We’re all aboard the Hype Train for our third category of our Best of 2015 awards. In this installment, we’ll be nominating our best Trailer of 2015.
There have been a lot of great trailers this year – which makes sense since there was a lot of great games – but not every trailer can make the cut. And there’s no formula either. A good trailer can be action packed and exciting, getting our blood pumping to the point that we’re bouncing off the walls in anticipation for the game…or it can be more understated and emotional – either uplifting or sorrowful or even terrifying, something that hits us at our core. But at the same time, there’s a lot of things that go into a great trailer that can’t be denied: timing, artistry, composition…it’s not easy, but these examples, in our opinions, absolutely nailed it.
So grab some popcorn, kick back, and enjoy our nominations for best trailer of the year. Be sure to tell us which one you liked best or nominate your own in the comments below or on social media on Facebook or Twitter (@Official_OnlySP).
Nick Calandra, Owner (@OnlySP_Nick) – If it had been released in 2015, The Witcher 3’s “Sword of Destiny” trailer would have been my first pick for this category. But, having been released late last year, I had to find another entry for this year. Luckily, the choice wasn’t too hard.
I’ve been intrigued by Horizon: Zero Dawn ever since rumors started circulating around the game during the Summer of 2014. When it was finally revealed, it completely blew away all expectations I had already set for the game if it was indeed real. The first trailer Guerrilla Games released for the game was spectacular to say the least. It was visually stunning and included a fantastic musical backdrop to boot. Not to mention the premise behind the game is immensely interesting to me. Check out the trailer below, which does include the E3 2015 gameplay demo immediately after.
Andrea Giargiari, Feature Writer (@UndineAndrea)- Two very intriguing premier trailers caught my eye at E3 this year. Both boasted strong new female leads, which helped make 2015 a year of promise for me and many other female gamers. Both revealed stunning post-apocalyptic settings. Horizon: Zero Dawn might have won on aesthetic alone, but to be really honest, I have to give it to the Xbox One exclusive ReCore.
We know a fair amount about the gameplay of Horizon thanks to the in-engine gameplay demo that came alongside the trailer. With ReCore, I know next to nothing about how it plays, but I still want to play it just as much; that’s the mark of a good trailer. ReCore chose to put its focus on the relationship between the lead character, a wasteland scavenger and mechanic, and her dog-like robot companion. The raw emotional impact of this relationship is what really spoke to me, and is frankly making me reconsider my stance on owning an Xbox One.
Reid A Gacke, Editor in Chief (@OnlySP_Reid) – I mostly avoided the hype train this year, to be honest. I wasn’t even really able to watch E3 (in my defense, I hadn’t yet taken my position at OSP, so I wouldn’t call it a professional failing so much as a personal one), so while I kept up with the news, I didn’t really get all worked up like some people. But I sat down with some choice picks this week and looked them over with a critical eye, and my pick for best trailer, I feel, is as obvious as it is personally disappointing: Final Fantasy VII.
It is no secret to those who know me best (or at all…or to whom I have sat next to on a bus for any length of time) that Final Fantasy VII is not my favorite of the franchise. It’s probably not in the bottom half, but it’s right around the middle of the list. I just thought it was over-hyped, overrated, and began the series down an unfortunate road of convoluted, confusing plots and unlikable characters. That’s not to say there’s been nothing to like since Final Fantasy VII or even that FFVII is a bad game. In fact, the only games of the series I absolutely hated were FFVIII and FFXIII. But the truth of the matter is I have never felt a dying urge to replay Final Fantasy VII.
I’ll be damned if this trailer didn’t get even me hyped for a game I never even wanted. Not only was it beautiful (honestly, of all of Square Enix’s failings, not being able to make a pretty cut scene is not one of them) but it was well designed cinematically. It was intriguing and you didn’t even know for sure what you were watching until the end…but you felt it. It’s hard for me to explain exactly, but I felt like everything about this trailer was on point. So as much as I hate Square Enix for continuing to pander to what I consider one of the most over-rated games in the history of gaming (still gonna play it, of course), I have to take my hat off to them for this masterful trailer and announcement.
