For most of us, the first look we get at a new game is through the promotional trailers. Sometimes those trailers get us excited, and sometimes they don’t. These eight trailers didn’t just show us new games, they promised new experiences and captured the attention of gamers everywhere. Some of the games might not live up to what they promised, but the trailers were still amazing. While it was very hard to narrow this list to eight, the games listed here certainly qualify.
Don’t see your favorite? Tell us what it is in the comments!
When Bethesda acquired the rights to create games in the Fallout series in 2004, and subsequently purchased the rights to the entire franchise in 2007, there were plenty of of gamers who were skeptical of the idea of the Elder Scrolls developer creating the next entry in the post-apocalyptic series. To combat this, Bethesda needed to both show off their idea of the game’s aesthetic, while also demonstrating that they were prepared to do justice to the history of the series. In just over two minutes, this teaser trailer accomplished both of those goals, showing off the game’s signature power armor and Bethesda’s vision of the wasteland.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Any Star Wars MMO was going to be a big deal, but the expectations for one developed by Bioware were higher than most. Those expectations were not tempered at all by the arrival of the first major cinematic trailer, titled “Deceived.” Depicting a full-scale battle between the Jedi and the Sith inside Coruscant’s Jedi Temple, this trailer showed just how high the ambitions of the dev team were as well. While opinions differ on the quality of the final game, no one can deny the excitement this trailer caused when it released.
World of Warcraft
Blizzard may have their faults, but the quality of their cinematics and trailers is not one of them. Pretty much any of the trailers for the various World of Warcraft expansions could have been included on this list, but why not the original? This trailer announced the game that not only funded Blizzard’s explosive growth, it also changed the conversation around MMORPGs forever. Showcasing each of the game’s original races, this trailer was our first glimpse at a game that would consume an enormous amount of our free time for the next few years.
Anyone who was around gaming in 2011 remembers the excitement that surrounded the first Dead Island trailer. People were emotionally moved by it, and a controversy sprung up around the depiction of a zombified young girl being thrown through a window. Its controversial material, its out-of-order presentation, and the fact that it went viral made it one of the most watched and talked about trailer of the year.
It was E3 2003, and Valve was bringing something new to the show. A sequel to their well-received shooter, Half-Life, was in the works, but it was far more than just that. The Traptown demo that was played live at E3 showed off the gravity gun, all sorts of environmental manipulation, and most importantly, the Source engine. It was the sort of thing that no one would have believed in a trailer, but they had to accept as it was played live right before their eyes.
Metal Gear Solid 4
The Metal Gear Solid series is well-known for its convoluted story lines and its extensive cutscenes. Metal Gear Solid 4 was no exception. Indeed, the trailer for the game that was shown at E3 2006 was almost 15 minutes long and featured our first look at Old Snake and the war-torn world he was heading out into. It also showed off many of the series’ iconic characters, like Otacon, Liquid Snake, and even Raiden. Finally, it showcased the graphical prowess of the PlayStation 3.
Red Dead Redemption
Red Dead Redemption seems like a sure thing now, but in 2009, Rockstar Games was best known for Grand Theft Auto. A game set in the Wild West was often referred to early on as “GTA with horses,” but after seeing some of the trailers, it was clear that Rockstar was doing much more than just changing settings. They had crafted a strong narrative centered around an outlaw who had gone straight, and that story was a large part of the game’s success. Our fist look at that character was this trailer, titled, “My Name is John Marston.”
Everyone remembers the underwater world of Bioshock. That’s why when Irrational Games decided to make a new Bioshock in a new setting, they had to make sure that gamers would be as overwhelmed with Columbia as they were with Rapture. The best way was to grab their attention with a look at the new, steampunk-inspired city as they were flying out a window. We even get a glimpse of Elizabeth along the way.