September 5, 2023

Jonz Is Coming

Jonathan Marier (JonZ) has been making some of the finest sim racing trailers since Project CARS WMD days. After much to-and-fro, JonZ’s is now (finally!) back at the studio, and you can find out what all the fuss is about as the Montreal-based director talks about his favourite trailers and those he considers the best ever made for racing games …

When and how did you get started in the game world?

JONZ: I started around 2009, working at Gameloft. I was then a UI artist for mobile racing games like GT Racing Academy and the Asphalt series.

Do you remember the first trailer you did?

JONZ: Kind of yes, it was in the early days of Project CARS, I remember Ian asked the WMD community to create a first trailer for the game. I was encouraged by a fellow WMD member who was a NFS Shift 2 friend back then to create one. He was keen of my video-fan work on Shift 2. People were genuinely impressed after I published it, so it encouraged me to do more videos after that—and also taught me to always push to the next level every time.

What's the best trailer you've ever made? Spirit of Le Mans? Or the one for Project CARS with the broken-down BMW in the rain? 

JONZ: As an official work, Spirit of Le Mans for Project CARS 2 DLC is probably my best work. For fan-work, it’s probably Project CARS Speed and Sound. But honestly, there’s so much fan-work out there that I don’t necessarily consider trailers (more like miniature films or showcases) but that deserve a mention because they convey so many emotions or story-driven narratives—like Louder Than Words and 6:11.13.

What's the best trailer for a game you've ever seen? 

JONZ: This is a hard one to answer. There are many I like, but the one that probably had more influence on me than any other is Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2010. With all the hyper cars in a chase sequence through the forest to the desert, man, this trailer got me so hyped! And then there was the side-live action miniature film featuring a Pagani Zonda Cinque being chased by a Lamborghini Murcielago Interceptor powered by the sound design made by none other than the great Charles Deenen. That was marketing prowess to me.

What's the most important part of a trailer? What's the focus when you're making one? 

JONZ: Delivering the core message is the most important focus. When making a trailer, I often put pieced-together “junk” footage and images to establish my idea, sort of as a guide to help see the project as a whole and to establish whether the idea works. Once the core is well established and easy to comprehend, it becomes my blueprint, and I then start to polish everything until the final product.  

When you look at trailers through the years, what do you think has changed in the way they're made? Do you need shorter trailers now? 

JONZ: Sound design is what has come on leaps and bounds mostly, especially considering that the audio takes a huge part into muscle memory. I think it’s fair to say that powerful trailers are now focusing more on the sound delivery than the visual treatment. Games have come a long way and are now outstanding in the visual department, but when that’s combined with the terrific progress made in sound fidelity, the result is an immersive atmosphere that goes way beyond what we were seeing less than five years ago. 

I don’t think length has changed much through the years—it always depends on delivery requirements and there’s more formats available now than ever. But what has changed and what I find amazing is that, these days, we literally have trailers for official trailers as if trailers themselves are now feature films! Crazy and exciting days for those of us fortunate enough to make trailers for a living for sure and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into GTRevival

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