Kojima on why 'misleading' trailers are important

Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima says if trailers are too predictable, "then it's no longer fun."

Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima does not like when trailers give too much away. He told Edge that it's "very important" to leave "misleading" hints in such videos, so that an upcoming product is never too predictable. His comments come as a response to his rumored involvement in mysterious and Metal Gear-like project The Phantom Pain.

"I do think it’s important to leave hints, but, in a sense, I think it’s important to mislead people with hints because I think if something’s too predictable then it’s no longer fun," Kojima said. "I think that's the problem with many Hollywood sequels; you get exactly what you expect."

"But what I want to do, is make people look forward to a game by watching the trailers and say "'Hey, that looks great.' But then, when they actually play it, they have this sort of epiphany where they realise 'Oh, so that’s what that was,'" he added. "And it all kind of comes together and clicks in their head. I think that's very important that you leave some sense of discovery for the player."

A trailer for a mysterious project called The Phantom Pain was shown during the Video Game Awards in December, though it has been speculated that this game may in fact be an elaborate tease for Metal Gear Solid 5.

Kojima will discuss the Fox Engine and Metal Gear: Ground Zeroes at a presentation during the 2013 Game Developers Conference later this month.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

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248 comments
IronBeaver
IronBeaver

Is misleading the right word? Maybe cryptic is. I am not sure what good a "misleading" trailer would do.

Sheik2
Sheik2

Master troll haha

Alucard_Prime
Alucard_Prime

Smart man.....Hollywood should consult with him, because they are now completely clueless on what a good trailer is.....nowadays trailers show you way, way too much.....it's just a 3 min movie summary basically. 

AuronAXE
AuronAXE

Kojima is a god at trailers. I've been trying to decipher The Phantom Pain for months now. Shit's not easy.

SuperDutchy
SuperDutchy

Why does Hideo-san always look high in all his pics...must be where all that creativity comes from.

CraigNinten
CraigNinten

GT Countdown recently uploaded a video called top 10 misleading trailers, MGS2 being one of them. Note to self: the rest of the top 10 list included over-promised graphical power of PS3 hardware.

Adroa
Adroa

Well he did play a part in the greatest trailer of all time: Super Smash Bros. Brawl announcement trailer.  Then again that wasn't really misleading (other than the fact that it was the only part of the game they'd made up to that point).

Elwin2012
Elwin2012

Mister Kojima makes great games, 

PLEASE take my money sir for youre new projects...... :D

Sweendrix
Sweendrix

Kinda like - The latest Metal Gear game was no fun. 

jonajacket
jonajacket

"misleading trailers are important"

Kojima must have a great deal of admiration for the success of the entire Aliens: Colonial Marines marketing campaign.

Scarshi
Scarshi

I hated the Deus Ex Human Revolution trailer so much after getting the game. I want to play Squeenix's version, not the pasty paletted game with low-res cut-scenes.

fillup0
fillup0

I thin the Halo series nails Kojima's ideals perfectly. It lets people know the tone of the game, but the trailers never talk characterization to a huge extent. In the Halo 4 trailer, Cortana saying "I will not allow you to leave this planet!" in the trailer might have referred to Chief, but instead it refers to the Infinity. How would you have guessed that on your own?

fillup0
fillup0

Games should exhibit the tone of the trailers so that people are buying the product with the expectation of exploring a certain theme, but there should always be an unexpected layer of complexity.

Colonel_Jax
Colonel_Jax

As a film-maker and a film fan(with video games being artificially similar), I can understand what he's talking about. On one hand I am annoyed by trailers that are so tonally different from what the actual product is, it's almost a crime. However, in this world of mass media saturation, it's kind of hard to promote anything without giving away the best parts. It's a fine line, but I'm kind of glad someone actually speaks about how hard it is to walk this line.

