Preview videos will probably happen.

It’s been a while since I posted an update about Braid, mainly because we are just working hard to tighten up all the slack, and whereas it’s all good work that needs to be done, there isn’t much news-like happening at the current time.

People have asked for gameplay videos.  I’ve been wanting to do them for a while, but one of my concerns is that it’s a relatively subtle game — the things that are interesting about it are mainly things that go on in your mind while you play, as opposed to Big! Explosions! on the screen.  I think that for much of the gameplay, a video wouldn’t even make that much sense — many viewers wouldn’t understand what was happening without having played the game.  (Plus I would have to spoiler a significant number of puzzles).

However!  I have concocted a plan wherein we produce augmented gameplay videos…

… not just scenes from the game, but also tied to some narration conveying ideas that would be interesting in their own right.  (Ideas about the way the game feels to play, or the philosophy behind the gameplay, or  other subjects that it made people think about).  And furthermore, in order to be as honest as possible, these narrations shouldn’t come from the development team, but from smart people who are uninvolved with the game’s development and playing for the first time.

So in short, they will be sort-of like 3rd-party previews combined with trailer footage.  It’s an interesting experiment; we’ll see how it works out.

I’ve mentioned before how I liked Charles Hartley’s ActionButton Podcasts.  Well, I’ve convinced him that this is an interesting project to work on, so he will be doing the narration for the videos.  As for what he’ll be saying, we don’t know yet.

7 thoughts on “Preview videos will probably happen.”

  1. Wonderful! I was worried this project had been scrapped. I listened to your most excellent talk at FreePlay earlier this year (love game theory) and Braid really caught my eye as a fun game with some very impressive mechanics.

  2. There’s no chance of the game being scrapped. It’s just that things take a long time to finish, sometimes. As further concrete things happen in development, I will post about them.

  3. I agree with your various reasons for *not* posting videos.

    This is a game that really needs to be played to be understood at all. While playing Braid last year, I was awestruck. More recently, I saw a video of a talk you gave where you showed a live demo of Braid. Lots of comments were posted along the lines of “What? THIS is what all the hype is about?” In fact, I had to agree with them—there was nothing impressive about watching you play Braid.

    The graphics are beautiful to behold, but they are subtle, and that subtlety is lost when it’s compressed down into internet video. In the video that I saw, you could *barely* see the clouds moving backwards on rewind…

    And talking about Braid during such a video doesn’t seem to help… people just won’t get it. Not until they put their own finger on that rewind button will they feel the magic. You know how you can tap the rewind button repeatedly during a jump to hold your character suspended in mid air and micro-adjust where you are going to land? Even if you tried to show that in a video and talked about what you were doing, people wouldn’t be able to feel it.

  4. I have recently discovered that a boring gameplay video is a sign that you can only appreciate the piece fully when you interact with it. So it’s a good thing! 🙂

    But I doubt the audience at large would agree with this. It tend to look for the keyword “boring” in game reviews, because that word is often applied to the games that I find most interesting. So never mind. Great idea. Looking forward to the video!

  5. I like that idea. It’s the sort of thing Edward Tufte might recommend – add commentary, and commentary about the commentary.

    I will look forward to seeing how they turn out. And maybe I can use that approach in the future.

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