Today my friend Liore posted a great run down of some of her favorite trailers of recent memory. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery… so hopefully she will understand that I am completely latching onto the idea. Honestly watching the trailers she singled out, made me start thinking about some of my favorite trailers, and once the idea set root in my brain it was going to happen.
What makes an awesome trailer?
There are so many ways to make a trailer stand out, it could have an amazing soundtrack and visual or just be extremely well directed and emotionally engaging. There are trailers I love that pretty much fall into all categories. A lot of the ones Liore singled out in her post, are ones I love too for various reasons, but I noticed my favorite kind of trailer was mostly absent in the list.
I love a trailer that sets up the world of the game, the eternal conflict, and just pumps me up to play the game. I love when I watch a trailer and walk away feeling “hell yes, I want to play this now”. It could be the soundtrack of the visuals, but if it can somehow tap into my inborn sense of bloodlust… it is a win in my book. I especially love the trailers that set up the lore of the world, and give us a window into the game that we normally would not see otherwise.
DC Universe Online
This trailer will likely go down in history as one of my all time favorites. When someone mentions a kick ass trailer, this one is always the first one I think of. For starters, everything Blur Studios touches is amazing, but more importantly it sets up the storyline of the game in a brilliant way. I have always loved the DC setting where the traditional heroes are thugs, and Luthor is the hero… and to set that up as the basis of the MMO made me only want to play it more.
Sadly for whatever reason the game itself never met the epic quality of the trailer. It tried extremely hard, and in some aspects succeeded. The little references, like Booster Gold commercializing everything really made it feel deeply rooted in the DC universe. I will have to say that no matter what, this trailer got me to buy the game and play it. I still boot it up from time to time when the mood hits me.
FOR THE LIVING!!!! God there is so much that is amazing about this trailer. Also there is so much frustration that I have that this game did not succeed. It had some amazing story behind it, and this trailer sets up everything you need to know about it. This has it all, awesome heroes of both genders and all of them making extreme sacrifices to save the next generation. Considering my last name is Temple… I may or may not also have an extreme thing for the Templars. So much was right about this game, but it also had so many failings… namely its horrible network code. There have been many times I have considered playing the Asian free to play version, but it would just feel odd.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron
I feel kinda bad about this next pick. I truly love the feel of this trailer, and the epic qualities especially when my personal favorite… Grimlock makes his appearance. Why I feel bad is that I have never actually played this game, regardless of how amazing the trailer is. Every time I watch this trailer, I keep thinking… why god can we not get a full length Transformers movie that looks like this… instead of the odd biomechanical Transfomers from the Michael Bay movies. Everything about this trailer screams Transformers to me, and takes me back to a chunk of my childhood.
Mass Effect 2
While I love Mass Effect 3, and the trailer Liore posted made me want to go back and play the series from 1-3 all over again… my favorite game in the series will always be 2. This trailer makes me relive all the badassery that is ME2, and its great swat team like side missions. This makes me want to load it up and slaughter legions of collectors. Doesn’t hurt that I am a huge fan of Thane, and he is completely badass in the trailer.
I will always love the Bioshock franchise no matter what. The first one still stands out as one of the most transformative gaming experiences I had up to that point. As trailers go however, the launch trailer for Bioshock 2 is great. I love the relationship between the Big Daddy and the Little Sisters, as someone who has always chosen to play a tank… and protect the squishy players of the world… I can totally relate to the dynamic of the eternal protector. Watching the video fires me up to play the game and wreak havoc on some splicers.
Fallout New Vegas
This trailer falls in the category of letting you in on something, that you normally would not be let in on just by playing the game. While this scene is alluded to in the gameplay, you only know it exists by watching the teaser trailer. Fallout has been and will likely always be one of my favorite series. It means two things to me, huge wastelands to explore, and badass guys in armor. This trailer teases the NCR Ranger in such a tantalizing way, that immediately I thought… man I have to get that armor in game. I went from lusting after the Brotherhood Armor in the previous games, to making my goal in game to acquire the Ranger armor with those cool goggles. War… War Never Changes.
As far as Borderlands goes, I will always prefer the original trailer. I love the way it introduces each character and gives them a comic book style introduction frame. The soundtrack to me has become so connected to this trailer, that when I hear the song on the radio all I can think of is playing Roland. As badass as this trailer is however… it fails miserably at one thing… getting me to by the game. When you watch the trailer, it just looks like another shooter, albeit an edgy and graphically interesting one. All someone had to do was tell me the phrase “Diablo With Guns”… and I shifted into “take my money now” mode. Problem is this was about 6 months after the initial release.
This is yet another jaw droppingly epic trailer from Blur Studio, and sadly also another trailer that is leaps and bounds better than the game itself deserves. As a longtime fan of Warhammer, there were so many little geek out moments. From the Squid Herder, to the Bright Wizard, to the Chaos Maurader… the video just oozes lore. The moment that just takes the cake however is when the Tzeentch Bringer of Change steps through the wall. Yes… I am definitely a Warhammer geek. Like I said, I just wish the game was as good as this trailer.
