Everyone in their right mind is playing Portal 2, As was I. But when my co-op partner (my little brother) had to go to bed, I decided to check out what else there was. And, much to my surprise, the extras section of Portal 2 had something I wasn’t expecting – In addition to the trailers and videos that had previously been released was “Super 8 Interactive Trailer”.
You start off in a train (Big surprise, if you’re familiar with Valve games). The tooltip pops up, encouraging you to use the middle button to zoom. There’s boxes of military looking supplies, and a radio in the center of the car that’s on, and indistinguishable speech playing. You can walk towards the front of the car, and that’s when things start to happen. A clear shout comes over the radio; “There’s something on the track!”. The view warps, as the boxcar collapses around you.
Seconds later from the player’s perspective, you wake up surrounded by the debris of the train. Fires light your way as you wander towards the front. A barrel catches fire and explodes as you approach, teetering telephone lines suddenly give. You continue walking forward, through the wreckage, til you come to a relatively intact boxcar, and it’s clear why it’s survived better: It’s armored. Suddenly, the area around you explodes, and you’re thrown back, to get a better view of the armored hatch. The hatch starts to thud, then dents appear, and finally, it flies up –
Fade to black, and launch webbrowser. A flash movie plays, and the credits at the bottom says “JJ Abrams” and “Steven Spielberg”. A curious marketing trick (I’d not heard of Super 8 before), but it seems in the vein of both Cloverfield and ET; A young boy with his Super 8 camera is helping his brother film a movie, and they seem the only ones in the town who believe in the alien entity, despite the fact that the military has shown up en-masse.
What does this actually mean, though? Is this just a quick marketing stunt? Is Valve making a Super-8 game? Will there be more interactive components to this story? What did I miss in the train car that I should’ve zoomed in on? If anything is clear from Abrams past works, there will be much secrecy, and many more small snippets of information to build hype. After the almost-letdown that was the Portal 2 ARG, is this what Valve should be doing?