– Tom Heath
With San Diego Comic-Con happening over the weekend, we’ve been introduced to a whole host of trailers for upcoming films and TV shows. Most of them are shitty, low quality phone recordings from within the audience that make me want to gouge out my own eyes and ears, but nonetheless I want to see that first footage of Jared Leto’s Joker damn it!
But one trailer stuck out to me, and that was the newest one for next year’s terribly titled Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The elaboration on Batman as a character, the fact it is addressing the uncharacteristically cataclysmic (say that 10 times while drunk) ending of Man of Steel and just, well, BATMAN BEING AWESOME has made me much more interested in the film than I thought I would ever be.
So it got me thinking about all the gaming trailers I’ve seen over the years and particularly the ones that I became obsessed about at the time. I mean the ones that I would watch repeatedly, the ones I would mentally and physically drool over at the prospect of one day playing whatever awesomeness it was displaying before my very eyes. The trailers that took over my entire life for periods that were longer than I care to admit.
Oh what the hell, I’ll admit it anyway!
Portal – 2006
This is the first trailer I think of when I think “mind-blowing trailers”. It had a great sense of humour and introduced us to GLaDOS, possibly the best villain of the past decade. But most importantly, it demonstrated the game’s portal mechanics like being able to chase yourself infinitely, look back through portals to see yourself across the room and use momentum gained to fling yourself in impossible directions.
At the time this was the most brain-imploding concept that I actually had dreams about getting to play this game. That’s right, this concept trailer was so good it completely blasted breasts out of my 16 year old subconsciousness. That in itself deserves an award.
Bioshock Infinite – E3 2011
Speaking of breasts, this trailer for Bioshock Infinite caused a bit of an uproar among fans due to the exposure of protagonist Elizabeth’s chest, with concerns that the game’s strong female character was being objectified and later led to discussions as to whether her cleavage was altered in the final game as a result.
I must, again, be misusing my brain because Elizabeth’s breasts didn’t even register on my radar while watching this trailer, instead I was focusing on the believable/smooth interactions between a talking FPS protagonist and another character, the incredibly intriguing storyline unfolding and the crazy, sky-rail riding, dimension tearing gameplay.
Sadly, this entire section of gameplay does not appear in the finished game, but rather elements of it appear spread out across it. Thankfully, my favourite moments of Booker and Elizabeth’s exchange in the doorway and the time jump from 1912 to the 1983 release of Revenge of the Jedi were kept!
Dead Space – Loved Ones trailer, 2008
OK, so this is the first trailer on this list without much in terms of gameplay footage, but the way it set up the creepy atmosphere for Dead Space was just so enthralling it had to merit a mention. Directed by James Wan (director of Saw, Insidious and The Conjuring), the “Loved Ones” features many moments from the game but edits them together into a nonsensical mash of terror. That slow build to the lone man banging his head against a wall, the eerie body floating out in space, that ending with protagonist Isaac Clarke being dragged screaming into the unknown; yeesh…
Still sends chills up the old spine…
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King – 2008
I don’t play World of Warcraft, heck, I don’t even like World of Warcraft. I played it for 10 minutes maybe a year or so into its release because I was curious about the game that was allegedly so good that people played it until they DIED. Granted I gave it little time, but it didn’t grab me and I found no desire to ever give it another go.
But when I saw this trailer for the Wrath of the Lick King expansion pack… oh man! I mean, LOOK AT IT!
I know pretty much nothing of WoW‘s story, but the brief tale of a king telling his son to be just and honourable while we watch the son doing the complete opposite was incredibly compelling. Couple that with an army of zombies, a goddamn ice dragon and some of the best CGI I had ever seen at the time, and you’ve got yourself a damn fine trailer son. Well played Blizzard, well played.
So, trailers are never always accurate representations of the final products. Portal had some visual improvements before launch, Bioshock Infinite never included that particular section and Wrath of Lich King still didn’t make WoW fun for me; but for the most part these four delivered on their promises.
Portal was the playground I always dreamed about (clearing it from my dreams and allowing breasts to return), Dead Space was a disturbingly terrifying ride and Bioshock Infinite‘s enthralling story was second to The Last of Us as my game of 2013.
When the hype-train derails, it sucks. But the ride up until then can be the greatest.
There’s never enough time in the day to catch all the trailers, so if you have any Tom might be interested in, hit him up on Twitter: @tomdheath. Who knows, they may be shared to LoadScreen and you could be famous! You won’t know unless you follow LoadScreen too: @load_screen, so be sure to do that.