Is Deus Ex 3 a movie or a game?

Because it looks like it would be one hell of an excellent movie. I haven’t seen a cinematic trailer this long, plotty, or robust in a while.

I mean, I’m totally aware that cinematic trailers can be like this. I didn’t expect gameplay footage or anything. But usually when we see these kinds of things, they’re only fifty seconds long. Just a short clip of characters pumping shotguns and saying “Let’s roll!” in Clint Eastwood voices, or giving the camera heavy-lidded angst-eyes while titles and release dates flash by, or talking about why they love Commander Shepherd, or things like that. Clearly prerendered, but framed in such a way that we know we’re talking about a game, here. Even the ME2 cinematic trailer was just a list of squad members presented flashily. The launch trailer was also a list of squadmates, and it even had some in-game sex-scene footage in it. It had the framing logic of an RPG. When we start talking lists of recruitables, we know we’re talking about that kind of game. The Deuz Ex 3 trailer doesn’t have any of that framing logic.

The other type of cinematic trailer we see is the type where everything is patently cutscene footage. But the Deus X trailer feels like it was taken from a larger story, from a whole movie’s worth of story, not from just a few cutscenes. It feels like I’m going to want to play this game in a huge empty room with a bucket of popcorn and an Icee on hand. Which is, of course, kinda tough, right?

Here’s the thing: I’m starting to think that part of the reason we’re so skeptical of game movies (and I haven’t yet seen Prince of Persia, so I could be totally wrong about this) is that it’s not wise to try and make players feel the same way about a game character the same way we feel about a movie character, and vice-versa. Obviously, different strategies are involved in the characterization and the world-building, and so on. The kind of player-character that appeals to people in a game is often flimsy enough to be inhabitable, while simultaneously characterized enough not to feel like a sock puppet. Action-movie heroes are also vehicles for self-insertion, but in a different way: we spend more time regarding them from the outside than from the inside, so they’re shinier on that side, so to speak.

From what I see of these characters in this trailer, they’re the kind of people I want to regard from the outside. Or—I mean—they’re the kind of characters I don’t yet feel like I can regard from the inside, they’ve been polished up so hard.*

What do you guys think? I mean, when it comes to trailers-what-make-me-feel-excited, I think this is right up there among the best. But it doesn’t feel much like a game trailer.

*Except for that giving-orders guy  near the end. His voice acting just screams VIDEO GAME

Advertisements