On today’s Discussion Points, Simon Squire, Nathan Hughes, and I, Matthew Prichard, will be discussing our top 3 favourite video game trailers of the last console generation.
Matthew Prichard – Assassin’s Creed Revelations: E3 Trailer
The trailer beings with the drum beat of Iron, by Woodkid. You’ll thank me later. We see Ezio, hero of the previous games, beaten and bloodied. His hidden blade is broken. He’s dragged along by what are clearly Templars. The vocals come in as we see Ezio’s remote location. He is seen travelling to explain how he got here. The music builds. Ezio arrives at the Assassin’s castle. He looks up, and everything is still. “I’m ready for the fight, and fate.” The stillness shatters as Ezio is struck with an arrow. The full crescendo builds as the Templars gaze down at him. Abruptly, the vocals come in, filling out everything as the fight begins. The music remains full as the battles goes on. But the vocals disappear as Ezio starts to lose.
The gap in the sound remains as Ezio comes to the top of the castle. Everything cuts out as he walks to the edge of the ramp. We hear the hood going down, and the noose tightening. Tension builds. Ezio turns, for a last look before death. From nowhere the drums blast in as he turns to punch the Master. “What happens?!” we cry as the Revelations logo appears. A superb usage of a great song, demonstrated clearly here. Incidentally, the only song from a video game trailer I’ve ever bought because of the trailer.
Simon Squire – Deadpool: The Game Launch Trailer
The Merc with the mouth. If ever there was a great trailer to start off my top 3 with it would have to be for Deadpool The Game. It has everything: comedy, action, tacos, dubstep and all the cartoon wackiness that comes with the territory. Naturally, Deadpool is fully aware of his own game trailer and does his very best to sell the game. He shows us some very important elements to help decide if we should buy it as well. A few gameplay features are showed off like old school platforming, hack and slash gameplay and of course he does his best to sell us with boobs, girls and explosions. I originally wasn’t going to buy the Deadpool game but this trailer sold me on the game. Well done Wade, well done.
Nathan Hughes – Dark Souls: Bartholomew Trailer
One of the characteristics of a good trailer for me is that it makes the game look compelling without overly cheapening the game with too much CGI or unrelated elements. Dark Souls: Bartholomew trailer helps seal the deal by showing us the dark fantasy and horror elements with a kickass song to boot. Most important of all, the game shows us that it is hard with the multitude of tough looking bosses so you better Prepare To Die. The game tells you that you have to fight, struggle, endure and suffer but you will eventually live. This trailer shows there’s a challenge right here for you and it’s up to you to accept. One thing I know is certain – every time I watch this trailer, I want to play Dark Souls. That is the essence of a perfect trailer.
Matthew Prichard – Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: E3 Trailer
The Song of the Dragonborn. A musical masterpiece, that isn’t even in a real language. You’ll have heard it before. It begins with the pounding sound of 90 monks singing in unison. The lead up is brought in. No-one wanted to believe. But the truth dawned in fire. The first person running and the prophesying descriptions come to a clatter, as a dragon lands. A Talos-cursed dragon. The dragon is seen breathing a jet of flame on a poor mortal and yet, there is one they fear. Who is he? How can he stop a dragon?! Dragonborn.
The “poor mortal” from earlier rises from the ashes, and blasts out with Unrelenting Force and the vocals rip in. The cinematic music goes on through various cinematic shots of Skyrim’s locales. We see the myriad play styles available to us. At this point, you’d give an arm and a leg to be the Dragonborn. Then, the audio of the cinematics and gameplay blur with thuds of the music, as battles are fought, and a dragon is slain. The music goes lighter as the foolish wyrm’s soul is taken and we see Skyrim’s breath taking beauty. Only this trailer merges cinematics, gameplay, and music in such an awe-inspiring way.
Simon Squire – Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Launch Trailer
Alright I’m going to come out and say it. For MOST of the recent console generation I MAY have been a teensie bit of an Xbox 360 fanboy. Just a tiny bit… Ok I have over 100k GamerScore and had played over 300 games before the generation was done. Friends had told me for the longest time that I should “come to the dark side” and try a Playstation 3 but there were no games that I found appealing that weren’t available on both consoles. I’d never heard of the Uncharted series. I remember browsing YouTube one day and stumbling upon this trailer for Uncharted 3. It had everything I was looking for: adventure, artifacts, gunplay and great characters. This was Tomb Raider but with much more character and it really looked like it would be a lot more fun to play. The Uncharted trilogy was what finally convinced me to buy my Playstation 3 and since then I’ve enjoyed great games like Journey, inFamous and The Last of Us.
Nathan Hughes – Fallout 3 E3 2008 Trailer
One of the great things about Fallout 3 is the retro 50’s feel present throughout the game’s atmosphere and this trailer shows this style off in full swing. The game opens with one of those cheesy retro informercials akin to one that everyone must have seen at one point, complete with a smooth narrator, over-the-top acting and spot on humor. However, once the ad is over, we’re given a glimpse into the disaster the informercial was trying to prepare us for. The world may be a desolate wasteland but the 50’s theme continues as the swinging music of Bing Crosby’s Dear Hearts and Gentle People kicks in.
