Simogo is a Swedish video game developer who made games such as: Year Walk, Device 6, Beat Sneak Bandit and Bumpy Road. Their games are unique, brilliantly art directed, and every single one explores a new genre or method of play.
They also make their own FANTASTIC trailers. Each one of them makes me want to bow down, and hope that someday I'll achieve even a hint of something as great.
What is it that makes them so brilliant?
Firstly, they clearly put a LOT of work into them; their trailers feel more like a mix of short film and music video. The mechanics of their games are typically very simple, and especially in their later games, you'd almost be hard pressed to identify anything in their trailers as game capture. Take a look at the trailer for one of their first games "Kosmo Spin."
This trailer is charming as all heck; no small debt is owed to the song it's set to; I was hooked on this endearing song for a very long time after the first time I saw it. The majority of this trailer is a like a little storybook about the characters in the game; there's no actual gameplay until a MINUTE in!
But it's not all visual fluff, the story is telling the audience the premise of the game, and how it's played; the audience just might not realize it while they're watching. The song also has a nice arc to it; it builds slowly, and towards the end slows down a bit before ramping back up. This is a fantastic example of immersing the audience into the world of the game.
Take look at their trailer for Bumpy Road:
This trailer again, pulls us into the story of this world with its art and music. The premise of the game is pretty simple, and yet the trailer does its due diligence to let us linger with its characters going out for a drive.
The gameplay begins about 25 seconds in, and the trailer turns into a montage that works in conjunction with the lyrics of the song. This trailer is probably their most straightforward of them, but the audio/visual presentation is still top notch. If not for the song and lyrics, this trailer would not be nearly as charming. Seriously, good music makes everything in a trailer better.
Beat Sneak Bandit's trailer is just OOZING with style from its retro silhouette aesthetics from the 60s/70s. Since it's a game centered around its rhythm, using the in-game music is a no brainer. Despite the fact that the music pretty much just repeats over and over, the trailer is still fun to watch because you can't help but feel the beat.
Even more impressive is with just a few title cards, the trailer manages to teach you everything you need to know about playing it within the first 15 seconds! With the basic mechanics taught, the view expands to show what the game looks like when you're playing it. The bulk of the trailer is less than 40 seconds long; that's all that was really necessary to make the point, expand on it a bit, and get out. Art + Style + Good music = An amazing trailer.
Next up is their Announcement trailer for their horror game "Year Walk." The art style pivots dramatically from the cute aesthetic of their previous games, but still has some of that paper cutout look to it. Most of this trailer consists of in-game moments, but some live action portions and quick cuts of other elements spice it up a bit.
Fast cutting is definitely a trope of horror trailers, but this one manages to be evocative and unsettling without resorting to jump scares or in-your-face sound design. There are a lot of repeated visual motifs that evoke curiosity, like the image of the goat. The flashes of text tells us that this game is storybook-like.
More than anything this trailer is just dripping with atmosphere.They actually ended up making several trailers for Year Walk. For example, there's one for All Hallows Eve, the holiday seasonand of course the launch trailer. None of the focus heavily on the gameplay; they're mainly concerned with the FEEL of the game world. Part of the appeal of video games is being transported to another world, and these trailers trade heavily on that desire in the audience. I didn't know how to play the game after watching any of these trailers, but I wanted to GO there.
While they have more games (I recommend watching more trailers on their YouTube channel), I'm going to end on the trailer for the wonderful Device 6. This trailer feels like a motion graphics piece that belongs in a James Bond film.
Since I've played the game I can see that the trailer is indeed showing the game being played in the center of its makeshift mobile device, but the motion graphics surrounding it makes the whole thing feel like some sort of abstract music video. But actually the game is being played right before your eyes; there's just no other game that looks like this, so we can't even know we're seeing it.
You could say that this is a bad thing, because the audience wants to see gameplay, right? In general I say yes, but I feel like all of these trailers are a promise that you will find something unique in each of these games if you just trust them and play. They're as much advertising the game studio as much as the games themselves.
By making such unique trailers, they're telling us that their games are unique experiences. Also just imagine how these trailers must've helped get them press. The games press is constantly inundated with trailers and new games, but these sorts of trailers just beg for explanation.
I honestly feel ill-equipped to fully explain what makes these trailers so great. Pointing out the art and music feels so reductive; these trailers feel like they transcend the form. More than showing pretty pictures and audio, these trailers are phenomenal because they promise something unique, which is the core of what all trailers should focus on.
Simogo is so confident in their presentation, that they can make trailers that don't even feel like they have gameplay in them. This is also due to the simple control schemes of their games. That's what I think Simogo's trailers do best. Through the sheer power of their art, music, and design, you're pulled into the world that they've created.
Grabbing attention is one thing, but making someone forget that they're watching a video on YouTube on their phone or computer by making a video an EXPERIENCE is some next level trailer making. Hats off to the Simogo team!