Diablo-B
Diablo-B

You want to LIE in a trailer, ok. But you better damn well make sure that the actual game is better then what I see in the trailer.

sortajan
sortajan

the difference between misleading and unpredictable is fucking huge

crashmer
crashmer

Problem is most games don't have the intricacy to do that. The trailer IS the surprise, the actual game is meh.

magemaximus
magemaximus

Gamers: Misleading trailers suck.

Kojima: No they don't.

Gamers: Oh wait Kojima said they don't, so nvm.

kisado87
kisado87

Ok guys, have you seen a Kojima trailer? He's talking about misleading in terms of multiple interpretations on what's being shown. I remember all of those MGS trailers, including the new one, and it's all speculation from the get go. That's what he's talking about. What he isn't talking about is blatant hype for no reason - I'm looking at you Fable, Brink, basically any game that didn't live up to what was being advertised.

XZeroKPS
XZeroKPS

There's misleading and then there's lying. Lying = Brink trailer.

JulyAeon
JulyAeon

sorry, misleading means lying to me. although i don't want spoilers in my trailers, i like to see what i am buying to a certain extent.  instead a trailer should tease not con me into believing something that will never happen. it is called the art of advertising,  not to be mistaken by the moronic marketing practices that seems to have crept in lately.

Crush_Project
Crush_Project

lol misleading trailers are more important to sales then your actual product.

Americans will buy anything, you just have to hypnotize them first.

leimonides
leimonides

Agreed, for the.most part; It's gotta be done right. Although, as someone has pointed out, "ambiguous", rather than "misleading", as misleading is a negative thing. Even the "bait-n-switch" thing that happened with MSG2, if done right, can be a great move. It's all in how its done.

angelbless
angelbless

Well Kojima is a genius, Im pretty confident that whatever comes out of his mind will be great :)

liononzion
liononzion

Exactly why the Assassins Creed reveal trailer was underwhelming. They gave you too much onfo. You know who the protagonist is, You know the location of the game and exactly what it will entail. You can guess the rest. You definately have to leave something to bedesired when showing off a game. Just make it look interesting but dont give the whole game away. Movies are guilty of the same thing recently

giantqtipz
giantqtipz

yeah i think kojima meant to say "ambiguous" rather than "misleading". 

he likes to make his trailers mysterious (ambiguous), but they don't lie (misleading).

Nosoor
Nosoor

just wanted to say mr kojima please let go of snake let him rest in peace with that great finale of mgs4 

Nosoor
Nosoor

he is right i agree with him 

TohouAsura
TohouAsura

Only Kojima is able to find the balance between rage inducing misleading and overly-informative trailers.

It reminds me of his MGS2 trailers. He showed trailers of Snake, yet he NEVER claimed him to be the main protagonist, people just assumed and got mad when it didn't happen. Kinda trollish, but what can ya do.

bannermanner
bannermanner

I agree with Kojima, but I think the trailers for most of his games are pretentious, overly self-aware, and just plain nonsensical.

Gen-Gawl
Gen-Gawl

that's why it's important to wait to buy and read reviews. first adopters are almost always screwed.

Hairygrim
Hairygrim

I'd like to see another one of these:

"Eddie Makuch on why 'misleading' article titles are important."

peteuplink
peteuplink

So basically "If the trailer shows the game as it really is, people won't buy the game"... Says a lot about the state of modern gaming, really. Hyping something too much can actually have a bad result and lead to less trust in the developers/producers... Take Spore. It was hyped as (or more accurately implied that it was) a deep simulation of evolution, and when finally released it had even shallower gameplay than a computer sim of noughts and crosses. On top of this we have Sim City, which was dire, and Maxis are now looking like a mere shadow of their former selves. There are too many games that get hyped to hell and then turn out to be utter shite... Need I remind people about Daikatana and Duke Nuklem 2?

INF1DEL
INF1DEL

What I got from this article: Predictable trailers are boring. If the trailers showed actual gameplay they would be predictable and thus boring. 

...

...

O_o There's something wrong with the gaming industry. Maybe it's time to start making something other than CoD clones. Make something creative and gameplay trailers might not be so boring.