I have gone back and forth on this trailer over the years. At first I was not sure about it, but the longer it exists… and the longer I have played Rift.. the more I appreciate it. There are so many little things about this video that make the Rift player in me geek out. The number one subtle element is the way the crow flies into the scene, then becomes life touched at one point, and finally at the end a flame touched phoenix. On top of this, I recognize the abilities they are using and could in theory guess the specs of the supposed characters that are shown. My favorite moment however, is when the warrior visibly switches souls… something that really slickly explains what to expect about the game itself. It does what I think it set out to do, introduce players to the setting… and as icing on the cake it uses a setting that actually exists in Stonefield. So often in these videos, they are in completely made up settings… grounding the video in the actual game is just kick ass.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Once again Blur Studios makes it into my list, this time with a series of three trailers that were released leading up to the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Return, Hope and Decieved each set up a segment of the storyline leading up to the game timeline itself. In addition, each sets up the archetypal character for each class in the game, and fleshes out some back story. Combined they make an epic story arc that I can watch over and over.
I loved Star Wars: The Old Republic… until I ran out of content, but every time I watch this sequence I get nostalgic about what might have been. The game is still pretty solid, but sadly it is wrapped into one of the most egregious free to play models I have ever experienced. I realize that Bioware in essence had to sell its soul to stay afloat and keep the game running, but I will always be wistful about the game that could have been.
This trailer does an amazing job of setting up the universe that Rage takes place in, and explaining how the world got to the point where it is today. Everything about the trailer makes me want to play the game. I have a certain measure of regret over this title. It is one of the best single player experiences I have had in recent years, but also one of the absolute shortest. If the game had roughly twice the content, it would have been a truly phenomenal game. What is left is a great experience, and the trailer tells you everything you need to know to enjoy it.
Like Liore said in her post, it would be inappropriate to have a list of trailers that did not include something from Blizzard. While I probably would have also picked the Wrath of the Lich King trailer, I didn’t want to copy her pick. Probably my favorite series from Blizzard as far as trailers go, is Diablo. Each trailer is always so rich in storytelling, and the Diablo 3 one is no exception. Sadly for me, this is another case of the trailer being better than the game.
Actually I have to take a step back from that, and say that the actual game itself was really enjoyable and I liked the story quite a bit. It just was over way too damned fast. I essentially played the game until I had completed the content, and then have not really touched it since. All of this does not change the fact that the game trailer is pretty amazing.
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
I am a HUGE fan of all things Elder Scrolls, but this trailer just set the game up perfectly. Patrick Stewart as Uriel Septim was such an amazing casting, and this trailer which also serves as the intro video to the game pumps me up every time I watch it. All I want to do when I see this is get into the game and explore, and become the epic and heroic warrior I know I can become in an Elder Scrolls game. It does what I am looking for in a trailer, introduces the setting and provides the urge to play.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Live Action)
I can remember the first time I saw this trailer, I was just amazed that they went to the amount of effort to create a big budget live action trailer. This feels exactly like Skyrim, where the peasants run away the Dragonborn runs into the action, and draws down on the drake. This trailer and later commercial is just such a perfect representation of how epic the game feels. It really makes me wish there was an Elder Scrolls television show.
Elder Scrolls Online
This is the trailer that I am most pumped about right now, so I saved it for last. This trailer was released to announce the opening of beta signups for Elder Scrolls Online. There is just so much about this game that excites me, and I love the way little callouts are made to the various factions. I have always identified with the Nords, and when they crawl out of the bowels of the fortress after slaying a bunch of undead werewolves… just makes shivers of happy run up and down my spine. Don’t get me started on how awesome it is that the werewolves were undead in the first place…
I’ve heard plenty of snide comments saying that the trailer is all about the guy from Assassins Creed, but all I can see is a Breton Rogue. I am a notorious carebear, but for whatever reason I am really looking forward to the RVR in this game. The frontier in Dark Age of Camelot was just a cool place to be, there were so many things that were NOT keep raids that you could do. It was just cool to go out there and feel confident enough to be able to hunt the really hard mobs that were out there.
The fact that Cyrodil sounds like essentially the Dark Age of Camelot frontiers, just sounds so amazing. I mean this is Cyrodil, the setting that the ENTIRE 4th game was set in. That is so much space, and I am really hoping there are so many amazing non pvp targets out there as well. It will be so much fun going out there with a group of friends and seeing what all we can do. This video just pumps me up for doing some RVR and exploring Cyrodil.
I Blame Liore
This post went on so much longer than I had intended it to, but there are just so many amazing trailers that I love. Right now I want to play every single one of these games, but I think I will ultimately log into Rift and cause as much havoc as I can. If you’ve made it this far, I really hope you have a great night and can get something knocked off your gaming bucket list.