Rhys Cooper, News and Editorial Writer (@Dizzee_Rhyscal) – Risking the danger of repeating myself, I must say that the ‘biggest’ trailer this year for me was the Final Fantasy VII remake trailer. As Reid explains, it was a very well-made announcement and has Bahamut-sized bags of hype following it.
However, my choice for the “best trailer” is for another, incredibly different RPG. The first game very pleasantly surprised me in many ways, a lot of which had nothing to do with gaming, and I didn’t expect a sequel for it seeing as the first seemed like such a one-off standalone classic. My vote for Best Trailer goes to South Park: The Fractured But Whole. Let me say first of all: I do not like South Park (the show), but I was persuaded to play South Park: The Stick of Truth by friends and reviews explaining how good the actual game was. I gave it a go, and loved it (but not quite enough to convince me to watch the show).
The new trailer is brilliant, unlike any other game trailer you are likely to see, and came out of nowhere. It begins like any other fantasy game would, which fools us into a false sense of security. Soon the truth is revealed (no pun intended), and the trailer very much “breaks the fourth wall” by mentioning the glaring issue that Stick of Truth wasn’t even an RPG, and later openly wishing for a review of 9.5. It goes on to make us laugh, hype us up, and reveal one of the strangest yet funniest game names of all time. If you haven’t seen it yet, just watch it now mmkay?
The original Dishonored was that rare blend of a great action-adventure game coupled with an interesting world to go with it. As the empress’s bodyguard/protector (and lover?) Corvo Attano, you were given wide latitude to play the game as you wished, ranging from a Carebear who wouldn’t hurt a fly up to a psychopath who left no one standing, and everything in between. Supernatural abilities awakened in you by The Outsider let you possess other people, see through walls, blink through the shadows, or even slow time. It was the ultimate in “play your way” experiences.
The sequel looks to expand upon this by not only letting you play once more as Corvo, but also offering Emily Kaldwin as a protagonist, too. Daughter of the late empress and only a child in the first game, Emily is now a young woman, and again seems to have obtained supernatural abilities of her own. Arkane have said that Dishonored 2 will be more challenging than the original Dishonored, with more abilities to choose from and different skills depending on whether you play as Corvo or Emily.
The trailer itself shows Emily using some of her new abilities and gadgets, as well as teasing the return of Corvo near the end. There’s still no solid release date, but hopefully the reports of a Spring 2016 release are not far off the mark.
Lance Roth, Editorial Writer (@RPGameX) – I’m more than a little jaded, so for the most part game trailers excite me about as much as those three commercials every ten minutes during a HULU showing. That being said, I am a huge Fallout fan.
Bethesda’s Fallout 4 announcement, despite being somewhat telegraphed, was still a surprise. What was even more of surprise was their mobile offering, Fallout Shelter. So, for the surprise factor, and the way the art design perfectly portrays that mid-century aesthetic that the Fallout games vamp so well, the Fallout Shelter trailer is my favorite trailer of 2015.
James Schumacher – Lead Reviewer (@JamesInDigital) – Another day, another dilemma. This time picking out a single trailer from a year’s worth of trailery goodness. If I were to make a decision based on surprise factor alone, the nod would have to go to the Final Fantasy VII tease from E3. That feels like a bit of a cheat to me, though still a valid choice. When I think of stuff that stood out, the trailer for We Happy Few was delightfully creepy and the both the Gamescom and E3 trailers for Mankind Divided showcased an amazing amount of polish and possibility. As a huge Yakuza fan, the trailers for both Yakuza 0 and the remake of Yakuza 1, Kiwami, were looking good, and finally “next gen”.
We discussed this topic amongst the staff and when I brought up the Mafia III trailer, we had an excellent discussion about it. It immediately establishes a tone, a time period and a setting, and joins them with excellent visuals, mostly propped up by terrific lighting and character models. The key to the Mafia series is the principal of “family”, period authenticity, and a city that can captures those ideas with the story it tells. This is a time and place in history that is ripe for exploration both in terms of narrative and visuals.
There were a lot of great trailers this year, but Mafia III is my nod for the best – providing just a taste of what’s coming, and leaving the viewer wanting to learn and experience more.