You’re psyched about your new video game and now it’s time for the world to know about it. Next you need a catchy game trailer but there’s just one very important step missing. You need a video game trailer script. But how do you write one? How long does it need to be?
At WAYPOINT, our video game creative agency in Los Angeles, we’ll guide you on how to write an effective video game trailer script.
What It Takes To Write A Game Trailer
The first consideration you should make is how long will your trailer be. About two minutes is the very longest you can get away with, even Hollywood movies don’t go much past this mark. Long trailers put you in danger of boring your potential users, so keep things short. The industry standard for a game trailer is about 40 seconds to 1 minute.
Your game trailer should also tell a story. Telling a story is a very powerful way to market your game and it’s much more interesting than just stating the features and basic aspects of your game. You need to give potential users something to invest in personally. Whether it’s your main character or the setting, find something that people will believe in or be sympathetic to.
Check out the story-driven trailer we made for Bulletstorm by clicking on the image below!
You also need to highlight what is unique about your game. Tell users why your game is different to your main competitors and why playing your game will help you stand out from the competition and provide the most entertaining experience. If your game is truly unique from a graphic standpoint, then you won’t have much to do. If the unique experience of your game is due to the gameplay or storyline, you’ll have a slightly harder task. You can mention what’s special about your game using a voice-over or on-screen text but don’t go overboard.
A major benefit of game trailers is that they show users ahead of time what your game is really like. Including a short snippet of gameplay action will avoid confusion for potential users and reduce the chance of receiving negative reviews by people that feel they were promised something else. Create a clear and concise picture of what happens in your game and people can change their expectations accordingly.
Something all game trailers must include is a call to action. If you make a game trailer and don’t include one, then you’re doing your game a major disservice. A call to action is the idea that draws people into your game. Select actionable phrases that prompt people to not just enjoy your trailer but download your game and get the full experience. Find out what the most compelling thing about your game is and ask people to do it.
For an example of a game trailer, check out the one we made for He-Man!
Planning Your Game Trailer Script
When it comes to making your trailer, the first step is to write your script. Your script can include every last detail of what will happen in your trailer or could just be a strong outline of the events it will contain. Either way, starting without a script will lead to problems. Start by writing some ideas down first and then you’ll find the production process much easier.
You’ll probably want to decide on some basic art direction issues as well before you start. This includes things like the music you will use, any fonts that will show on screen and the general style of the trailer.
The style of the trailer should match the overall style of your game. If you’re working on a casual game with a playful theme, you don’t want to make a trailer that makes it seem like a dark horror game. Your choice of music will have a major impact in this case too. Keep in mind, there is a lot of free music available online that you can use.
Who is your audience? Are you targeting kids or adults?
Where are you going to use the video? How does your video fit with your other marketing efforts? For example a big franchise would benefit from behind-the-scenes videos to engage the fans, such as this Dev Diary video we made for Assassin’s Creed.
What’s the most important message you want to get across to your audience? This should help you find the right approach when you’re writing your script.
List a few bullet points to define the flow of the video and what gameplay captures you’ll need to take. Also include any text captions or a voice-over draft if there is one.
Writing a script will not only help you figure out how to present the game, but if you’re part of a team it puts everyone on the same page and allows for feedback before creating the video.
Scripting Phase in 2 Steps:
- Synopsis – a few bullet points
- Detailed script – detailing all the screens and game content you’re going to show and defining details like font, music, etc.
Your game trailer needs to make sense. You want it to be compelling, and actionable for your viewers. Here is a good structure guide for a game trailer:
- Present character(s): if your game is about a character, don’t hesitate to present it. If it’s animated, even better. You can either use captures from your game or maybe some design source files. Depending on the length of your video, you might want to introduce the name of your game here as well.
- Show some gameplay: make sure you show what your actual game looks like. Select visually interesting parts, and vary things: don’t show just one level during the whole video; make sure you keep things dynamic (4 or 5 seconds per gameplay sequence for example).
- Call to Action: what’s the point of creating a game trailer if at the end of it people don’t know what the game is or if you don’t tell them what to do? Make sure the name is mentioned and where it can be found.
Keep in mind that as a rule, there are a few things you’re not supposed to do such as show products from other brands, show unrealistic movements of the phone, etc.
Click here for more information on writing a Video Game Trailer Script.
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