This was a pretty bad blogging week for me. I've been busy with
arranging things for studying abroad slacking so hard! So I'm going to make up for it now by posting a mini series about the upcoming Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion (celebrating birthdays is for the weak).
In case you live under a rock (and you must be a pro at rock-dwelling, for I live under a rock, too, and even I have seen it): this is the trailer for Knights of the Fallen Empire, the newest SWTOR expansion to be released this fall.
Coffee and trailers
I'm not a great fan of the title, as it's quite generic. I keep forgetting game titles like this. The short version would be KotFE, which isn't exactly easy to pronounce: the first time I read "koffie" (Dutch for coffee). Apparently I'm not the only one who thought of coffee. So for the rest of this article I'll just refer to it as just that if I can't think of the name at the spot. There, I warned you.
I'm also not a fan of trailers, generally speaking. This one was received enthusiastically by SWTOR fans, but in my own opinion it was somewhere in between okay and good. It was certainly a lot better than previous SWTOR trailers (with the exception of the first SWTOR trailers that were just that good) that limited themselves to generic stuff like "war is upon us, we need you, bla bla". It should be, too, because Bioware hired Blur, a company specialized in making trailers, to make it for them. But it isn't on par with, say, the latest Star Wars movie trailer that [spoiler for the rock-dwellers] ended with a shot of Han Solo and Chewbacca [/spoiler] that had people talking for weeks.
I'm a fan of this very first SWTOR trailer
The Coffee trailer is aesthetically pleasing, with the two brothers presented as reference to black and white knights. This motive from folk tales strengthens the feeling of epicness that fits well within the Star Wars universe. Star Wars ultimately boils down to swinging lightsabers in epic battles, after all (no I'm not talking about LOTRO's epic battles, let's pretend those never happened).
Twists and tropesThe trailer story has some nice twists that trigger our attention, like [spoiler] it being the white knight that unintentionally kills his brother as his father's prophecy foretold, not the other way around as the viewer expects [/spoiler], but otherwise largely corresponds with epic storytelling stereotypes. For instance, notice how there are two royal sons and their father. For instance, no female characters of importance. The parent, or offspring for that matter, being female would've been a less obvious choice. Of course Bioware, usually aiming for gender equality, does make an effort: we do get to see a shot of an evil female red twi'lek somewhere (and we know there are female protagonists in the story from the release notes), but that's it. I don't want to bring forward the Bechdel test or something; there's no point for trailers (not much dialogue) and I don't want to go down the feminist road. You can exchange my example of 'female' with someone of any non-white race, 'disabled person' etc etc. My point is merely that the storytelling largely follows expectation patterns that are embedded in Western culture.
Something that I do like are the motives of brotherly love and comradeship that are implied throughout the trailer. Sometimes less subtly so, as with the cheesy shot of the two boys playing; sometimes more subtly with the two holding hands at unexpected moments. This gives the knights some character beyond being mere faces of evil. It also makes me curious: how do things turn out the way they are in the trailer? Who is the father and what are his plans? And how does this tie in with what we know about lord Vitiate?
Overall, it was a good-looking, well polished trailer. Maybe not extremely original, but it introduces new important characters to the public and it seems to have made people longing for more. Exactly the goal of a trailer.
More on Knights of the Fallen EmpireKnights of the Fallen Empire (part 1): the trailer
Knights of the Fallen Empire (part 2): overhyped?
Knights of the Fallen Empire (part 3): group content
Knights of the Fallen Empire (part 4): the newest trailer and story leaks