Recently we have had E3, Gamescom,  Comic-con etc and as always everyone loves to see new stuff on the games they are following, perhaps see some new games they didn’t even know about or which had never really taken much interest in before.

It’s all very exciting if you’re a bit geeky like myself and I love it. However every so often such as when the Dragon Age Cinematic (which was really nice btw!) was released last year and some critics complained the cgi footage of trailers are not really gameplay and they mislead players into thinking the game looks better than it is or simply doesn’t represent accurately enough the game you will end up playing.

The way I look at it, is that they are correct if you know nothing about games. Much in the same way that watching all the funny/scary/action packed bits of a movie trailer on tv will show you the best bits of a movie they can mislead you into thinking the whole movie is that good but we all know they arn’t…right?

In a computer game I look at a cgi cinematic as something to fuel your imagination to the world you are going to be playing in. I don’t watch this a cinematic for a real-time strategy game and immediately think wow those graphics are so cool, because I know it’s a cinematic, I know it’s not an accurate representation of exactly what it will look like but more eye candy to make your imagination light up with enthusiasm for the world, the struggle and the gritty darkness.

When you look at the cover of a Novel that depicts an action scene you don’t expect a picture book full of colour artwork you expect a story and the cover is a representation to grab your attention and in as short a time as possible sell you a world you want to get into.

Cinematics for the past 10 years have been the closest gamers can get to watching good movies about their favourite games (I said good movies) and until regular game footage can look as good as big budget cgi they will always be a better representation of the world the game takes place in than any in-game footage in my opinion.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t see in-game footage during a games press release or development, I certainly wouldn’t go out and buy a game just because I liked the cinematic, I just think if you treat people like idiots that’s exactly what you get and most gamers are smart enough to recognise a cgi cinematic for what it is and to at least investigate a bit more about what the game is before laying down cash on it. On the few occasions that in-game footage looks so good it is actually cgi, well that’s the biggest complement a designer could get and only impresses the fan who first thinks this even more.

While I have watched in-game footage of some great games and enjoyed it I’ve never had my imagination of the setting truly stimulated to the level a cgi cinematic can. I equate it similar to reading a book vs watching a movie. The in-game footage gives you more detail much like reading a book but the movie paints the story so vividly that you can absorb more of the information and visual quality in a shorter space of time and I think there is a place for both in marketing.

We as humans are visual creatures, sure we use our other senses but until someone invents a way to make Game press releases smell like hot doughnuts, fresh coffee or Baked Bread cgi is still the biggest attention grabber you can use to market your game.