As the game Constellation Distantia has been in the works for almost two years now, we, the makers, have a clear understanding of what its soul is like. It's a story driven space survival game where free flying in open space plays a major role, and where action takes over every now and again, but the main thing is still in strategic decisions, resource management and missions. This setup presents a major challenge: since the game mechanics are often around flying and explosions, the marketing material, especially videos and screenshots, tend to become quite action-y. Here's how we have tried to tackle this.
This article focuses on the videos since they're probably the most important marketing material of them all.
The first and current goal of ours, while preparing the game for Steam release, is to have a solid visitor to wish list ratio on our Steam page. This means the percentage of game page viewers who flag the game to their wishlist. For this, we have done over dozen of iterations to the videos on the Steam pages. Here we are focusing on the main iterations.
The Teaser/Trailer Evolution
First of all we had a video for Steam Greenlight. We quickly learned that the first 15-20 seconds are crucial for gaining the visitor's interest, and this was clearly a problem in the Greenlight trailer. In 2017 users are very much using Steam in sort of a queue mode, and that is the case both in Greenlight, Coming Soon or the actual Store. Players come and go quickly, and obviously the first impression is super important.
1. Steam Greenlight Trailer
The initial idea for the actual store page was to have two separate videos; a teaser and a trailer. Teaser would be a quick and compact demonstration of the actual gameplay, and trailer would offer more in-depth overview for the interested gamers. The latter, long gameplay trailer has remained unchanged since.
2. The first Teaser version
3. The Long Gameplay Trailer
Having done these two drafts, the next phase was to optimise the teaser. Make it shorter, with quicker transitions, pick the best clips, choose more energetic music to set the tone. The result available below.
4. The second Teaser version
After finishing the second teaser version, we came to a conclusion that it was missing a few key features.
5. The third Teaser / first Trailer version
When the optimisation had been done, however, we agreed that it gave a restricted, even superficial idea of Distantia, which might lead the potential gamers to compare it to a recent similarly themed space games, even though Distantia in fact is quite unique.
Therefore, after 3 or 4 iterations, the idea of teaser & trailer was rejected. Instead, here we are with two different trailers: one presenting the story aspect and the overall idea; and another longer gameplay video explaining the game features such as mining, crafting and combat.
6. The second and latest Story Trailer
The second and hopefully the final version of Story Trailer was revised with more fitting music, faster transitions and missing gameplay features.
Eventually, when the release date approaches, we will use the combination that produces the highest visitor to wishlist ratio.
The release date for Constellation Distantia is scheduled late February or early March 2017.