Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Death Becomes It: The Darksiders II Teaser Trailer

If you never played the original Darksiders, you aren't alone.  It was a great but criminally undervalued game.  It was an adventure game very similar to the Zelda series, if Zelda focused more on combat, had a heaping of religious mythology, and was approximately 8,000% more graphically violent.  Certainly it wasn't a game for the kiddies, but it was a great game nonetheless.  Though it wasn't the biggest hit, it was popular enough to warrant a sequel, Darksiders II: Death Lives.  In the original, you played as War, one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, a neutral-in-the-war-between-Heaven-and-Hell group.  The sequel give you control of one of his brethren, Death, and takes place concurrently with the first game.

One of the more intriguing parts of Darksiders II has been the build up via trailers that developer Vigil Games and publisher THQ have been releasing.  Take this one, for example, that was one of the first to crop up a few months ago:

It's subtle, atmospheric, and, most interestingly, doesn't show any gameplay at all.  The video draws the viewer in, allowing them to imagine the game as part of a bigger world, that this is really happening, by intertwining it with real-world history.

Many media outlets have been reluctant to move away from traditional advertising channels and focus on Internet outlets like YouTube and social networking sites.  However, it doesn't need to be an either/or scenario.  This teaser trailer is short and simple.  It likely didn't cost as much as a traditional commercial would to produce, and YouTube is a free platform through which Vigil and THQ can reach a wider audience.  Even better, fans can comment on YouTube to create an even bigger buzz (one of the top comments for the video is "SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!!"  That has to make the developers feel good).

Sure, these companies might save their higher-production videos for television, or even print advertisements in trade magazines, but to not use free platforms like this is foolish.  Especially in the entertainment industry, where there can be months or years between the announcement of a project and its eventual release, generating and maintaining excitement is crucial.  A handful of smaller videos spread out versus one or two more expensive productions could be the difference between growing the Darksiders franchise or its eventual death (sorry, had to throw that in there).


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