The Game Awards 2023 came and went Thursday night, bringing a plethora of surprising and entertaining game trailers with it. I’m still thinking about many of these trailers, particularly the ones that revealed brand-new games. Whether it’s because they made captivating narrative or music choices, incorporated their flashy gameplay in a creative way, or just were a ton of fun to watch over and over again, the following seven trailers stand out as the cream of the crop in a show that overwhelmed viewers with tons of announcements. Whether you couldn’t watch the show live or only care about watching the best trailers from it, we recommend you watch the following seven videos, listed in order of their appearance during The Game Awards 2023.
If there were an award for the trippiest trailer of the night, it would’ve gone to Pony Island 2: Panda Circus. Daniel Mullins is known for mind-bending games like Inscryption and the original Pony Island, and this sequel to that 2016 indie classic looks like it will be his weirdest game yet. Pony Island 2: Panda Circus appears to blend first-person gameplay with that of retro point-and-click games. Still, something feels very off about the latter throughout the trailer, with visual glitches and interruptions of live-action footage or a character played by ProZD. We aren’t quite sure how this all fits together just yet, but we’re certainly intrigued.
Panic and House House took the indie gaming scene by storm with Untitled Goose Game, and are partnering once again for a game called Big Walk that looks even more ambitious. It looks like a cooperative puzzle game where players work together to explore the island and solve puzzles. House House’s trademark sense of humor permeated throughout the trailer, and Big Walk seems like a game in which players will be able to spend as much time messing around with each other as they can solving puzzles. The trailer is completely made up of gameplay, letting the game speak for itself, and I think that really played to Big Walk’s strengths as well.
Hideo Kojima expectedly showed up at The Game Awards 2023, but it wasn’t with a new trailer for Death Stranding 2. No, he unveiled the first trailer for OD, a new game he is working on with Xbox Game Studios and Nope director Jordan Peele. The trailer focuses on the facial capture performances of two Hollywood actors in the game: Sophia Lillis and Udo Kier. They keep repeating the phrase, “The hungry purple dinosaur ate the kind, zingy fox, the jabbering crab, and the mad whale and started vending and quacking,” with Lillis ultimately screaming as the trailer concludes. Like most Hideo Kojima trailers, it’s a bit nonsensical and hard to piece together without knowing the full picture of what the game is. Despite that, it was still the most captivatingly creepy trailer of the night and is leaving me desperate to learn more.
Tales of Kenzera: ZAU stands out not just because it had a great trailer, but because of its heartfelt introduction. During a night that often felt coldly focused on games and corporations rather than the people who make them, Abubakar Salim gave a warm speech before unveiling a game, where he went into detail about his history with games, his relationship with his father, and how those things inspired make this game was one of the best moments of the night. The trailer itself also rocked, as the game has a colorful visual aesthetic and fast and frenetic 2D action gameplay. From its emotional introduction to the gameplay-forward trailer, Tales of Kenzera: ZAU and the developer behind it wore their heart on their sleeve with this reveal.
Don’t Nod unveiled its next big narrative-focused game, Lost Records: Bloom & Rage, at The Game Awards 2023. Its cinematic trailer definitely felt like it had the same coming-of-age spirit as the studio’s previous Life of Strange games did. It also had a horror twinge that seems more inspired by shows like Stranger Things and Yellowjackets. There’s clearly some secret that forced these four girls apart and made them come back together 27 years in the future, so this reveal did its job of making me interested in learning more about Lost Records: Bloom & Rage ahead of its release next year.
The Game Awards 2023 filled its superhero game quota, not just with a new trailer for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League but with the reveal of Marvel’s Blade as well. It’s a third-person action game by Arkane Lyon, the studio behind Deathloop and the Dishonored series. Its reveal trailer is purely cinematic and doesn’t reveal too much. It shows Blade getting a shave in Paris by a barber who is nervous about bleeding around him, only for this to be interrupted by monsters attacking the city, causing Blade to suit up. It’s a badass trailer, and the pedigree of Arkane Lyon’s previous work has me extremely excited to learn more about this game, even though this trailer did not even feature any gameplay.
The final trailer I want to highlight is for Den of Wolves, a new title from GTFO developer 10 Chambers. Described as a sci-fi co-op heist game, this trailer sees a man interrogating someone who stole something from him, only for the table to turn in an ending twist that reveals it’s actually the interrogator who was captured. I appreciate the trailer not only for that fun twist but also for how it incorporates gameplay. It shows brief snippets of FPS gameplay action as the supposed interrogator is prodding the other person’s mind. It’s a clever way to blend a bit of gameplay into an otherwise cinematic trailer. Den of Wolves also looks like a lot of fun, so I can’t wait to learn more.