Top 10 Game Trailers

I’m one of those people who loves movie previews. For any showing, the movie itself doesn’t start until maybe 15 minutes after the advertised start time. However, I always make sure never to miss that start time because I know those first 15 minutes are chock full of movie trailers. The reason I like watching trailers is because for the most part, they give me a good idea of future movies I would want to watch. A lot of effort is put into most of the trailers, and for an unfortunate few, it would seem more effort was put into the trailer than the movie itself. Either way, trailers are a good way to grab the interest of the viewer. Strategy works very well, which justifies some of the high production values of the trailers themselves.

I think the gaming industry has taken a cue from the movie industry and has began to develop high quality trailers for their game. Trailer development is relatively new compared to the movie biz. Game trailers started out mainly as just gameplay footage. However, more and more, we’re beginning to see some pretty fancy trailers. The variety is also growing. Some developers stick with the tried and true method of letting the game footage speak for itself, while other developers have started branching out and creating movie-like cinematic trailers, showing a minimal or no amount of gameplay, enticing the audience to want more.

Much like movie trailers, I am beginning to look forward to game trailers more and more. Here is my list of the top ten game trailers for me. These did an excellent job of luring me in, and in the cases where I was not entirely sure on a purchase, these “sealed the deal” so to speak for me. Many of these trailers are more recent. All of them are for games that came out after 2000, mainly because game trailers didn’t come into its own until recently.

Take the jump to see my Top 10 list of game trailers.

10. Batman: Arkham Asylum

I don’t know much about this game. What I do know, is that this trailer did its job. I had heard about it and saw its name while glancing through gaming websites, but had absolutely no interest in it because it was a Batman game. Games made after movies generally suck, so I didn’t really give it a second thought. After watching this trailer, I was all of a sudden interested, and wanted to play the game. The trailer made it seem like a fun action/adventure game, with some interesting combat. Who knows, the game could end up being shitty like many other movie games, but the trailer definitely doesn’t make me think so anymore.

9. Age of Empires III

I’ll be honest. If you’re not into real-time strategy, I don’t think this trailer is going to do it for you. In fact, even if you were into RTS, this trailer still may not do it for you if you’re not a fan of AoE already. Being an avid follower of Ensemble’s AoE series, this trailer showing the next “age” being covered by the next installment was exciting. The graphics and detail were phenomenal for that time, and a big step up from AoE 2. Too bad Microsoft is shutting Ensemble down, their swan song being the upcoming Halo Wars. I don’t know if I’ll actually play it. I’m not a big fan of Halo, nor am I a fan of console RTS gaming. Either way, I wish Ensemble success with the game and their future endeavors.

8. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Many people had doubts about the new direction Nintendo was taking with this Zelda installment. I did too when I heard they were going to make Zelda into a cartoon. I was like “What the fuck?” But nevertheless, it had been a long time since a console release of the Zelda franchise, so I wasn’t quick to completely dismiss the game. I remember watching this trailer back then, and as corny as it was, it put confidence into the new cel-shaded Zelda. I remember the first thing I thought was the fact that the cartoony look was actually very cool, and made a lot of the movements and combat look natural. This Zelda ended up being the funniest Zelda installment to date, and became a mainstay for the Gamecube console.

7. World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

I’ll be honest and say that this trailer had absolutely no affect on whether I was getting the first WoW expansion or not. I was going to get it. With two new races being added, and the level cap being upped to 70, anticipation for this game was already at a fever pitch. This trailer upped that anticipation even more. Showing off the new races for the first time, as well as the first significant villain from Warcraft lore (Illidan), Blizzard really made a lot of its fans salivate over the upcoming expansion. This trailer was talked about for many weeks after its release, with some fans dissecting every little scene in the game, explaining what was going on in each of them. It was amazing to witness people on the forums listing the race, class, and even gear of animations in the trailer that were only shown for a couple seconds each. It was no wonder that the expansion sold more copies in its opening day than any other PC game prior.

