It was a natural progression for video games, just as it was for films. In Hollywood, a successful trailer can make or break a movie. The film might be terrible but a good trailer can still fill seats, while the opposite is also true, and a bad trailer can hurt the best of films. The same is becoming more and more true for video games as well.
It has only been in the last few years that publishers have begun to see video game trailers as more than just ads. There was almost a checklist of things to show: Gameplay, Story, Graphics. Once you got those out of the way, the ad was finished, and gamers had an idea of what to expect. But over the last few years that has gradually changed, and the trailers for upcoming titles have become more and more impressive.
There are a lot of reasons for that shift, but one of the most obvious is the ability to download trailers to the current generation of consoles. When someone on their Xbox 360 can hit a button and watch dozens of upcoming trailers for games, it makes a difference which ones look the best.
So below are five of the best looking trailers for upcoming titles. Some of them are a mix of gameplay and cutscenes, while others are shifting towards something different. The clip for Dead Island, for example, was developed specifically as a trailer, and doesn’t actually exist in the game or show anything from that particular title–the same is true for Risen 2: Dark Waters. And if the fairly staggering response that the Dead Island trailer received is any indication, expect many more clips like it in the future, as video game trailers continues to shift from advertisement towards art.
[Warning: Some of the following trailers may not be suitable for all ages.
The BioShock games have always placed a heavy emphasis on the aesthetics of their environments, so it really shouldn’t have come as such a surprise that the announcement trailer for the next game in the series would look as cool as it does, but color us surprised anyway. The franchise returns to its original developer, Irrational Games, following 2K Marin’s BioShock 2, and Irrational is taking the series in a whole new direction.
The failed utopian experiment that was the underwater city of Rapture is no more, and the setting of 1960-1970 is has also been changed. In its place, BioShock Infinite heads back in time to 1912, when the floating city of Columbia stood as an example of America’s potential. Naturally, things go badly in the floating metropolis–it wouldn’t make much of a game if they went well. You play as Booker DeWitt, a former Pinkerton man tasked with rescuing the young woman Elizabeth, a psychic who plays a crucial role in the civil war raging in the clouds. As the pair try to escape through the war ravaged city, they are stalked by the beast known as “him”, Elizabeth’s robotic, bird-like jailer for the last 12 years.
BioShock Infinite will be released on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2012.