Does it make sense to make a teaser trailer for an Early Access Game?

Does it make sense to make a teaser trailer for an Early Access Game?

“Tudo vale a pena.
Se a alma não é pequena.”

“Everything is worthwhile
if the soul is not small.”

– Fernando Pessoa (Portuguese poet)

We haven’t been sharing much in-game content, and we feel that it’s about time to lift the veil a little bit and produce a teaser trailer for Ganbatte. Disclaimer: this post is about the thoughts that went into creating the trailer (a teaser, to the teaser 😉 ) – we expect to make the trailer public in the coming week, so stay tuned!

ganbatte multiplayer vr game gameplay cats eating sushi in space
Sneak peek of the upcoming Ganbatte trailer.

The reasons for our decision to make and release a trailer at this point in time have to do with 2 things: the first being our Early Access release schedule, the second being the first public showcasing of Ganbatte.

Every game needs a trailer, that goes without saying. A trailer shows so much more than screenshots. And if a trailer includes gameplay, it will be one of the best tools to inform possible buyers, and to convey the experience of actually playing the game. A trailer is essential for promotion on our website, on social media, but also for store presence. Every game on Steam, Early Access or Full Release is required to upload at least 1 video of the game. And since we’re planning for a Q4 Early Access Steam release, it’s time we’re getting one out there!

Making a teaser trailer might seem like a waste of time for an early access game. After all, when the early access period starts, the game won’t be finished. For a small bootstrapped studio like Mimicry, it is a considerable time investment to craft a video. Especially because the game is going to evolve and change. Still, we believe in the power of a trailer to present and show a game, even in an unfinished state.

As we announced in our previous blog post (Crossroads: Steam Early Access & Arcade Mode for events), we’re going to showcase our game at Indie Dome at Lisbon Games Week. Preparing our game to be showcased includes producing press material for Ganbatte. The awesome folks at Indie Dome, requested a list of press materials each studio has to provide, from logos to screenshots, to, guess what: a trailer!

Planning our Teaser Trailer

One of the first steps in developing something is understanding its purpose. Because of this, we defined a list of objectives for this trailer:

  • 100% gameplay: showing the core mechanic of the game.
  • Should be polished enough to present Ganbatte for events and online.
  • Capture the social aspect of the game.
  • Disclaim that this isn’t the final game.

These objectives were very useful in helping us define the length of the video. On the one hand, it shouldn’t be too long, it shouldn’t try to show as much footage as possible, this would make it repetitive. On the other hand, the opposite sin of making a very short video is that it might compromise our objective of capturing what it’s like to play Ganbatte with other people.

After creating an initial storyboard, we realised that we were in for a trailer that was very heavy on gameplay and in-game footage, as well as real-life footage of play.

Although we’re big fans of mixed-reality footage, and the way that communicates the immersion in the virtual world, we realised that it wasn’t the perfect fit in this case. Our playable cat characters are a big feature of our game, and by juxtaposing real-life footage of the players, they wouldn’t be shown in their full feline glory.

ganbatte vr game gameplay cats eating sushi in space
We opted to go for gameplay footage and real-life footage.

Tricks of the Trade

Even though we are a young team, we have some tips and tricks that we used for the production of our trailer.

Capturing real life sound of 4 people, in real time, playing closely together, was bound to be challenging due to echo and quality of the different microphones we have at our disposal. In order to have good audio quality, we ended up recording our voices with a good podcasting microphone and mix it in, in post-production. We did this while using the real footage as a reference.

Setting up and managing expectations correctly is something game developers owe to their audience. That’s why choosing a label such as “Early Alpha”, “In-game footage” can be an extra way of informing your audience, especially if they’re watching your video out of context.

ganbatte vr game gameplay cats eating sushi in space
3, 2, 1 Ganbatte!

Freebooting is a blessing and a curse of the Internet. If your content is good people will share it and even re-upload it without your permission, mentioning a context or linking to your website. One way of protecting yourself against this is to embed a watermark with the logo/name of your game or having your logo, a link to your website and other relevant information as part of the video. Ask yourself: which information would someone watching the trailer with no context whatsoever be able to get from the movie itself?

Wrapping up

Creating a trailer based on our current work-in-progress version of Ganbatte was a very satisfying experience. The timing was good because we’ve reached a stage with a playable version and we’ll be starting to showcase our game very soon.

Having a deadline to finish a set of promotional material for the Indie Dome program was very welcome. As a studio, we are aware that an inward focus is a weakness of ours. We are having a lot of fun developing Ganbatte and that sometimes makes us “forget” about sharing our journey. We also sometimes find ourselves thinking that it is too early to show things, because tomorrow it will already be different and better. Our decision to participate in a videogames tradeshow was a very good catalyst to make us more aware of our work and the non-linear nature of game development and growing our community.

Having our gameplay teaser trailer freshly encoded, we’ll be sharing it soon. So, keep your radars up on our social media channels! Once again, if you want to try out Ganbatte and you’ll be in Portugal this November, drop by the Indie Dome at Lisbon Games Week! 

In any case, thanks for reading this post. You can always learn more about the game and if you want to be the first to see the teaser trailer: sign up for our newsletter over at ganbattegame.com.

-Daniela

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: