It’s no secret that I like video games. But one thing I love as much? Video game trailers.
One of the video games that constantly impresses me is Overwatch. In addition to big trailers for the game, they also have movies that highlight some of the characters and their backstory. I like watching these, both for the quality of the animation and the fun ways that they quickly show storytelling tools that writers should be aware of.
Take a look at this particular short about one of my favorite characters, Reinhardt.
What can we learn from this? This is a good example of a character arc. It’s short, sweet, and could use some more fleshing out. However, for the time that they used, it is a satisfying sequence towards character development. We start off with the young, cocky hero who’s a showboat and clearly a bit arrogant. But then, there’s an inciting action that eventually leads to Reinhardt having a realization on what his role is in the unit thanks to the help of an elder mentor. Again, short and concise, but a really lovely example of a satisfying character arc.
Here’s another one, featuring the loveable robot, The Last Bastion.
For me, this is a good example of two things: Storytelling Through Action and Effective Use of Flashbacks. Nothing is said in the entire video, but there’s a very clear story of what is happening. Some of it we fill in ourselves, knowing some of the lore of the Overwatch Universe, but it’s still a clear story told through action. They foreshadow the climax before jumping into a flashback to explain exactly what is going on for the rest of us. It’s a very short flashback, but its timing and use are very powerful and helpful to the story.
There are numerous other examples in the video game universe: betrayal, foreshadowing, worldbuilding, and many more elements that writers can learn from. What are some of your favorite video game trailers? What did you learn from them as a writer/storyteller?