We are then treated to conflicting images of irradiated monsters, explosions and heads popping all the while the jaunty music continues to play. It makes the game look fun, quirky and extremely violent. After all of this, the game fades to black, the music stops and all that can be heard is the sound of the wind whistling, metal creaking and you and your companion’s footsteps as you walk the dusty roads of The Capital Wasteland. Fallout 3’s E3 2008 trailer is a helluva ride and incorporates all of the best aspects of the game, from the catchy old-time tunes to the over-the-top violence and gore and to the grim reality of a world lost to nuclear war.
Matthew Prichard – Mass Effect 2: Launch Trailer
Ok, so when I talked about how Skyrim merges cinematics with music, I may have been slightly wrong. I am indeed a fan of the Song of the Dragonborn. I do, technically know roughly half of the song in both English and Dragon. And yes, I did say that no trailer beats it. But that was technically false. One trailer comes above the glorious sound of the Dovahkiin. One trailer of such wonderment, of such biblical might, that it stands nigh two steps from hell. Mass Effect 2’s launch trailer, is just that. Its true power, you see, comes not just from the music. Not just from the the characters’ speech. Not just from the array of accolades that stand brazenly before us. Its epicness comes from the sum total.
It plays out like a tiny film. It starts off slowly and quietly, with scenes of shock and awe. The premise is laid out. We hear gentle music as our hero is named, even as he dies: Shepard. The gravity of the situation comes forth. Aliens that are somehow more terrible than we could think are shown. Their voices crackle and rumble, like an earthquake. Our leader is shown, but he has a squad. The score swells, even as we hear the words of our teammates. Or chances are slim. No ship has ever returned. Suddenly, sound. Two Steps From Hell soar into our ears as everyone is shown to be more than we could ever dream. Explosions. Action. Romance. Loyalty. Mass Effect 2. It’s a shortened cinema experience. And the whole trailer is made from in-game footage. I still shiver when the trailer ends.
Simon Squire – The Last of Us Announcement Trailer
The trailer shown at the VGAs in 2011 started the buzz for the game that turned out to be OnlySP’s 2013 Game of the Year. It shows Joel and Ellie running through a hotel, hiding from, and eventually defeating Clickers. It showed the barrenness of the world and how the characters needed to scavenge items in order to kill enemies one by one. It also manifested the main enemy of the game and just how horrifying they can be.
Nathan Hughes – Deus Ex: Human Revolution
To me, science-fiction is at its best when the world portrayed seems entirely possible and when that future seems like it’s just around the corner. That’s why Deus Ex: Human Revolution takes the cake for being one of the best trailers for a science-fiction game I’ve ever seen. The trailer begins with a Renaissance setting and we see Italian doctors are examining a man’s lifeless body before his spirit suddenly springs to life with golden wings, flies too close to the sun and burns up: just like in the tale of Icarus. Fast forward to the future and our main protagonist, Adam Jensen wakes up and tells us his sad story set in the new Renaissance: a future time of great innovation and technological advancement.
The trailer is full of jaw dropping visuals showcasing what the future has to offer as well as dripping with melancholic atmosphere of a cyberpunk variety. The trailer never feels clichéd but just full of gorgeous sights to behold and an astounding soundtrack that will send shivers down your spine. The track, Icarus, is blissfully beautiful with a marriage of old operatic style signing with a new futuristic synthesiser complimenting the sound. The entire trailer for Deus Ex is all about the old ways of humanity clashing with the futuristic ways of augmentations and technology and it’s represented incredibly well by this track.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution succeeds in giving us a compellingly brief glimpse into the cyberpunk dystopia of Detroit in 2027. The trailer ends with constant flashes of Icarus and Jensen flying into the sky before succumbing to the heat of the sun, giving us the message “will technology cause us to burn in flames like Icarus?” The trailer is fantastic for how much it shows the player without feeling bloated and it is genuinely one of the best pieces of sci-fi media under 6 minutes I’ve ever seen. “It’s not the end of the world, but you can see it from here.” Damn.
Dead Island Announcement Trailer
This trailer was an incredibly sad and emotional trailer that made many people very excited for Dead Island. It showed a reverse story of a little girl being turned into a zombie and thrown out of a window by her parents. The fact that it starts with the end and has saddening music evokes as much pathos as any trailer in a long time. While the game didn’t turn out as well as the trailer had lead on, it is still one of our favorites.
Dead Space E3 2008 Trailer
If scenes of gruesome deaths and beautiful space scenery wasn’t enough to get you curious about Dead Space, the chilling rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star should have surely sealed the deal. Dead Space’s E3 trailer is one that sticks out in memories for being both genuinely beautiful but incredibly disturbing all at the same time.
Long Live Play
This trailer was a live-action PlayStation 3 trailer showing many iconic PlayStation characters at a party celebrating the gamer, Michael. It was a commercial showing each character thanking Michael and telling stories of where they have been with Michael’s help. It is an entertaining commercial and is one I always find interesting because of its concept.
So there you have it. Three writers discussed nine great trailers and a few honorable mentions. It was incredibly difficult to pick our favourites when there are so many fantastic trailers out there and that’s where you come in. Let us now know what your favourite trailer from last-gen is in the comments below.