Good video game trailers are a dime a dozen, but truly incredible ones are pretty rare. A good trailer gives you the bullet points of the game it’s advertising and looks good while doing it. Then there are trailers that manage to stick with you long after you watched them, they’re the videos you’re anxious to show everyone who might’ve missed it.
These are pretty rare, but every once in a while a spectacular one manages to surprise us all and more importantly, builds up hype for its game. These are the ten trailers that brought out the kids in us; the ones that made us mark the game’s release on our calendars and the ones that we’ll remember for a very long time.
Whether you liked the game or not there’s no denying how beautiful its trailer is. With an original soundtrack and the uncommon technique of using actual gameplay, Mirror Edge’s debut was a great one. The trailer also successfully managed to showcase nothing but the game’s incredibly unique parkour gameplay as we watched with wide eyes as Faith leaped across buildings, zip-lined from one roof to another and quickly disarmed and incapacitated any foes that got in her way.
Anyone who skipped 2005’s epic Shadow of the Colossus missed out on one of the most beautifully realized and original games from the last generation of consoles. Its trailer played out more like a film than a game as it began with music-driven scenes filled with sprawling terrains and Wander, the game’s protagonist, carry a girl to a large stone slab. Then the trailer suddenly springs to life with action-packed scenes that show off what you’ll be spending a large majority of your time doing: fighting the sixteen Colossi. Its blend of somber exploration and fast-paced action captures the game perfectly, and that’s something many trailers fail to do.
BioShock had a good amount of hype surrounding it, mostly because of how different it was. Its Ayn Rand-inspired dystopian back-story, alluring underwater city and mysterious lumbering giants made it look like no other game out there. It’s trailer starts off with Andrew Ryan’s words, “A man has a choice. I chose the impossible.” From then on we’re taken on a journey to the crumbling utopia of Rapture where science went unchecked creating unspeakable horror. It’s one of the best trailers we’ve ever had the pleasure of watching and it’s for arguably one of the greatest games of all time.
Fallout 3 had a mountain of hype to live up to. The best thing about the game’s teaser is most of us didn’t know what game it was advertising until at the very end where the soldier turned toward the screen with the unmistakable look of a member of the Brotherhood of Steel. This was a big day for Fallout fans because it was a decade in the making. Needless to say when the game finally did come out, it didn’t disappoint.
It’s rare for a trailer to actually manage the incredible feat of being almost uncomfortable in how unnerving it is but the Lullaby trailer for the original Dead Space did just that. It took a beloved children’s song, in this case Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and twisted it until it became a haunting reflection of the vast loneliness of space as well as the empty and bloodied halls of the USG Ishimura. This trailer was terrifying for all the right reasons.
No one knew just how big the Gears of War franchise would get, rivaling the Xbox 360’s other juggernaut franchise Halo in terms of popularity as well as the rabid fan base that loves it unconditionally. It’s unforgettable trailer, set to the backdrop of Michael Andrews’ equally as moving Mad World, was a very different look at the all-too-prevalent scenario of aliens versus bulky space marines in video games. This wasn’t a testosterone-injected trailer filled with gruff banter and explosions; it was a solemn, even hopeless look at the war between the humans and the Locust. The games however, definitely aren’t lacking in the areas of gruff dialogue and explosions. After seeing this, it’s safe to say many gamers couldn’t wait for Emergence Day.
If anyone can make a great Star Wars epic it’s BioWare, but for as good as they are at creating stunning video games they also have the remarkable ability to introduce them to gamers in amazing trailers. The Old Republic’s trailer gives us a taste of the action we can expect to see in the game and actually ends up being infinitely more entertaining than the last three prequels. It also gets a big thumb’s up for doing something few trailers ever do and shows us what happens when the bad guys win, albeit temporarily.
For as good at BioWare is at bringing us memorable trailers, Ubisoft might be better. Regarding the Assassin’s Creed series, they’ve somehow managed to bring us one trailer after another and each gets progressively more incredible. The first two games had breathtakingly good trailers but it wasn’t until Brotherhood where I found myself watching it again and again, rewinding over the best parts and showing it to everyone I could, even those who couldn’t care less about video games. Much of the trailer focuses on Ezio in his iconic Assassin garbs but it’s not until the very end where it seems as if Ezio might actually meet his end where the trailer takes it to the next level with, wait for it… a team of assassins.
This one is undoubtedly still fresh in many gamers’ minds as it only revealed itself earlier this year. It had a lofty goal: to get us excited for yet another zombie game and specifically, a game no one had heard from since it’s reveal in 2007. Did it do this by showing stellar gameplay or slick visuals? No. Instead Dead Island’s debut was a gorgeously rendered CG glimpse into a terrifying world of the undead. It was emotional, memorable and haunting, and it successfully got a legion of gamers chomping at the bit to get their anxious hands on a game that was previously unknown to most.
Much like Fallout 3 this is another game that was a long time in the making, close to twelve years in fact, but this trailer alone was almost worth the wait. The trailer felt like Blizzard was confirming to us that yes, we’ve had to wait a long time, but we promise it’ll be worth it. The marine even says, “hell, it’s about time” before his helmet swooshes down sending chills down my spine every time. Sure, it doesn’t show even a second of gameplay but this trailer was triumphant in setting the tone and hype for what would be one of the most anticipated titles of the decade.
So those are our ten favorite video game trailers, but I’m sure you have your own list. You know what you can do with that list? You can share it with the world. Let me know how much you agree, or disagree, with my choices, but be kind with your criticisms – I’m a delicate flower.