Since Path of Exile's announcement in 2010, we've released a total of 16 trailers. They ranged from announcing Path of Exile itself to unveiling character classes, expansions and challenge leagues. In a recent news post, we highlighted the first eight of these trailers and provided some details about how they were made. Today, we're covering the final eight trailers.
Sacrifice of the Vaal Expansion Trailer (March 2014)
Sacrifice of the Vaal was Path of Exile's first expansion after its release. The trailer explores the theme of "Sacrifice", showing many iterations of characters starting from the beginning of the game, levelling up, equipping powerful items and eventually dying. This also emphasises the cycle of creating many character builds to find the most powerful one.
As Path of Exile was already popular and well-known by this point, it was less important for us to stick to the regular game perspective the entire time. This video included more free-camera shots than those before. It also contained scenes that showed the Ambush challenge league which launched alongside Sacrifice of the Vaal.
The end card was especially memorable as Atziri turns around suddenly. To this day, this is the trailer that the New Zealand game development community shows in their highlight reels of games that the country has produced.
Forsaken Masters Expansion Trailer (August 2014)
Forsaken Masters was our second expansion. This trailer accompanied seven individual videos about the Masters (Haku, Vorici, Elreon, Catarina, Vagan, Tora, Zana). It was narrated by Vagan and uses titles to highlight key features of the expansion. We made sure to show the Forsaken Masters supporter pack armours often because they were the main revenue driver during this period.
The "Customise your Hideout" shot was filmed by creating a finished hideout, then filming the deletion of all of the objects in sequence. We then played that footage backwards in the final video, making it look like the objects were instead being placed rapidly.
The "Revamped Existing Content" section showed that some existing boss fights (such as Brutus and Merveil) had been improved. This type of content is very cool to show in a trailer because it looks epic and existing players immediately notice the differences.
The Awakening Expansion Trailer (July 2015)
This was the big one. Almost a year after Forsaken Masters was released, The Awakening was ready and received the trailer it deserved. This large expansion included Act Four, which made it very easy to show off impressive new locations in almost every scene.
The trailer started with quotes from various journalists. We were really pleased to get a quote from Kripparrian, and he mentioned our new Lockstep mode. This section was also a good place to mention the Gamespot PC Game of the Year award that Path of Exile received when it was initially released.
Throughout the trailer there was a large emphasis on new skills (such as Ice Crash). The "Socketable Passive Skill Tree" section was filmed by exporting a very large poster-sized image of the passive skill tree, then mocking up the allocation and socketing using Adobe After Effects. The "Exotic New Items" section showed the 3d appearance of the new items without slowing down the pace of the trailer by showing item hovers (by this point, players understood what type of game it was).
Talisman Challenge League Trailer (December 2015)
December 2015 marked the point that we settled into our current 13-week cycle of alternating expansions and standalone challenge leagues. Talisman was the first challenge league in the "Modern Era" of challenge league design, so it received its own trailer. This trailer was made with far less time and budget than our expansion trailers. We learnt from this experiment that trailers for challenge leagues work well and we doubled down on them in the future.
In this trailer, we attempted to broadly communicate what the Talisman league is like without over-explaining it or using developer voiceover/text. Our goal was to get people interested in the variations to gameplay (and new boss encounters) while keeping the pace up. A standalone news post could be used to explain the actual league mechanics.
The trailer shows Talisman monsters in their natural habitat, the summoning sequence at stone circles and various fights with Talisman bosses. Flashes of Rigwald are interspersed.
Throughout the video, the iconic Talisman logo was used repeatedly so that players would be able to easily associate the affected monsters with the new league. There was also quite a long section showing off the new skills released in this 2.1.0 update, to indicate that there was more to the patch than just the Talisman league.
Ascendancy Expansion Trailer (November 2015)
Our initial marketing for Ascendancy took place in November 2015 when the expansion was less than half-finished. Despite this, we created one of our best-ever trailers and set a hype train in motion that made this our best expansion release at the time of its launch (Atlas of Worlds and Breach later broke that record).
We were making a concerted effort to brand each release with a specific colour. Players noticed and appreciated the GGG logo being colour-shifted to Ascendancy Green for this trailer. It really helped that there was lots of cool Labyrinth scenery to pan around as Izaro talks at the start of the trailer. The whole video is full of interesting new Labyrinth assets that were new and exciting to players at the time. We also learnt that electric guitars should be used more often in trailers.
Prophecy Challenge League Trailer (June 2016)
The Prophecy trailer was another challenge league trailer, rather than a full expansion. We went with Prophecy Purple for the GGG logo this time. The trailer was narrated by Navali, though her monkey was the star of the show.
Most of the trailer showed off Prophecy encounters. We tried to demonstrate them in situations where they couldn't normally occur in-game, but unfortunately many of them looked like groups of purple monsters. We used a lensing effect for Navali's vision, which was generally received well but confused a small group of players.
We included some footage of the new Map Labyrinth, as that was also included in this 2.3.0 update alongside Prophecy. The teaser of the Demon King Portal effect at 01:27 worked well and created some buzz for that upcoming microtransaction. We used a lot of new Pale Council footage in the climactic section at the end of the trailer.
Atlas of Worlds Expansion Trailer (September 2016)
The Atlas of Worlds trailer is arguably our best trailer. It was remarkably difficult to create, and took far more iteration than most of our trailers, but was worth the effort.
The frozen-time sequences at the beginning were only added in the last few days, using tech where a single animation (the Shaper walking and raising his hand) could play while the rest of the scene was frozen. These scenes succeeded at introducing the character of the Shaper and demonstrating that his powers transcend reality.
The trailer has very strong voice acting and uses titles to introduce various expansion features. We had to be quite careful with our depictions and descriptions of Shaping maps and applying Sextants so that the mechanics were as clear as possible. These scenes as well as the Atlas panning/reveal scenes were done in Adobe After Effects.
Due to the vast number of new maps and special tilesets that they introduce, it was very easy to film most of the trailer in compelling locations. The flybys of these locations are the best we have produced, and fit with the dialogue very well.
In the bosses section, we focus on four personality shots of the new Guardians, to establish them as ultimate bosses (with the hint that the Shaper can also be fought). The special void effects used in the Shaper areas were saved for the last quarter of the video.
Breach Challenge League Trailer (December 2016)
You probably recall this video, as it was just released recently. The GGG logo in this trailer was recoloured to Breach Purple (which is different than Prophecy Purple).
The first few shots establish how Breaches work mechanically. From that point onwards, most shots include a Breach relentlessly expanding, to reinforce the fact that it's a gradual expansion.
The shots that show monsters running in from the edge of the Breach are remarkably hard to take. There was no easy way for us to control what monsters would be where (and how dense), so it was a bit of a lottery as to what the scene would look like. The dramatic Breachlord reveal was a very powerful shot. The Breachlord appearing used a different sound than when other Breach monsters appear.
The video also shows off cloth/cloak physics, as they are included in the current generation of supporter packs. The vanishing of the Breachlord as the Breach collapses was a great way to end the video. In early takes of this scene, a bug caused his weapon to remain floating in the air after he vanished.
Thanks for coming on a tour of these 16 trailers with us. We have already started on our next trailer, and look forward to showing you this year!
on Jan 5, 2017, 4:41:37 PM
Grinding Gear Games