5 Video Game Trailers That Did It Right

by Game Marketing Genie, on 27-Sep-2022 10:33:48

What makes game trailers almost as anticipated as the games they're promoting?

Online fan spaces and gaming industry events are hotspots for heated discussions about cinematics. In a matter of minutes, the cinematic game trailer must present and absorb the viewer into the game's world visually and audibly. This is why trailers are works of art with their own narratives and directorial styles.

Spend a few hours engrossed in video game trailers, and you'll soon realize something fundamental. The way trailers are made says a lot about the type of game advertised. When you back up from the trailer's content and observe the framing, you'll discover several interesting things that you can use to position your game.

Here are 5 video game trailers that nailed it and became fan favorites for gamers worldwide.

1. Elden Ring - E3, 2019

Figure 1: Elden Ring E3, 2019 trailer screenshot. Source: Bandai Namco Entertainment America

Though not part of the Souls series, fans recognized many elements in the long-awaited trailer for Elden Ring. The trailer suggested the presence of colossal foes, a dark fantasy realm, and spirits from other worlds who may aid (or damage) the player adding to the excitement of the upcoming game release. The trailer also showed that Elden Ring is bigger than the Souls games.

The teaser showed the game's open-world terrain and the numerous dungeons that players could expect to discover throughout gameplay. The video also showed item crafting, player personalization, and cooperative play, among other things.

Key selling points:

  • The trailer gave glimpses of acrobatics and finishers. This indicated that combat might be more dynamic than other FromSoftware games. That tapped into precisely what Elden Ring gamers were waiting for. 
  • Cinematic game effects made the game appear larger than life. Rumors about the game were widespread from that point. Finally, FromSoftware felt compelled to acknowledge how eager everyone was for new details.
  • The various shots of the realm stoked appropriate curiosity. They showed just enough without killing the thrill of waiting for the actual game reveal.
  • The trailer balanced a good mix of both story and gameplay. The buildup from the first frame kept players guessing till the final drop. 
  • The orchestral soundtrack complemented the rich visuals in the trailer, adding to a user's audio-visual experience.

2. Breath of the Wild - E3, 2014

Figure 2: The Legend of Zelda E3 2014 game trailer screenshot. Source: IGN

Until the 2014 E3 teaser, Nintendo wasn't sure what it planned to do with the upcoming The Legend of Zelda video game. Eiji Aonuma, the producer of Breath of the Wild, stated that the E3 2014 teaser wowed everyone and that they needed to incorporate everything into the whole game.

He revealed to Edge magazine that "After creating the trailer, I really wanted to put that in the game. So I ended up making it come true. There's a lot I learned from that trailer. Once we'd put that element in the game, it made us think: what else can we do with this enemy? How else could we fight it? It expanded to new story ideas as well. The trailer became the basis for the whole game."

The storyline showed a veiled Link riding his horse until a monster arrived on the horizon. His horse bolts, the monster hot on his tail, as a few local herders and animals flee for cover. The monster pursues Link across a bridge, breaking a part of the wooden structure ahead of the hero and moving in for the kill. Link pulls off his cloak, revealing his clothing, which consists of a blue and yellow tunic and a trusty bow and arrow. He stuns the beast with two explosive-tipped arrows and then pulls out a unique arrow that morphs before the trailer fades to white.

Key selling points:

  • The trailer's success gave the game developers further ideas on how to develop the storyline for the game. The takeaway here points to the fact that a game trailer can become an essential part of your game beyond its promotional use. 
  • High-impact shots showed the protagonist escaping harm. The color contrasts vividly brought out the imagery, drawing in the viewer. 
  • The backdrop scenery was beautiful and serene, which was then contrasted with the ensuing fight for survival. 
  • The mystical soundtrack matched the scenery, and many viewers found it pleasant. 

3. Bioshock - Beyond The Sea, 2009 

Figure 3: Bioshock, Beyond The Sea trailer screenshot Source: YouTube

The Bioshock series is known for its fantastic trailers. The Beyond The Sea trailer, made for the very first in the series, did not feature any actual gameplay, but it did show off the spooky Rapture setting.

