Why Am I Being Yelled at for Liking CGI Trailers?

While gaming will always remain an interactive hobby, is there really anything wrong with liking CGI trailers?

Yes, I know it’s not gameplay. I understand.

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Yes, gameplay is what matters most, as it always has.

Yes, CGI trailers are essentially marketing tools.

I get all this. But I’m going to repeat the same question I asked back in the original PlayStation days, when CGI and FMV started to become part of the industry: “Why am I not allowed to like such previews? Why am I not allowed to like CGI cut-scenes in games?”

For years, hardcore “purists” have acted like you’d commit some unforgivable sin if you say you like CGI cut-scenes, whether they’re used in games or used as promotional tools. Obviously, this reaction was due to a combination of bitterness (the niche industry that was once the domain of the geeks was going mainstream, and of course, the geeks didn’t like that), and a legit complaint (gaming is supposed to be interactive).

But I reserve the right to like ’em.

So, E3 “sucked” because of the trailers without gameplay?

Since when? It’s not like we didn’t see any gameplay; in fact, when compared to E3 shows in yesteryear, we get way more gameplay during the press conferences than we ever did before. Hell, I remember E3 shows where the only thing we saw were CGI trailers or various cut-scenes of upcoming games. Showing off five or even ten minutes of straight gameplay was completely unheard of, and we got exactly that for multiple big titles at this year’s E3.

Therefore, it’s ridiculous to say we didn’t see “any” gameplay. That’s just more SBS (Spoiled Brat Syndrome), which I’ve already addressed. We got plenty of gameplay at which to gawk. However, we did get more CGI than we’ve had in recent years, especially in regards to freshly announced titles like From Software’s Bloodborne. That’s obviously the reason people are unhappy, but…why?

What’s the big deal?

There is artistry and beauty to be found, even in promo tools

I really don’t think we should dismiss such trailers simply because they’re not 100 percent indicative of the final product. First of all, we’re well beyond the PS1 days when the CGI cut-scenes really weren’t remotely close to the gameplay graphics. These days, cut-scenes and gameplay are closer than ever, so we really shouldn’t be complaining that much. Secondly, it takes great skill to put together a fantastic preview, even if it doesn’t include any gameplay.

In fact, those on the movie-making side of things would argue that it takes more skill, because you can’t just fill up a few minutes with straight gameplay. You need to be creative; you need to whet the viewer’s appetite;  you need to pique their interest while not giving away anything critical. It really is an art form, and it requires a keen eye for choreography that we shouldn’t ignore.

We should probably focus on this, as opposed to the cynical idea that publishers are just trying to bamboozle gamers with CGI trailers.

Speaking of “bamboozling gamers,” aren’t you insulting yourself if you believe that?

Core gamers know that CGI trailers can’t be implicitly trusted. Thing is, publishers know we know. Everyone knows. Those who complain so loudly about such presentations act like people are being tricked, that consumers will be fooled into buying something that “doesn’t really look like that.” Really? Who? Anybody you know falling for that? Of course not. A few of the mainstream/casual gamers might fall for it, but they probably won’t be in the market for something like Bloodborne or Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, now will they?

On top of which, perhaps you hadn’t noticed, but a lot of games – most, actually – that get beautiful CGI trailers also turn out pretty darn well. There are a few exceptions but does anyone really expect those games at E3 to suck? Do we really think that the CGI preview was brilliant but the final product will be disappointing? It’s not impossible, of course, but what evidence do we have that this happens often?

Let’s be logical. We all know what’s going on; nobody’s fooling anybody. And as they’re entertaining and often impressive for a variety of reasons, we’re allowed to like CGI trailers. We really are. We won’t be offending the Gods of gaming, I promise.


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Fathoms_4209
A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.