Stuff That Sucks: Pre-rendered CGI game trailers

Reveal trailers nowadays offer a lot of cool CGI, intense battle scenes, and visual eye candy. What they all-too-often don't offer is actual gameplay and that's the subject of this week's Stuff That Sucks.

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Game reveals are exciting. They give people an opportunity to get excited for the next big thing, whether it's a whole new property or a sequel to a favorite classic. So imagine the disappointment that those same people start to feel when they see that the entire reveal trailer is just a pre-rendered trailer? Sure, it looks pretty and all, but there's no way that it will be indicative of the final product.

For this week's "Stuff That Sucks," Greg takes a look at pre-rendered CGI trailers. And yes, he starts with the recent Star Wars Battlefront reveal, noting its coolness, but also its lack of gameplay. From there, he expands into what's become a trend in gaming, with more games relying on CGI footage that will inevitably fail to match the eventual game itself. Check out the full video below.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    April 27, 2015 12:30 PM

    Shack Staff posted a new article, Stuff That Sucks: Pre-rendered CGI game trailers

    • reply
      April 27, 2015 12:36 PM

      Fucking signed. I generally rage-quit the browser tab if I load up a trailer and notice it's CGI.

    • reply
      April 27, 2015 12:55 PM

      Yeah, I don't agree with this. CGI trailers are awesome IMO. I love a trailer that is pretty, and gives me a glimpse into the world I will be playing in. I do think we're reaching a point where CGI trailers are less needed as graphics improve though. BUT-GAMEPLAY TRAILERS ARE BORING. WATCHING SOMEONE PLAY THE GAME IN A TRAILER IS BORING. Going back to your 'burger' example-if restaurants showed you the actual burger you'll be buying in a commercial...would you really want it? Would you really be all that excited to try it???

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        April 27, 2015 10:36 PM

        Watching people play games is pretty big these days. Let's players are minor celebrities at this point.

        CGI trailers are disingenuous because it's a bait and switch. They're not indicative of what the experience a player will actually have in the game. Sizzle reel? Sure. Hype footage? You bet. What playing the game will be like? Only in a loose generalization.

        • reply
          April 28, 2015 8:39 AM

          I don't know if I'd compare a let's play to a gameplay trailer...kinda different. I was actually thinking that if I wanted to see gameplay, I'd go to Youtube and watch a let's play video. A trailer should get you excited to play the game, don't you think? But personally I can't stand those gameplay trailers where there's a narrator saying 'watch as the player uses this new feature we've added to the game! Isn't that cool to watch someone else do these things?' NO! Not in a trailer! Here's an example of the terrible trailers I'm thinking of:

          The crew: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZXV-2gnRw4

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      April 27, 2015 1:03 PM

      Watch Dogs had me believing you could shoot someone while sliding over a car's hood. nope. CGI ads are incredibly misleading.

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      April 27, 2015 1:58 PM

      CGI Trailers are fine so long as they don't try to pass it off as real gameplay.

      • reply
        April 27, 2015 2:08 PM

        The Assassin's Creed trailers (for the Ezio Trilogy) that were CGI do well to tease the setting and gameplay elements that end up in the game.

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        April 27, 2015 2:27 PM

        And I think that's my main issue with CGI trailers,a lot of times the DO try to pass them off as actual gameplay,and when they don't,they still don't show you any gameplay whatsoever.

        I couldn't care less about a pre-rendered CGI trailer,because that's not what I'll be playing.It's a total bait and switch to just get people lathered up for a game.

        Batman did it perfectly combining the two to give us that great cinematic feel,while including the actual gameplay that we want to see.

        I've hated these full CGI trailers for quite a long time now and I'm glad that someone has finally brought it up.

    • reply
      April 27, 2015 2:06 PM

      It sucks a lot in 3 screen set ups where the game is fixed to the horizontal resolution instead of vertical. In horizontal the video is stretched to the left and right edge so the top and bottom thirds are cropped out. Borderlands 2 had this. When tied to a vertical resolution, it ends up filling the center screen only and the left and right screen just gets blacked out and in some cases not blacked out so you see the game loading assets or whatever is happening behind the scenes.

