My Game Development Journey in Making a Trailer

Game Development Journey in Trailer Making

What I’ve learned is that making a trailer is extremely important. Not just making one, but the quality of the trailer too. It’s pretty much one of the greatest marketing tools ever because I’m showing a glimpse of my game. 

Now the question is, how do I make a good trailer?

Only one person in the trailer community is giving tips and advice to make a good trailer and that’s Derek Lieu. He’s been doing this for a very long time.

So I went through his entire youtube videos to answer my question, how do I make a good trailer? I’m going to save you a month of work and tell you the answer.

A trailer is supposed to inform you about a key topic of your game that’s interesting. Adding footage randomly and saying this game is good because it has great art isn’t going to make the trailer great. When you make a trailer, you have to communicate as a developer to the audience about the key idea of what makes your game so great. And it also has to be interesting.

Let’s say, for example, I wanted to make the next stardew valley game. How would I go about making a trailer for that? Well, most farming farming games are supposed to have dating and so most farming game trailers would center their focus on potential marriage candidates, the environments that you can fall in love with, and the minigames that the game offers. That’s one interesting aspect that a trailer can showcase, especially the potential marriage candidates and the fantasy that the developers want this dating scene to happen in.

Trailer Philosophy

But what about my trailer? Following Derek Lieu’s philosophy in making a good trailer, I had to question deeper in what makes a good trailer. And I’ve come up with more questions that’s more to the point in getting my good trailer question. Question 1) What makes my game interesting? Question 2) How can I show that this game is interesting? I already had the answer to my 1st question. My game is not a stardew valley clone, but a story-driven thriller type game that uses traditional farming mechanics to progress the story. Something that’s very new in the farming genre. Now, getting to the 2nd question, how can I show that this game is interesting in a way that people would understand? What do I show in my trailer? I spent about 2 weeks thinking about how to show this in an interesting way. I thought about Derek Lieu’s trailer philosophy of communicating effectively to the audience.

I had an idea where I wanted to make it seem like everything in my game is a lie. And for that to work, I had to think about, this is the lifestyle of the game, this is what you do in the game in a very cute way that almost all farming gamers would understand. You milk the cows, you pet the chickens, and grow your crops. And then I would add the darker side of the game. The mysterious parts. This process took me 4 weeks.

4 Weeks to Make Harvest Island Trailer

And after putting a lot of weeks into this trailer, I finally got some buzz around my game which I had dreamed of getting since the development of Harvest Island. A trailer is such a great marketing tool if done right, because it can make a journalist raise an eyebrow and write a blog about your game. Or get a lot of views on reddit because it’s just that interesting. Now instead of, hey, your game is a stardew valley clone, don’t buy the game, it’s more like, this game has potential. I’m going to wishlist this and keep up with the development until the release. And that’s what I’ve been trying to communicate throughout my entire game development journey. This is the first time this has happened and I think it’s going to get even better as the game releases. I thank everything to my trailer that I seriously put a lot of effort in and to Derek Lieu’s guidance as well.

Wishlist Harvest Island

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