Redwall’s library of books approach the status of literary classics, and for good reason. Their tales of bravery and honor paint a world that’s deeply relatable, but equally tragic. As we sought to capture the tensions of this first episode (or Act), I stuck close to the biggest Redwall staples: feasting, camaraderie, and standing up to tyrannical despots.
King Under the Mountain makes you feel like a king.
That had to come through in our Kickstarter trailer. I sat down with creator, Ross Turner to figure out how to capture that “Feel Like a King” spirit: he wanted to do that through showcasing the new farming & food systems. I agreed. Nothing feels more regal than telling your people to farm for you — making them think you’re feeding them by making them do all the heavy lifting.
I can’t take credit. There’s something quietly majestic to building a settlement over time — seeing it become something uniquely your own. Jordan Chin’s sound design did much of the heavy psychological lifting. His musical composition puts you in the “Your Majesty” mood. His sound effects make your subconscious trust these folks to obey your royal decrees. This game will generate volumes of rad player stories.
King Under the Mountain is a sure thing. Still, it has 17 days left to work on those stretch goals! Back it on Kickstarter!
Darkest Dungeon stands at the precipice of my most-adored RPGs. The Color of Madness expands the original excursion: DLC inviting you to embark on a new Endless quest, rewarding players with many horrifying secrets. To craft the trailer for this new endeavor was a dream.
Or perhaps… the best kind of waking nightmare?
Creative reign was unfathomable to me — even after receiving Wayne June’s narration, active art files, and Stuart Chatwood’s new musical compositions. My drafts served as springboards — a dozen iterations that received flesh from Chris Bourassa’s direction of creativity. Jeff Tangsoc of Power Up Audio performed a master-pass on the auditory layer that made every vibration feel alive!
Tiny Bubbles does something impossible: it provides tactical-puzzling depth—as it puts a giggling smile on my toddler’s face. We captured some of that “deep, but approachable” dynamic in our PAX West trailer, but we needed to lean further into the “deep” for the Steam audience.
Kristoffer Larson again provided his AAA soundtrack talent, ensuring that every scene swam with auditory life. Tiny Bubbles’ lead developer, Stu and I worked-out the best scenes from his fancy new Infinity Mode. And we leaned-into the “assault to the senses” visual flourish that we established in our first trailer together.
Coming soon to Android.
Dead in Vinland is about as system-rich as a game get: the blend of survival, RPG management, exploration, and tactics all come together in a harmonious package.
The key here was framing things on the fierce Welsh heroine, Blodeuwedd, and getting into the psyche of a protective mother who will do anything to protect her family. We wanted to capture her tension—but also the sheer “WTF” moments that the game has to offer (which it does, a-plenty). The biggest trick was figuring out the right blend of those elements. So we went back and forth several rounds, finding the precise synergies of shots and concepts. It grew my muscles for “parsing a giant RPG for those ideal trailer shots.” I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I had a lot of fun trying to wrap my mind around this deep game, and translating it into the trailer. Massive thanks to Marlon Wiebe for the referral on this project; connecting me with Playdius & CCCP. These guys were a pleasure to work with; developing key debug tools to help me hop around their 30-hr epic.
Spend five minutes with Jarryd Huntley, and he’ll remind you that you’ve valuable. You might even want to give him a hug. For his game, Art Club Challenge, it was essential that we captured his charm.
His game is a wondrous bastion of creativity. Capturing its essence required that we explain, “Solve puzzles by creating art.” So Jarryd talks us through the requirements of solving a basic puzzle, “Make a little blue bird….”
The inviting soundtrack comes from sax artist, Nathan-Paul. He makes the game feel like you’re in a jazz cafe, enjoying your favorite hot beverage, reinforcing that low-pressure “you can make great art” spirit.
For the launch trailer, the new story mode needed to shine. We amended the teaser, but realized it we need to re-frame the intro: different music, new question—and a little bit more open air to take things in.
The most rewarding thing is seeing a ton of new artwork from the game appearing online and from the galleries after its gotten to launch. I love the way it makes things fun for seasoned artists, but also makes it fun and easy for anybody to create and shine.
Tech Support: Error Unknown made me feel like I was talking to real people. I had to stop a few times; remind myself that these were NPCs with procedurally-generated dialogue. But man, the emotional impact of this game experience is intense. So I really wanted to make sure we got some of that emotionally-connected feeling through the trailer.
I also learned desktop game trailers can be quite tricky to direct emotionally. The guidepost for this trailer was bringing in a little sound design to make it emotionally readable. James Marantette made everything come alive by composing the music and designing the sound effects. The creator, Kevin Giguère, crafted a brilliant hacking element in the game, but this mechanic didn’t read clearly until we added James’ keyboard sound where the player clicks on elements in the Terminal, reinforcing my belief that in trailers, everything needs a sound. James’ audio work gave voice to all of the emotions I was feeling when I played the game, especially that notification sound of “somebody’s talking to me!”
You can wishlist Tech Support: Error Unknown on Steam. It releases later in 2018.
Mama Hawk snared me with her talons when I upgraded her: suddenly this loving single parent transformed into something incredible. We wanted to capture that magical moment—showcase that moment of, “Wait, what?”
Kati Nawrocki brought her Mama character to forefront with some custom illustration (that I animated). We wanted the focus to hone-in-on the arcade gameplay (crafted by Andrew Garrahan, and Genaro Vallejo of Computer Lunch).
I cried when Hopoo Games came to me for Deadbolt’s launch trailer. That’s not hyperbole. I was just so excited, tears happened. Stealth games are my absolute jam, but solving the challenge of how to showcase stealth planning and execution is something of a masocore delight: fitting for Deadbolt’s incredible difficulty. Chris Christodoulou’s amazing track The Great Beyond has these amazing snaps and stops that made editing a dream.
When Pixelocity Software came to me for a trailer to the sequel of Disc Drivin, I had no idea it was practically THE game of Touch Arcade. After playing it, I got why: flicking your disc is an amazing tactile way to race. Disc Drivin’ 2 improves that formula with a double-flick, power-ups, and more vertical tracks: for more Rainbow-Road-like opportunities to make your own shortcuts. James Marantette came on board for custom musical arrangements. My direction to him was, “Let’s try to do Mario Kart by way of 30 Rock’s show opener, punctuated like an Adam West Batman action sequence.” My goal was to keep it humble: provide context, but let the game speak for itself.