On my recent post The Second Game, I wanted to post links to trailers for each game referenced. One exception was Bioshock. I just couldn’t find a trailer that I felt sufficiently sexual towards.

What happened? Am I the only one to dislike Bioshock à la video?

Let’s take a look at two classic trailers.

Yeah, you can see shades of Deus Ex: Human Revolution: The Movie here. It doesn’t tell you anything about the game apart from it’s “supposed to be something like this (actual size not shown)”. But worse still, these aren’t cutscenes extracted from the game, but fantasy sequences made up by marketers. These are teaser trailers. All they tell you is this:

(And looking for an appropriate background, I hit this and this. Gamer = male, obviously.)

Even more troubling, they’ve got this annoying only-in-CGI hyperfrenzied feel to them, like the player character is a psychopathic crazie with a penchant for killing shit with everything zoomed in your face like a bad action movie.

These trailers do not speak Bioshock to me. Watching them feels like someone is trying to inject marketing hype nasties into my brain like that bit in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. GET OUT OF MY HEAD.

They were some better attempts. The following one actually shows off the game, yet still can’t help itself from lurching into the game trailer equivalent of Tourette syndrome. It becomes a non-stop sequence of fragmented violence, beamed directly at your eyes.

Going back in time, the following video is what actually got me interested in Bioshock. Ken Levine, taking some time out to show what makes this game so awesome. I also prefer the Little Sisters depicted as emaciated street urchins, rather than the ones with the weird voices and glowing eyes that turned up in the actual release.

Bioshock 2 trailers did nothing for me, because they just seemed to push all the same Rapture/plasmid buttons again and I felt like I’d had my fill of all that with the first game.

I find it frustrating that Bioshock Infinite is now going for the same mad marketing ploy that Bioshock went through, showing frenetic CGI action that won’t even be in the game. The trailer did tell me that the guys at Irrational were working on something entirely different to the undersea world of Rapture and that fact alone was quite exciting enough, thank you. Someone get me a cup of tea to calm my nerves.

Putting that aside, though, there’s absolutely nothing else here that would give me any clue as to whether the game would be Andrew “a man chooses, a slave obeys” Ryan good, or Frank “my fake accent sounds more authentic than my real voice” Fontaine bad.

But God damn if I’m in the minority. I will retreat to the naughty corner and enjoy whizzing on the electric fence alone.

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7 thoughts on “I Hate Bioshock Trailers

  1. That’s the trai- er, footage I was talking about! Ken Levine’s narration was every bit as enthralling as our first glimpse of Rapture. Why the hell they made the Little Sister’s eyes glow and added that voice effect I’ll never know. I’d sooner a developer talk us through the ideas and show us around a tiny bit of the game than cut together some worthless CGI that doesn’t even feature in the game. I remember my mum saying that Bioshock looked really good and when I told her that the advert didn’t feature any in game footage even she was disappointed!

  2. It just occurred to me: I never watched that entire developer preview because I was afraid it would spoil too much. It seems even at that stage that the game was going to undergo a fair bit of change, hearing Ken say that resources were going to be scarce was a bit of an o rly? moment.

  3. Hi Gregg. I’m very critical of trailers in these modern times, particularly super-polished ones like those for DX:HR and Bioshock above. I don’t mind a bit of hype – there’s a silly trailer from Puppygames about Revenge of the Titans that tells you nothing about the game, but it’s charming and attracts your interest. And I liked the Singularity trailer last year as well as the associated MIR-12 viral marketing videos (although I am aware the Singularity trailer harbours something very close to the Tourette violence that I discussed above).

    But I get wound up when the trailer is completely divorced from game reality yet trying to say “this is how cool it will be playing this game”.

  4. The funny thing is, all of these games decided that real first-person with a swingy camera looks cool, yet Breakdown on the Xbox, the only game I know of to include such a view in-game, was a commercial failure.

    The games industry is weird.

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