It is time for a trip down memory lane and to take a look at the trailer for Deep Rock Galactic. (I know! ...memory lane is only 10 month long, but so much has happened that it feels much further away!).
Today I'm gonna show you a comparison between the first version of our trailer and the updated version of it. And why is this interesting, you may ask? Well first of all it shows how crazy fast this project has developed. Secondly it shows the game before and after we nailed - or I should maybe say, sort of haphazardly discovered - the high level art direction of the game. And last but not least, I’m doing this because I simply wanted to see the trailers running side by side :-) …. But first I will give you a little background about why we made the trailers.
The first trailer was created around one month after we got together and founded Ghost Ship Games. From the start we knew that we needed to get some funding in place, so we were heavily focusing on making a playable prototype and at the same time preparing a lot of material for the fundraising. The gameplay trailer was the single most important piece of promotional asset we could make. The purpose of it was to give potential investors confidence that we had a strong game concept and that we had the skills and experience to go through with the production of the game.
Our first prototype of the game used a fairly simple voxel based system to generate the caves - it looked a bit like Minecraft. We didn’t like it and we knew we wanted to get away from this look and create an artstyle that was stylish and unique without being too simplistic. Henrik, CTO at Ghost Ship, further developed the terrain tech and made it look more smooth. This system (or the 1st iteration of it) is what you see in the old trailer in the video.
The updated trailer was made when we started attending our first couple of game conferences. The first conference was Steam Dev Days 2016 in Seattle. Here, we were attending to connect with Valve, so we could get our store page live on Steam and start the closed alpha. The second conference was Games Connection in Paris a couple of weeks later, where we went to meet with potential business partners.
Before these events, we had had an amazing breakthrough in the art direction. Henrik had made a system, that enabled us to generate debris and smaller objects like stalactites and crystals and turn them into a diggable and destructible material. When it got in the hands of Robert (our art director) magic happened and he created some amazing looking caves. Now we could see that the combination of a mesh based terrain combined with extended use of debris sets enabled us to create seemingly endless variations in the caves.
The updated trailer looked much better and helped us get a lot of attention from publishers and gamers - signing up for the Closed Alpha (and yes, we will release more keys soon!). It also played a big part in Coffee Stain noticing us and in the end, closing a deal with us. (Read about it here).
So if there is a lesson to be learned it is that a cool trailer can work wonders for your game and your company, so you better invest time in making a cool one!
Below is the video showing the two trailers running side by side. It is marvelous to see the giant leap we made in the art style between the two trailers and in so short time. To me, It is a testament of the magic and wonder of game development. Enjoy!