So you are developing a game. Years of passion are coming to fruition. Your heart and soul – your vulnerability – laid out for the world to see. The time to show your hard work to the general public draws near. It’s a moment you both dread and gleefully anticipate. It’s time for the marketing to begin as you only get one chance to impress.
Like anybody else, you want your game to sit on a pedestal for the world to see. But in a market rife with so much competition, it can be so easy to fade into obscurity. Kickstarting your campaign with a CGI trailer can be an ideal way to attract the attention your game deserves. But putting trust in someone else to deliver on your vision is a big leap. How does that process work?
The start of the journey
There is no paint-by-numbers roadmap that works for everyone. The first thing to understand is the journey is pretty much different for everyone. And that’s a good thing.
Producing a high-quality trailer is only half the battle. What separates the good from the bad is the level of dedication to accurately representing your IP and key USPs. This only comes from a company that cares about working collaboratively with you; as part of you.
You need a studio that maintains a constant line of contact. Whether this is through in-studio meetings or more convenient over-internet communication, what matters is they listen to you. Worried you don’t have your own in-house creative available? That shouldn’t get in the way; a good production company should mould to your situation and should be able to help with any script development and suggest creative solutions that won’t blow the budget.
The initial discussions should help outline the direction of the CG trailer. Working with you, the production company should pin down which characters or assets you’d like to feature in the trailer that can get across the USPs and distinctive brand of your game. If you have these ready to go then great. If not, then a good partner should be able to make these assets in-house, carefully updating you with their progress as the pre-production process begins.
The length of time a production may take will vary, depending on the scope of the piece. A typical pre-rendered trailer can often take several months, so planning on your side will be an essential element to the success of the piece. Even with this in mind, it is crucial to keep the studio up-to-date with your plans, allowing enough time for the studio to produce the trailer and apply the specialist resources to accommodate the project.
Also, be wary of when you want to enlist their service. In the run-up to any major industry event, such as E3, many studios will be fully booked up. With this in mind, you should look as far down the road ahead as possible to avoid disappointment. What matters most is that the final trailer is a creative testament to your game and an open line of communication can go a long way to help with this.
A consistent and collaborative attitude to communication throughout production will inevitably help you arrive at a CG trailer that all stakeholders are happy with. So having a permanent point of contact within the production company is key. The studio’s Head of Production should be your day-to-day contact who keeps you informed of any changes and respond to feedback.
Over the course of the production cycle, you should be privy to many milestones, initially beginning at the pre-production stage with concept art. Storyboards and rudimentary animatics are intended to give you insight into the direction of the trailer. These are created with the intention of providing your team with an opportunity for feedback. Over time, you should see the final product start to form, as the production company sculpts a work of art before your eyes.
If you have stayed communicative throughout, you should have a final product that trumps every expectation. A cinematic tour de force sure to capture the attention of any audience. Something that encapsulates your game with ease.
It seems like an almost impossible task; how can you find someone who can deliver on your expectations? How can a company ever truly understand your product? A specialist CG studio that understands games can – if you allow them.
RealtimeUK is that company. We aren’t just a production company; we are an extension of your studio. We work intimately with our clients from the start, working with a focus on open communication. If you would like to discuss your next project, get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.