Morphine_OD
Morphine_OD

Trailers are made to market your game, gameplay videos - to show off the real game. Kojima is right all the way - hyping something up and demonstrating it are different things and pursue different aims. While Dead Island trailer was misleading, it attracted a lot of attention to the game and if someone was dissappointed, the equal amount were pleasently surprised by the gameplay. It's just content people rarely post, it's almost always mad people who post stuff, so it could look like from the side that everyone were disappointed.

Sales tell a different story.

DWalker131
DWalker131

misleading trailers = good ? since when ?

last time i checked Dead Island was a flop ONLY because of its trailer, great game severly overshadowed by its DRAMA style trailer which everybody digs, me personally i didn't care for the trailer i pick up a game like Dead Island to mow down zombies and thats exactly what i got, had the game's trailer been about slicing zombies, blood and gore the ratings would have been a lot higher

AlexFili
AlexFili

Hmmm, mislead or keep people guessing. I think there's a big difference there. Plot twists are fine but outright lies are not cool

sensei_hEnRY
sensei_hEnRY

my opinion, what Mr. Kojima wanted to say is it's okay to mislead the story of a game through trailer, not mislead what the players can do in the game. For this i'm very agree, take a look at Resident Evil 6's 4 minutes trailer, it gives us too much of the story. I hate spoiler and i want to be surprised when i playing the game. This is why i wish Lara Croft's first kill is not shown on the crossroad trailer. Imagine if they never showed that scene, it would be more intense and emotional because it's the most important part of the story.

skytrot
skytrot

I think many people don't realize that CG trailers are meant to convey a sense of mood and to introduce players to the setting and narrative of the game. If people want to know what the gameplay is all about, there are ALWAYS gameplay trailers. I've yet to see a game that has only released CG trailers and no gameplay trailers. Both can co exist with one another. At the end of the day, if you just want to know what the actual gameplay is about then just seek out gameplay trailers. There will always be those before the games are released.

kool_zed_speaks
kool_zed_speaks

I for one actually like CG trailers or even ambitious in-game trailers. :O Yeah and I can totally get behind Hideo Kojima's reasoning and that of other developers for making them, because I enjoy them and it makes my experience of the game better overall.

Wake up and sense the excitement and fun of experiencing something new from them. The world and its ways aren't written in print. Read between the lines, if you know what I mean.

skytrot
skytrot

Not a huge fan of the Metal Gear series but MAD PROPs to Kojima. I love this kind of stuff. Nobody is willing to take such risks anymore. You sir, are a genius!

N4o7A
N4o7A

I fully respect Kojima and I see what he means but it doesn't justify full CG trailers especially misleading ones like Dead Island (the trailer is amazing none the less, both artistically and emotionally) which gave a false notion that the game would be heart wrenching, at least for me.

steelmouth
steelmouth

this is BS just how much can a less than 5minute trailer give about a 10hr games, and he damn well know we talking about CG trailers with kick ass graphics and gameplay that is no where to be found on the game its self

tightwad34
tightwad34

I don't watch trailers for this very reason.

SythisTaru
SythisTaru

The trailer for MGS5 (I know it's not official yet) is one of the best trailers I've ever seen for any medium. This guy knows what he is doing.

Aletunda
Aletunda

An interesting point, however it can often fail and mislead people in a negative way, people will want to play what they believed to be true in many cases, or what you mislead them to might be better than what you actually gave them

myungish
myungish

One might call it 'fun', and others might call it false advertising. There's nothing wrong with keeping some aspects of the game a surprise, but to purposefully mislead people and then expecting them to be pleasantly surprised is foolhardy and pretty stupid.

vgsak2005
vgsak2005

I think it's more important to make good video games.

Bird_Killer
Bird_Killer

Producing misleading trailers for the sake of preserving player's experience and suspense is lazy. A good trailer would be both entertaining and true to the game while still preserving most, if not all, of the excitement and suspense of the game to the player. The latter requires some thought and creativity, the former just tries to avoid it.