So for the past couple of weeks I have been transfixed by Riot’s latest promo video “K/DA - POP/STARS.”
I know the characters names (Akali is my favourite, I don’t think I’m alone there), but after my 100th time listening to the song I realised something - I have have never in my life played a single game of League of Legends, nor do I have any desire to do so.
Now this isn’t the first time a cinematic video promoting a video game has got me.
The Halo 3 “Believe” trailer, the Need for Speed Hot Pursuit cinematic trailer had me watching and rewatching for the longest time and still continue to inspire me to this day, but I never actually ended up buying the games these videos were created to promote.
So this begs the question: am I a fan of the game or a fan of the marketing?
Promo videos often do not represent gameplay at all, the POP/STARS video definitely doesn't.
Some people criticise these videos as misleading as it not representative of the product you are spending money on.
I don’t necessarily agree with this, I think the average consumer is educated enough to know the difference between a cinematic and gameplay trailer.
So for some players, that is more than enough to get them invested in the characters and the overall narrative.
The industry has reached a point where the marketing budget for games can reach into the millions of dollars it comes as no surprise that the advertising is achieving a following of its own.
Is a campaign truly worth it if potential customers get everything they want out of the property by watching the advertisements and don’t end up buying the game itself?
Is the word of mouth enough to get that return on investment, rather than acquiring the new customers directly?
Nintendo is a perfect example, they made some spinoff media that took on it's own fandom and stood parallel to it's primary product, video games.
I’m referring to of course, the Pokémon anime.
Released in 1997 a year after the game, the anime adaptation is now just as well known and loved as it’s interactive cousin that spawned it.
The fact that most people are familiar with the adventures of Ash, Misty and Brock and their teams of Pokémon is a testament to how widely the anime was accepted by the community.
The anime not only sold the world of Pokémon to children around the world, but it influenced the original video games themselves, with Pokemon Yellow released in 1999 including many characters and elements developed for the TV series, like Team Rocket villians Jesse, James & Meowth.
With the recent release of Pokemon Let's Go Eevee & Pikachu those characters introduced and developed in the TV series are further entwined in the video game canon.
I love narrative and anything that gives me a peek inside the worlds that have been created, especially if the worlds themselves are relatively narrative free, is something I'll be all over.
So keep giving me your deep lore, spinoff plots and companion media: I'll leave the source material for others to enjoy.
Because the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant, it is what you choose to do with the gift of life, that determines who you are -Mewtwo