6. Max Payne

Just plain awesome. Yes, the graphics are weak by today’s standards, but back then, it was great. Diving off to the side while shooting. Bullet time. Blurred reality. Max Payne pioneered all these aspects of gaming that are present in a lot of games today. I think they would’ve sold even more if they had the Kung Fu mod to work with for their trailer.

5. Crysis

Crysis was a game in its own league when it was released. It pushed the envelope of what a PC could do. Until Crysis came along, many games for the PC were waterdowns so that the specs would allow it to be ported to a console if need be (since console sales far outmatch PC sales). Crysis threw that out the window and made it so every gamer had to upgrade their rig to the highest end just to play the game. Hardware developers were looking forward to the release of Crysis just as much as the gamers were. This trailer demonstrates some of the graphical flare that came with that (well, not THIS trailer being hosted on Youtube, but you get my point), as well as the awesome gameplay that accompanied the super body suit in the game. Watching the trailer, you just knew the game was going to be a lot of fun.

4. Resident Evil 4

Many of you may not recognize this trailer, as none of the footage is consistent with the game itself. This was one of the early manifestations of Resident Evil 4 that got canned. There were maybe 2 or 3 versions of the game prior to this one (The first being the foundation that Devil May Cry ended up being built on). However, this was the first version that displayed a lot of the elements that made it into the final release version. The big ones were the over-the-shoulder perspective and the non-fixed camera. Although I remember already being excited about RE4 before this, the new look and scary setting presented in this trailer definitely made me unwilling to wait for the game to come out.

3. Assassin’s Creed

Some people were unhappy with what Assassin’s Creed ended up being. I personally feel that had less to do with the game itself, and much more to do with the fact that Assassin’s Creed was one of the most anticipated games of 2007. And it was trailers like this one that built that hype up to the point where it was impossible NOT to disappoint some people. Whether people liked the game or not, they’d be hard-pressed to make a valid complaint about the game’s visuals, which were stunning. So it should be of no surprise that most of the footage is in the trailer is from actual gameplay (Again, not so impressive via Youtube). It portrays the well-animated combat, as well as the auto-detect platforming that made it hard for the game to NOT look good. Assassin’s Creed was another game that wasn’t even in my mind until I watched this trailer for it. Then it became one I tracked until I was finally able to play when it released.

2. Prince of Persia

Very artsy trailer for Prince of Persia. I was very impressed by this trailer, and the new PoP went straight to the top of my “To-Play” list. What is cool about this trailer is the fact that it is all gameplay footage, accompanied by some nicely done camera work. Like Jesse, I like cel-shading since my experiences with it thus far have all been positive. However, I’m not a diehard fan of it. While cel-shading has its perks, overall, I still enjoy the realistic look of CG more. The cel-shading in PoP though, was something else. The cel-shading didn’t make everything look cartoony. It had a very unique look which instantly caught my eye. In-game, it sometimes looks like the world was finely painted with watercolor. You can see a little bit of it in the trailer. The combat depicted in the trailer also made it look like it was a lot of fun. This trailer definitely did its job in catching my eye and turning me into a devoted fan of the game.

1. Bioshock

Yup, this is my all-time favorite game trailer. I knew Bioshock was a good game, but it came out during a time when I really didn’t have an interest in FPS games in general. In fact, until recently, FPS was pretty low on my genre list. However, I was contemplating getting Bioshock just because of all the good things I had heard about it. After watching this trailer, I think I may have gotten the game the next day. This was during a time when I was still playing WoW, so another game peeling me off WoW is no small achievement. This trailer is very much like the Left 4 Dead opening movie. It shows no actual gameplay footage, but accurately depicts gameplay with better animation and storytelling.

Those are my top 10. I’m sure most everyone will have their own list. Feel free to comment with links to some of your favorites.

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One Response to “Top 10 Game Trailers”

  1. Bloody drills almost always get me going.

    Also, in my opinion Bioshock has one of the best scores I’ve heard from a game in a good long while. At the very least, it’s one of the only ones I sit down to actually listen to…

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