Sometimes, the Trailer Has a Better Story Than the Game

Patrick, Rob, Austin, and myself gathered to discuss the topic of game marketers occasionally telling a more interesting story than the game that's being sold. We touched on Far Cry 5, Dead Island, No Man's Sky, BioShock Infinite and more, with a dash of stories about raves in empty Toys R' Us stores for flavor.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I feel like I gotta interject and say that Shazam turned out not to be a Mandella Effect thing, the movie exists, a bunch of people found it, it just took long enough to find that A Whole Thing Happened.

More to the point of the podcast though, I’m surprised Namco Bandai’s marketing for Dark Souls wasn’t mentioned. Fromsoft supposedly misled them as to how wide an appeal they thought it had just so they could make it, which resulted in the very reductive “difficulty” focused “prepare to die” kinda marketing. It’s interesting I feel because it’s a more subtle misrepresentation, for one. But also because it wasn’t down to lack of communication, but allegedly down to internal politics. They didn’t think they’d get the money for what they wanted to do if Namco didn’t believe it was going to make as much back.

So obviously it comes down to capitalism sucking as per usual. Like, there definitely should be better links between the marketing and the development side of games, but that doesn’t always sound like it would be The Most Profitable, so the money people don’t tend to let them.

I wanna say that what Patrick says, about the expectation of the No Man’s Sky trailer only being 5% of what the game actually is, encourages the idea of trailers playing up games more than they are. If you want honest trailers then they made one, and consumer expectation (and admittedly bad interviews) did the rest. I don’t really know how to else to interpret what happened there outside of the hyper-consumerist and toxic culture around games being disappointed when they don’t get their toy.

Shazam turned out not to be a Mandella Effect thing, the movie exists

Do you mean this April Fools video that Sinbad made with CollegeHumor as a response to the Mandela Effect thing, or something else?

Oh I might have been duped then, I saw a few folks on twitter showing clips of it syaing it was the real thing, could well have been this.

Not exactly invested in the whole deal though, so forgive my lack of an investigative responce an all.

Gotta say, I think Austin was being overly dismissive of the people who took issue with those No Man’s Sky trailers. It wasn’t just a case of people filling in the blanks for themselves and finding those spaces to be actually empty in the released game (though that was certainly a big part of the disappointment with the game). The trailers definitely included a bunch of cool stuff that just was not present at launch, full stop. So much so that a watchdog group wound up investigating them for false advertising:

Yeah, it’s easy to wave a lot of it off as disgruntled gamer entitlement–because that’s what a lot of it is–but there were definitely things in those trailers that the game simply didn’t deliver.

The E3 2014 trailer is lodged in my mind as the real “unkept promise.” I knew multiplayer would be non-existent or a weird unique take, and that interaction with factions and NPCs would be limited. I was there to explore planets and see cool ass giant snakes and dinosaurs.

In ~30 hours, I never saw creatures that large. I never saw forests that tall and dense. I never saw an animal have an effect on the environment beyond the occasional skirmish between narrowly distinguishable crab-spider-things.

The marketing 100% promised cool ass dinosaur forests, and all the game offered was a shoulder shrug and the possibility that cool ass dinos are out there, somewhere.

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That really is a great trailer. The Jurassic Park parody someone made after release never fails to make me laugh (a silver lining!)

Wow, so after listening to this I went back to the pre-release trailers for Bioshock Infinite (Irrational Games is now called Ghost Story for those wondering about the channel name)…

So this is about two years before release and I’m pretty sure I’d either not seen it or maybe wasn’t aware enough to really have what’s said stick in my memory (2011 doesn’t feel that long ago but who knows).

The both-sides-ism going on already in the framing, the choice to show a revolutionaries-always-execute-the-postmen/workers vignette… wow. Like, most of us felt the hype for this project, a project to do something new from the action immersive sim studio who said “would you kindly” a few years before. But looking back on this… oh my God! Hopefully you’d have had a very different (critical) media landscape going into the release of this, rather than it emerging only some weeks after release.

Does anyone have the link of the bioshock infinite video they were talking about? Some YouTuber named copycat or something who pointed out the differences between the first demo and final product.

I searched and couldn’t find it

This one (Crowbcat - the discussion of this mention was had in a separate thread)? It appears to just be mainly cutting together the official pre-release interview/trailers I linked one of above.

Thanks. I thought they were saying"copycat" not “crow-b-cat” haha