The Video Game Awards are behind us and have rung in award season 2011. What games have tickled your fancy this year? In any case, make sure to check the full list of winners on the Spike website; most of them make sense. However, there was one category which was a bit of a surprise to yours truly: Trailer of the Year going to Assassin’s Creed Revelations. Bar for a second that some of the trailers are actually from December 2010, since award season falls before those were out. The winning trailer was in a line-up of pretty stunning features. It won because of user votes, which does mean the public agrees. But was it really the top contender this year?
Don’t get me wrong, that particular video as well as all entries are so closely linked, each of them deserves the title in the end; it isn’t undeserved in the least. But yet, it didn’t strike me as the most memorable clip I’ve seen this year. I tend to forget the gross majority of all trailers I see, even when making this article. But it’s therefore that the ones that did get imprinted in my mind, felt like the ones that also deserved some spotlight. Some of these might be familiar choices; there’s a good reason they are nominated. Yet, some other trailers went by unnoticed and showed expert craftsmanship in some fields. So, without further ado, here are some of the most memorable trailers this year. Mind you; even if this is a ‘top’ list; again, all trailers were equally matched and differ only in the slightest inclination. Enjoy!
The king of pop...corn.
Remember new IPs, guys? Games that don’t come with numbers or subtitles like ‘Revengance’ behind the actual name? There have actually been a bunch of new IPs this year; we’ve been blessed on that part. One of those memorable announcements came at E3 by Insomniac. Overstrike is a quirky little action title with mercenaries and started interest off right, with a sassy interrogation scene. This is not to be confused with Gearbox Studios’ announcement of The Furious Four, which is basically Inglorious Basterds: The Game. This trailer went beyond that and piqued interest for yet another interesting title.
Modern Warfare 3:
Like it or not, Modern Warfare is one of the biggest titles in gaming and also boasts one of the biggest budgets and marketing campaigns. It’s therefore not unsurprising to see it have one of the best trailers to come out this year. Money talks and when it’s calling, actors are usually there to rack up some of the goods. This trailer with Jonah Hill of Superbad and other cheeky teen slacker comedies should be right up the alley for many Modern Warfare fans. If nothing else, it’s just more of that spontaneous comedy gold spewing from the awkward dude himself.
It’s all about new IPs. Why? Because new things have the tendency to take up their own space in our minds, as they are refreshing. NeverDead is new, but the furthest from anything resembling the word ‘fresh’. To say this game is weird is an understatement. If anyone has a chance at competing with Suda 51 and his sick mind, it’s this thing. And while most of the time, gameplay footage tends to break down some of the cinematic experience of a memorable trailer; this one has a guy ripping off his own head. It’s an autonomous rolling head!
Who? Exactly! This is the most underrated trailer this year, yet it’s one of the most brilliantly crafted ones. It’s not so much the visuals themselves, but rather the music which perfectly complements them and creates a goosebumps vibe that exactly portrays the game. This brutal trailer gets people pumped up to play the game and that’s what a good trailer should do. This is really a case where the whole is more than the sum of its parts. No crappy marketing tricks with Skrillex or Jay-Z here; Supremacy MMA reached out to make the most brutal impression; not the most popular.
Here’s what Neverdead looks like when it’s actually made by Suda 51. Let’s face it, we all get (girl) boners when thinking of perky cheerleaders in skimpy outfits slaughtering zombies with a chainsaw. Now add lots of sparkles, pole dancing and a face coming out of that girl’s butt and you get Lollipop Chainsaw. Now drench that already ridiculous atmosphere in good old fashioned grindhouse trailers and you get some of the most memorable action plastered on a screen this year. And don’t forget the giant slur at the end of the trailer as the cherry on top.
Nothing beats good old fashioned fantasy when trying to create an epic trailer. The good part about Dark Souls is that it hardly even has to try, since most of the game itself already includes such an awesome atmosphere. Again, this is one of these rare cases where a game is so inspiring that the gameplay footage doesn’t change the excitement level one bit. In fact, in this case, it just makes you wonder how amazing the game has to be if it looks like that all the time. As the reviews have shown us; it felt pretty damned great.
Some games make unpopular decisions. Sometimes these bold moves pay off and sometimes, not so much. We’ll leave in the middle whether the sudden change in Prey 2 is wise or not and if this live action trailer represents the game well. What’s certain however is that the game knows what people want and people want more Blade Runner in everything. Not only that, but add some Johnny Cash in there, because he’s cool for some reason. Now finish that off with a high familiarity toward the Star Wars universe and you’ll get one awesome trailer, no exceptions.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
It’s going to be pretty impossible to duck the giant dragon in the room this award season. Skyrim is probably going to pop its head everywhere you turn, like it or not. The reveal trailer started a frenzy of attention after a certain Harry Partridge made a video about how we all felt. But since that was last year and not as revealing, these gameplay splices that came thundering down this trailer is what really set people on fire. There’s probably too many dragon puns in this piece, but the trailer is nothing if not amazing and a rightful nominee.
Here’s my question: How come no one is talking about Diablo III? Did we forget that one of the hugest titles to ever exist is coming? What exactly is clouding our judgment that no one is drooling over this trailer? It’s even more frightening than any of those other familiar cutscenes were in Diablo II. Seriously, the level of detail and grim reality in this one is severely disturbing. Bless Blizzard and whoever makes their trailers, because these guys know their craft. Craft, get it? Starcraft? Warcraft? Ah, just watch the trailer and have nightmares already.
How did this not win all the awards? All of them should go to this trailer, because we all know this is the trailer that led us to believe Dead Island was going to be extraordinary. It turned out that the trailer didn’t match the game, but that disappointment is partially because the clip was so moving, not because of the game’s merit. Perhaps that’s also a downfall; that a video can be too incredible. Be that as it may, there is no other trailer that brought up such powerful emotions like this one did, even now.
Bethesda knows. They know that branding your product comes with other brands that fans can latch on to. With RAGE merging with A Perfect Circle, they created the perfect trailer. ‘Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums’ might sound like a unnecessarily crappy title, but merge it in the unnerving wasteland of RAGE and feel the excitement grow. I might be partial to certain types of music, but I do feel that no other trailer made gameplay look this inviting. It made you want to play it right away. And it was worth it.