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I got this project by a referral from Kert Gartner! Figment is an adventure game made by Bedtime Digital Games. I was immediately drawn to it by the mix of hand drawn art and 3D.
I didn't get much direction for the trailer, but since they were confident the art spoke for itself, they wanted to highlight the setting of the game, and the music. Figuring out how to highlight the music was the most difficult part of making this trailer. There are some boss characters in the game that literally sing! Of the game's music cues, very few stuck out to me as good for the trailer.
To help narrow down the music, I sorted them into categories based on the pace and feel of each piece. So much of editing is just a series of processes to eliminate options. I wanted to use at least a small part of a boss' song in the trailer, but I knew it couldn't work for the entire trailer (or at least, I didn't know how to make it work).
The opening of the trailer mostly focuses on darker environments to fit the somber music
For the ending of the trailer I re-used the song in the reveal trailer by Trailer Squad, because nothing felt as climactic as that piece, and it had a very positive reaction in that trailer. But for this trailer I didn't cut to the lyrics until the trailer's climax.
The other idea I had for the trailer was based off of this remix video the composer of Figment put together by cutting together the main character hitting objects in the game. I briefly considered using that as the opening to the trailer, but decided that it wouldn't tell the audience enough about the game, and at worst would feel like I was trying to hide what the game really was by cutting so stylistically.
To help figure out the structure of the trailer I focused on the narrative by cutting together dialogue. The main character Dusty and Piper have quite a bit of banter, and some moments of exposition. The trailer didn't really fully click until I put in exposition from the Mayor character who speaks in verse. I realized that putting him at the beginning of the trailer immediately drew attention, because how many games have dialogue like that?
Certain lines of dialogue have a finality to them that dictate they come at the end of a section, and some sound like they should intro a new one, so I just went with it, and ended up creating a cold open.
I chose this shot for after the logo to contrast with the mostly dark shots of the cold open
For the section after the logo I used a piece of music that had some good energy for the exposition. This is also where I made a section that was similar to the composer's remix video. I thought this coupled with the Mayor's dialogue would make the trailer more interesting. Another happy accident was the rhythm of the Mayor's speech seemed to match the tempo of the music!
I went through one of the boss' songs, found a section I thought stood on its own pretty well, and just tried cutting it after the exposition. Surprise surprise, it sounded pretty good! I'm guessing it's because the cues are of the same or similar tempo. I requested an instrumental version of the boss' song to see if it would match better, but my original choice had better energy.
For the boss' song section I used shots of obstacles and combat because it matched the tone and subject. Piper's "Who the heck was that?" was a great line to follow up the end of the song, and segue to the last third.
The rhythm of the blocks forming on this bridge perfectly matched the music for that section!
Up to this point I'd shown the lyrical quality of the game, the quirky sound design, a couple puzzle-y bits, and the obstacles. The end is where I wanted to show on the somber and sentimental tone. My hope is the change of music, and titles say to the audience: "But wait, there's more!" The end montage focuses on puzzles, cool environments, and some music video-like Mickey Mouse-ing where the movement of the shots match the music.
That's pretty much it! I'm astounded I managed to put all those different pieces of music together, and have it flow together. At least, I HOPE it sounds like that. I didn't have many significant changes to make once I presented my first cut; they were very pleased!
“Figment is a colorful, whimsical puzzle game that combines childlike fantasies with mature themes including death, disease and trauma. Figment defies logic -- even in an early build, the game is magical and deep at the same time.”
“Figment is not simply just exploring the subconscious, but rightfully pairs a striking classical surrealistic art style along with it.”
“It’s a dynamic score that is visualised in the world as it plays, and I adore it.”
Rock Paper Shotgun
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