It's unforgettable to hear a famous jazz melody play as a character battles for their life against the horrors of a submerged city. The first sight of the trailer alone is remarkable, as Jack inexplicably drifts down toward the brilliant city of Rapture.

Key selling points: 

  • The evidence in the trailer that Bioshock was set under the water left fans eager to know more. It led to a lot of speculation among online gaming communities. 
  • The trailer revealed that the game had a mix of dystopian and steampunk vibes that players could get lost in and explore.
  • The familiar soundtrack (Bobby Darin's Beyond the Sea) with the terrible horrors of the Bioshock world made for an exciting contrast for players.
  • The audio created an intriguing setting, as the creaking of the city, combined with muffled shrieks, developed the idea that there's much more going on in Rapture under the surface.

4. Battlefield 1 - Official Reveal Trailer, 2016

Figure 4: Battlefield 1 2016 game trailer screenshot. Source: Battlefield

It's no secret that Battlefield has fantastic trailers. According to Forbes, the Battlefield 1 launch trailer got more than one million likes on YouTube in its first four days. The popularity of Battlefield 1 can be seen not just in the record amount of love the trailer garnered, but the game also led the sales rankings in the following October, beating out titles like Mafia 3 and Gears of War 4.

Aside from some minor launch hiccups, reviews of the game were mostly good, since it was far more fast-paced and entertaining than the game trailer revealed at first glance.

Key selling points: 

  • The trailer did an excellent job showcasing some of the WW1 era's most iconic weaponry and vehicles.
  • Strong graphics were visible in the details of the soldier's uniforms, artillery, and more.
  • The trailer depicted a good balance of storyline and gameplay through its narrative flair for fans who want to experience war-like situations and stories. 

5. Red Dead Redemption 2 - Announcement Trailer, 2016

Figure 5: Red Dead Redemption 2 game trailer screenshot. Source: IGN

The mood board of a trailer that introduced the long-awaited Red Dead Redemption 2 managed to get fans even more eager for the game. From flame-soaked oil fields to brutal landscapes, each lingering shot of western America invoked a particular reference in a viewer's mind. This magnificent cinematography, mixed with thrumming music and the protagonist Arthur Morgan's first drawls, formed an exciting setting players were excited to jump into.

The trailer showed characters in action, a taste of the updated combat system, the plethora of choices gamers will have, a little more about the gang, hunting, and much more. Rockstar then revealed that this was only the first in a series of gameplay trailers, which boosted excitement even more.

Key selling points: 

  • Cinematography and impactful shots as an ode to the western American culture with cowboys and outlaws, horses, and campfires. 
  • The music personified the peak points of each chapter nicely. There's no denying that the game's musical score was one of the highlights. Many believe it's something Rockstar Games consistently gets right with their titles.
  • The smooth cinematography offered a great first impression, immersing viewers in the gang and putting them close to the characters as they tried to shout over the roaring wind. After enduring this purposefully unpleasant setting, being released into the lush open world emphasized the tremendous sense of freedom that the player could look forward to. 
  • The trailer illustrated a lot of what could be done in the game. There are many things to do, people to meet, and locations to explore in Rockstar's most authentic and lived-in open world, yet it's welcomingly overwhelming.

BONUS: Check out a trailer we made

Figure 6: AI-driven influencer marketing platforms, Atisfyreach trailer screenshot. Source: Atisfyreach

On that note, look at a trailer we made for our influencer marketing product, Atisfyreach.

A simple concept is brought to life through impactful graphic design and easy-to-understand flow that explain how the product benefits brands looking to scale their influencer marketing efforts. Are you looking for one too? You can have a free demo here.

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Getting video marketing right

Video is a crucial component of your game's path to success. Luckily, we’ve got all the best tips for you here: The #1 Video Marketing Handbook for Gaming Studios.

Create a game trailer for your game

Do you want to propel your game to success? Creating game trailers like those above requires a big budget. However, creating a high-impact trailer is not entirely impossible at a smaller price range. Game Marketing Genie can help you create state-of-the-art game trailers and animation videos for your social media promotions. 

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