreciate just how challenging it is to put everything together. That’s why I’ve created this blog – to offer some tips, ideas and hopefully useful bits of information to support your game development. So, let’s take a look at a few ideas and steps to explore, which I hope will help you to create your awesome game trailer:
1. Create a powerful intro
The beginning of your trailer is super important since in those initial moments you have the opportunity to really capture someone’s attention. You’ll have around 5 seconds max to get them hooked into watching the rest of the trailer so think carefully about what you want to show them in those first few moments.
2. Focus on the gameplay
People will be watching your trailer because they want to know what your game is about and what it looks and feels like. So, besides from your intro and the call to action, the main focus of your trailer should be all about the gameplay.
Include different clips and sections of your game and perhaps highlight any special features that you have in your game that set it apart from others. Build up a story perhaps and offer viewers a glimpse of what amazing things you’ve done so far and also try to create a sense of wonder of what’s to come also.
Take your time in playing around with your game and choosing what to display. Try to find the most engaging and appealing gameplay situations that are possible so that people can really experience the best of what there is.
3. Get great music and sound effects
The music and sound in your game trailer is the key to setting the right tone for your game. Music captures and drives the emotions within a game and is what sets the pace of it. So, it’s important to think carefully about what kind of music will help to get viewers excited about your game.
Choose music that reflects the rhythm of your game and that will help to maintain your audience’s attention and interest through your trailer. Work with a composer to create custom music for your game trailer and to ensure that it’s the very best that it can be. (Drop me a line if you’d like my help with this or check out my music catalogue for some ready-to-use royalty free music!)
The audio and visual components to your trailer are of equal importance and must work in tandem together. There’s no point in having great visuals alongside uninspiring music or the other way around, as that will just diminish the whole experience. Remember that your trailer is there to sell your game and to build excitement around it. So, make sure that every aspect of your trailer – music, visuals, sound etc. all help to achieve this.
4. Keep it short
For game trailers less is more. Keep it short and snappy! People don’t have time to watch a really long trailer and also long trailers don’t tend to keep people’s attention. A great game trailer is usually less than 2 minutes long, which is similar to what people tend to get and expect from movie trailers. Aim for 60-90 seconds if you can as that should be enough time for you to get your message across, show some key aspects of the game mechanics and gameplay, reel people in and to work that call to action!
5. Build credibility around the game
Include reviews or short quotes from industry professionals if you have any, to help build a sense of credibility and authority around your game. This could be positive comments from another game developer, a game journalist, blogger, magazine or industry veteran perhaps. It will add a bit of weight to your project and help others to take it more seriously.
Also include clear branding for your indie game studio, if you have one, so that people know who you are and to offer a sense of polish and professionalism. Include it at the beginning and the end of the video.
6. Have a clear call to action
At the end of your trailer, always include a very clear call to action. Tell people what you want them to do after they’ve watched your trailer e.g. to visit your website, or buy your game (from Apple/Google store or Steam or wherever), or sign up to your newsletter etc. Pick one call to action and make it easy for viewers to do.
What to read next: 6 Must Do Marketing Tips for Indie Game Developers
About the author: Ninichi is a freelance composer for indie games, films and media. She’s a great supporter of indie games and has created the music for numerous indie game trailers and game music soundtracks. To listen to some of her music see Ninichi’s game music.
Also follow her @ninichimusic & contact her to commission her for your project.