powerofthetrailer

We have all seen it, from the game play trailer to hype trailer. They come in all shapes and sizes, but no matter what form they take, they are all created for the same purpose; to get your video game dollars. In most scenarios, the publisher will create a short trailer with some game play and some CGI movie shorts and that will generally get people interested in the game. However, there have been a few trailers that dared to be different and set the video game world ablaze.

The first trailer that we will mention really made an impact on a larger scale, especially considering this was a Superbowl commercial. I am, of course, referring to the God of War: Ascension Super Bowl Commercial (2013). Literally, millions of dollars were spent and this is result. However, gamers were treated to a beautifully directed and incredibly cinematic trailer. It doesn’t have much to do with the game itself, but it does a great job at summing up the God of War universe in just a few minutes and without saying a single word. From the music, to the direction, this trailer makes Kratos relatable, human and interesting. Even though this wasn’t so much a trailer for the game, but for the franchise, it still had a profound effect on the video gaming landscape.

Unfortunately, the trailer didn’t have the intended effect on the game. God of War Ascension was one of the poorest selling games in the franchise, but not quite as bad as the PSP games. With almost 1.5 million copies sold, it was only a third of the total sales of the first three games individually. While we personally think this was more because the game didn’t bring anything new to the table and just recycled elements from the first three games, it doesn’t diminish what the Superbowl commercial did for Kratos himself. By placing the franchise in front of the largest television audience available, more people got to see what God of War is all about. Hopefully, those good feelings will extend to the next God of War game.

While the God of War trailer failed to capture audiences, there is another trailer that put its franchise on the map. That trailer is the Dead Island Announcement trailer. The trailer was shown in reverse chronological order and though the premise was rather simple, the tone of the trailer really grabbed audiences. It featured a very somber view of a family that went to the island to go on vacation, ended up getting torn apart by zombies. Much like the God of War trailer, it had very little to do with the game. While both the trailer and game had the same premise, the atmosphere and expectations that the trailer created didn’t translate as well across platforms.

Luckily, the trailer managed to put the Dead Island franchise on the map and the initial release of the game was an overwhelming success. The original game sold over 4 million units which is quite impressive for a new intellectual property. You can attribute much of this success with the trailer because the follow-up to Dead Island, Dead Island Riptide, barely broke one million in sales. Both games were very similar in almost every respect, but the original had this powerful trailer to thank for that big marketing push for the franchise.

Finally, let’s talk about Mass Effect 3. Few can deny that this game was an express train to hypetown. It was the conclusion to one of Bioware’s most successful story arcs and people were excited. Luckily, EA saw this as a great opportunity to tap into that core of fans and make a trailer that wants to be more than just a game play trailer. We were given the “Take Earth Back” trailer and it hit all the high notes. We got a nice set up of the plot, Shepard leading the charge and some fun CG combat.

While the effect of this trailer is hard to gauge against the rest of the marketing around this game, the trailer still did what any good trailer should do; get your fans excited. All the trailers above managed to look at video games in a new, more artistic light. With trailers like these being made, we take another step closer to video games being taken in a more serious light. Personally, I believe that these types of trailers and their subsequent reaction, gives directors a better idea of how to adapt video games to movies. Either way, it is a great thing to see the games we love be given such a wonderful treatment and I know I can’t wait to see the next great video game trailer.

Honorable Mentions:

MLB 12 The Show “Cubs Win!” Commercial

Sports fans know that the Chicago Cubs haven’t won the world series in over 100 years. Here is the trailer that finally gives them a glimpse at what can happen.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron VGA Trailer

While this one may require a little more fandom to appreciate than the others, it is still a great trailer featuring the franchises most iconic characters.

Modern Warfare 3 “The Vet & The n00b” Trailer

This is the perfect example of how some trailers can convey emotions while others can make you laugh and they both have the same effect.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations E3 2011 / Assassin’s Creed 3 E3 2012 Trailer

While these trailers may be visually similar to some of the others mentioned, the games actually played a lot like these trailers which seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II “Surprise” Trailer

Another fun and interesting use of celebrity cameos, humor and action.

Need For Speed Most Wanted Live Action TV Spot

Super cars plus awesome converted police cruisers and a fun game equals a great trailer.

So now that we shared some of our favorite trailers from games, it is time for you to tell us what are some of your favorite video game trailers?