Guidelines for Video Game Trailers

Standardizing processes has been key to our growth, and having expertise and specialists implement new procedures saves an incredible amount of time through iteration. We've had the fantastic experience of working with Edwin Siegneur for our recent trailers, and he's been a joy to work with in every regard. These guidelines explain his approach to creating trailers, and can help anyone thinking about (or preparing for the process of) creating a game trailer for the first time.    

The Basics

A good thing to keep in mind is that trailers are brief. Since the time available is so short, you will need to provide all the necessary information (or evoke the targeted emotional response) in a succinct and crystal clear manner. Also remember that trailers are a multi-dimensional medium. You can use words, images, videos, music, examples, references - anything that can help convey the goals of each trailer.

Guiding Questions for the Trailer Editor

Before diving into the creative process, asking yourself (or your teammates) these questions can help put you on the right track and confirm that your ideas are aligned with the expectations of what the trailer should be.

1. What has to be shown?

Is there a specific gameplay mechanic you’d like to focus on? A particular character or environment? Or does it aim to evoke the feeling of gameplay? Be sure to identify the purpose of the trailer, and whether this is one in a series or a “catchall” for the game.

For example, the trailer for Another Reigny Day, showcases core gameplay mechanics, a variety of enemies, several WOW moments, and the humor of the game - all in under a minute.

2. What style should you focus on?

Does the trailer match the feel of the game? For example, a funny gag-laden trailer might not fit well with a survival horror game.

3. What emotions should the viewer have after the trailer?

Does the game have its own personality that can be conveyed through the trailer? Should it be funny and energetic? Or is it a horror game, that needs to create tension and surprise?

4. Is there a list of “buzzwords” that should be included?

Are there any specific features, “wow” moments, or marketing copy that should be included in the trailer? Note that this will not be a requirement of all trailers.

5. Who will finish mastering/mix?

Will it be you, or another musician/sound engineer? This is an important consideration for the delivery of the “final” edit.

End Packshot Requirement List

Generally, the trailer should end with a summary of all the basic information about the game. This includes:

  1. Logo of the game
  2. Background image or video (1920x1080+ pixels)
  3. Logo of the Publisher (Mega Cat? Others?)
  4. Platform of the game (Steam, GOG, PC, Xbox, SNES…)
  5. Legal text on the bottom (if needed)
  6. Optional Extra Text (landing page, MCS website, text…)

Final Thoughts

For many people, the trailer will be their first encounter with the game. Using these guidelines, you can be sure to leave a favorable and lasting impression.

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