      The latter is much more bearable but in an in-engine cutscenes it sometimes breaks the cutscenes because you can see the assets being loaded ahead of time or paused waiting for a cue/trigger.

      Some games do it best like the Assassin's Creed series where they black out the side monitors as needed.

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      April 27, 2015 2:44 PM

      Nothing wrong with a cinematic or live action to set the tone

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        April 27, 2015 4:06 PM

        agreed, and I already know that the game isn't going to be that pretty either.

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        April 27, 2015 4:26 PM

        agreed, but like I said, they should only be shown at the announcement of a game. The Money could be spent elsewhere.

        • reply
          April 27, 2015 4:53 PM

          The money is already a part of the marketing budget, so no, it really can't be spent elsewhere.

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      April 27, 2015 3:18 PM

      Yea, I agree. Fuck people who work in the marketing department. They think that the general population is too stupid so they put out flashy sparkly CGI bullshit to entice the mouth-breathers. I mean, they are right, but fuck them anyway.

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      April 27, 2015 3:36 PM

      I love them for setting the tone of the fiction. Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk are two of my favorites.

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        April 27, 2015 3:48 PM

        yep, +Deus Ex

      • DM7
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        April 27, 2015 4:41 PM

        Amen brother, the both of those are some of my favs too!

    • reply
      April 27, 2015 3:44 PM

      Agreed, but it's still several steps better than Kate Upton shilling mobile f2p clones. If they make a CGI teaser that is followed up later with a gameplay trailer when the game is more ready, I think it's acceptable.

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      April 27, 2015 4:27 PM

      Yup. I'm on board.

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      April 27, 2015 4:32 PM

      I've always enjoyed Blizzard's pre-rendered teasers. They used to blow my mind as a kid, and got me really excited for the game.

      I agree that pre-rendered stuff passed off as gameplay sucks though.

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        April 27, 2015 5:17 PM

        Blizzards pre-rendered stuff is always fun and usually really really high quality stuff. It helps that they really haven't, at least in my memory, tried to do anything with it other than teasers.

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          April 27, 2015 6:47 PM

          They use it for more than teasers. They use it in all of their games (well, the RTS's anyway - don't know about the others), and to great effect.
          Warcraft 3 had some great cinematics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfkiJXnSRM8
          And the Starcraft cinematics have always helped provide a nice sense of scale for the stuff that happens in game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVbeoSPqRs4

          • reply
            April 27, 2015 8:23 PM

            I've played pretty much every Blizzard game. I was refering to their trailers, as the OP was focused on.

            They do great ingame cinematic stuff too. I love their stuff all around.

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      April 27, 2015 4:32 PM

      [deleted]

    • DM7
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      April 27, 2015 4:40 PM

      I hope you are not talking about intro CGI that plays in the beginning of games. Some of those are bad ass. Everything Blizzard has done is excellent and the Dawn of War intro movie got me so pumped to play the game and get into the lore.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFkFo5SBx-g

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        April 27, 2015 6:41 PM

        Yeah, I love pre-rendered in game cinematics. There have been some really memorable ones over the years. Hell, the Dawn of War intro cinematic not only got me interested in that game, it got me interested in WH40K in general!

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        April 27, 2015 11:45 PM

        Uploaded on Feb 11, 2006? I didn't realize that much time had passed since YouTube came out.

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      April 27, 2015 4:55 PM

      Pre-rendered teasers are fine but yeah I agree about actual trailers. That sucks.

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      April 27, 2015 5:19 PM

      Check out the Camelot Unchained alpha one. It is like straight copy of GoT.

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      April 27, 2015 8:01 PM

      I wish all pre-rendered CGI in video games would die, not just the trailers.

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      April 27, 2015 11:41 PM

      Definitely

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      April 28, 2015 12:32 AM

      Almost as irritating as "actual game footage" which is just cut scenes anyway...

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      April 28, 2015 7:43 AM

      I think when the studios market it as "The world premier trailer will be shown on X date" and then its pre-rendered CGI crap, I'm not ok with that. However if they said "Here's a glimpse of what the action will be like, not necessarily look like", that's better. Branding it as gameplay is wrong.

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