Truly great game... trailers

Rather like in films, where sometimes the previews are more interesting than the movie itself, you may often find game trailers which are entertaining in their own right, or possibly better than the game that follows.

I find myself collecting trailers where I can. Sometimes I think they just set a great mood, other times they tell a short story, oft one more interesting than their games full story. Here are a few I would recommended (all available on the web) and in return I hope you can point me in the direction of interesting ones which I’ve missed.

Note that I only want to know about ones you can get from the web. If it’s not on the web, I don’t want to know. This isn’t a topic for your favourite in-game cinematic, not unless it’s legally available anyway :)

Dark Messiah of Might and Magic - Launch Trailer: The trailer presents an exciting world and more importantly, story, of magic, mystery and betrayal. It portrays something that appears evil and dark, and then puts you right in the middle of it, painting you as a grey man, one who will not necessarily be fighting the good fight. A wonderful combination of music and choice VO which makes for a fairly adrenaline fuelled clip.

Dawn of War - intro: Released prior to the game, this really captures the idea behind the game quite well, a future of war and ruined cities. Features the best battlecry ever (Space Marine sergeant) and the Dreadnauts entrance is brilliant.

Guild Wars: Prophecies - intro: Some nice Asian influences here which had my GF sighing heavily over one particular spell casting effect. Personally, I enjoy it for the mix of classy battles with short-story of living-up-to-father killing, and the VO for the line “the malevolence that seeks to destroy ALL my father fought for” sends a tingle up my spine, as does the moment where the heroine screams in fear. Wonderful.

Hellgate London - E3 2006: What can you say, a film telling a story within the world of the game. The best kind of trailer. Doesn’t muck about and while it’s obvious, it didn’t stop it tugging straight on my heart strings. Beautiful.

Kingdom Hearts - Intro: Just because it’s… weird. I love the shot where he’s falling from the girl. Japanese version edges out the English one I think, the song works better in Japanese.

Warhammer: Mark of Chaos - E3 2006 Formed the intro to the game I suspect. Again, a trailer which tells a story within the world. Just brilliantly rendered and told. Definitely a keeper.

Bioshock - X06 XBLM: A snippit of how the game could play out for you, but as a rendered movie. Brilliantly captures the atmosphere of how I believe they want the game to feel, a world where morals cannot be adhered to in the struggle to survive.

I recall rather enjoying a trailer for Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness some time ago, but I’ve never been able to locate a copy of the trailer I enjoyed.

The Halo trailer that blew everyone away. There was a lot of talk about how the game wasn’t looking too good and it seemed like Bungie was missing the mark. Then that trailer just hyped everyone’s expectations and the game actually came through.

Thief: The Dark Project Tools of the Trade video. Features a ton of Rustmonkey animation created solely for this trailer. Available here, but you’ll need the Indeo 5 codec to view it.

The Freespace 2 trailer. Because beams are cool.

The Metal Gear Solid 2 trailer at E3 2000 that seemed to totally legitimize the PS2 right there on the spot.

I really, really liked the Battlefield: Vietnam trailer and one of the MVP trailers, the one where they were hyping up the classic players.

Oddly enough these are both purely gameplay footage

The one at E3 in which Master Chief barely features using all in-game (but not FROM game) footage? I do remember wetting my pants over that.

Then they announced it as X-Box only.

When I first booted up BG1, they played the Torment trailer and I think I came.

The game that was never finished: Secret of Vulcan Fury

But the trailer kicked all kinds of ass!

The Gears of War Trailer was transcendental. I think it was conclusively proved by the 50 odd parody trailers that no other song could possibly have been as perfect as the one they chose.

The trailer for Grand Theft Auto 3 was great at the time too.

I saw the Secret of Vulcan Fury trailer, and colour me unimpressed. Smelt of vapourware a mile away.

Also, while I thought the GoW trailer music choice was interesting, I didn’t think it fitted the atmosphere or on-screens events at all. Perhaps with some slow-mo…

The recent Portal and TF2 videos are probably among the greats; maybe a little time/perspective is needed to be sure tho.

DNF’s video from 2001 sure was exciting. Who knows if the game will be anything like that. :)

The Tribes 2 trailer that showed a coordinated flag capture ( ) got me pumped up, although I knew better than to expect that hardly any pickup team could actually pull that off. Probably wasn’t quite as thrilling for anyone who isn’t as much of an incurable romantic about the possibilities of teamplay.

I think this one was also released as a trailer: the intro to MW 4 ( ) – cheesy live action and all – gave me a bit of the shivers. I hadn’t even thought about that series since playing the original MechWarrior, but that video triggered a lot of nostalgia.

I’d also have to add my vote to the first reveal of Halo … Bungie has some real punch behind their audio and art direction and they orchestrated a definite “wow” moment with that one.

Ooo yeah, I had forgotten that one: “people with myths of humanity everlasting… who hurled themselves into the void of space with no fear.” Great line.

We’re counting TV commercials as trailers now?

I hate this trailer simply because every time I install, reinstall or patch DoW, I have to watch it. So annoying. It isn’t a Final Fantasy game, dammit. Let me hit escape! :(

I’m not sure where the dividing line is drawn. Aren’t trailers commercials for their films? The GoW thing was edited footage from the product set to music. Sounds like a trailer to me.

I still love the first starcraft trailer. I think it came with Warcraft 2.

Sorry, I meant to include Portal. Interesting game footage along with a wonderfully weird training vid style.

I can’t see why the GoW commercial isn’t a trailer, I mean, it’s advertising for the game, which is exactly what a trailer is, there isn’t even a stylistic difference in formatting.

Loved the DNF trailer, made me wish I had the game, but I suspect it was all faked footage.

Beginning movie in Independence War. Not sure if it is exactly a trailer but it was cool regardless.

The only trailer that ever truly got me excited about a game was the E3 2006 Hg:L one you mentioned. My enthusiasm was lagging a bit until I saw that one and now I’m hooked on the game.

For any devs that think that cinematic trailers are a waste of resources…think again.

I’ve seen that and was thoroughly disappointed. Not really sure why people get so excited over it.