Tapping away at my typewriter here at Lolocaust Outpost Delta, I’ve had a pop at the two franchises for a lack of originality, questionable writing and sloppy endings. But one thing both have done well, VERY well, is crank the PR machine up.
As if the mere mention of Halo or Gears did not have most gamers salivating at what might be around the corner, both franchises have fed their legions of fans a steady diet of books, animated shorts, production videos and a whole host of other teasers and tit bits to keep the wheels turning prior to the next games launch.
The really great thing about these two franchises for me though is that both have dished out some of the tastiest promo videos this side of, well, somewhere that dishes out REALLY good promo videos.
This is the kind of stuff that puts Hollywood to shame.
Exhibit A; the absolutely spine tingling Museum of Humanity series which accompanied Halo 3 – and it’s tour de force Believe trailer:
When was the last time a diorama, with a fractional character movement and a simple piano soundtrack, was so utterly spellbinding?
Combined with the brilliant shorts that told a variety of stories of veteran UNSC soldiers who survived the war with the Covenant, it formed possibly one of the best marketing campaigns of all time.
Halo 3 isn’t the only ace in the intergalactic shooter’s PR pack though; as the marketing department blasted out masterpiece promos for Halo: ODST, Halo Reach and now Halo 4 (I admit it, the first trailer for the new game flared my interest and my nostrils!)
But Bungie’s multi-million selling franchise is not the only one to knock it out of the park…
You’ve probably guessed already – I’m talking about Epic’s juiced up juggernaut.
As the Believe trailer shows, the right musical accompaniment takes something good and turns it in to something great. And like it’s Triple A brother, Gears consistently seems to have nailed it when it comes to its trailers – largely due to the choice of music used.
War Pigs for Gears 3? Hell Yeah! But it didn’t stop there for Epic’s Gears swan-song as Sun Kil Moon’s ‘Heron Blue’ mesmerised us in GoW 3’s Ashe to Ashes trailer.
Prior to that, DeVotchKa’s amazing ‘How It Ends’ was a masterstroke for Gears 2. But the real icon of the Gears marketing portfolio was the original.
Surely one of the most memorable moments in gaming? Which says much about it given it wasn’t actually in the game but an advert for it…
It’s hard to convey the sense of excitement the trailers built up ahead of their respective titles launches, at least not without sounding either clichéd, gushing or both. But that’s all part of the way the two games have reached the heights they have.
Whilst there has always been an element to flare and ‘outside the box’ thinking to gaming advertisement, the bar has been raised over the past few years. Halo and Gears are credited with taking the FPS genre to new places, introducing new innovations that are now common place in the market, but one of their greatest contributions is making games art beyond what is on the disk.