As a Roblox developer, it is currently impossible to go a bit more in-depth with our game trailers. We are capped to a 31 seconds limit, which seems a bit like the wrong incentive to me for a platform that powers imagination.
I understand that a lot of games can cram their game’s trailer within that 31 second window. That is fine. But for games like RPG’s that have a lot of aspects to showcase, this is a whole different story.
I’ll give some examples of steam game trailers, then I’ll give my own thoughts and experience.
‘The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim; or just Skyrim for short, is a massive world released in 2011. For those who have not played it, the game has a massive open world environment, filled with wilderness expanses, dungeons, cities, towns, fortresses, and villages, that players can roam through. The story revolves around the fact that you are of dragonkin, and must stop the end of time.
This brings me to the trailer. Skyrim’s trailer is presented in a story-telling manner. It warms you up to this massive world, instead of pushing it all into the viewer’s face at once. It has cinematic pauses, where you can rest your eyes on a soft-coloured engraved wall, then there’s a scene of the main character running from a dragon, followed by camera shots of the massive world, showing its beauty. The timing for all of this is crucial, and could not be poured into a 31 seconds window at all.
(For reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSRtYpNRoN0)
God of War
God of War, which won the Game of the Year 2019 award, has a 5 minute long gameplay trailer. It features parts of the story, but mostly focuses on the gameplay scenarios you can encounter. Combat system, cutscenes, gameplay mechanics and different types of creatures.
While this trailer is arguably extensive and has some parts that can be cut out, it would still be too much to show within a 31 seconds video.
(For reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOE2BVRCUkM)
Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2’s trailer pretty much paints a picture. It gives you the settlement, and it lays the focus on the fact that the game is all about brotherhood; Your clan is the most important thing in that world. But Red Dead Redemption 2 is more than that, and RockstarGames shows this with the trailer too. RDR2 is a massive game, and to show and sell that, you need a fairly packed trailer, too.
(For reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaW0tYpxyp0)
My own thoughts:
I think the idea of limiting developers to making trailers shown on-site limited to 31 seconds counter-productive, especially on a platform whose main motto is to ‘Power Imagination’. As I’ve tried to explain before, making a trailer is an art. Like making a painting on a canvas. Imagine yourself a painter, and you have this massive landscape you wish to paint. You wouldn’t do it on a small canvas. You’d get a large one, to project your vision onto that instead, because that is what you as a painter feel is needed.
I am not saying that Roblox games are as large and complex as AAA games, but a lot of games are becoming a lot bigger than Roblox games used to be. The 31 seconds limit worked in the past because games weren’t very big, they weren’t as ambitious as some games that are being developed nowadays.
Take Vestaria. This game is really ambitious. Their current trailer fits into the 31 seconds window but it could have been much better if there wasn’t the stress of having to fit it within the limit.
You can also argue that the 31 seconds trailer is good for mobile users. This is true, but the choice should be up to developers. Short trailers can work. But not for everything. So I think we should reconsider the limit for it. As @BuildIntoGames said almost 2 years ago:
If Roblox is able to address your issue, how would it improve your game and/or your development experience? Please be as specific as possible.
I think if we got the in-my-opinion necessary freedom to make longer trailers, developers would be more ambitious with them too, and far more creative.
Thank you for reading my somewhat lengthy thoughts about this, I hope to not have offended anyone, and feel free to share your thoughts on the matter.