Video game trailers have been a part of the gaming world for as long as most of us can remember. And those of us who’ve been around for a while (in gaming years) know how far they’ve come! If you compare a trailer for one of the old classics like Final Fantasy V with any of the modern-day masterpieces, it’ll be clear just how much video technology has advanced.
Although the primary purpose of video game trailers has been to build hype and drive sales for years now, let’s be real — some of them are real works of art! Also, if customers didn’t love them, nobody would be making them!
So there’s no need to pretend you don’t squeal like a fangirl whenever a new trailer for one of your favorite titles comes out — we’ve all been there! Instead, let us take a look at some of the most jaw-dropping and cinematic video game trailers out there.
But before we start, a quick disclaimer — the picks on our list are subjective choices since there is no way to be unbiased when rating something like this. However, there are a few things we looked for when choosing, such as:
Also, there are many more fantastic trailers we didn’t manage to squeeze in; we’re aware of that, and we apologize. That’s why we’ve included two honorable mentions at the end, but more on those later.
Here’s our selection of the ten best video game trailers of recent years:
Let’s check them out!
This trailer is a debut for the third and final installment in the much-beloved Deus Ex franchise. This piece has aged well since the trailer is currently nine years old but still features breathtaking scenes, epic music, and frighteningly ominous narration. Even people unfamiliar with the franchise can sense the game will be leading to some sort of climax. Also, let’s not forget to mention how masterfully it hints at some of the new core game mechanics you’ll be utilizing throughout your playthrough! We’ll leave it at that so as not to spoil anything; try the game for yourself (if you already haven’t) to find out more.
Who wouldn’t want to take part in showdowns at high noon, throw lassos around like a badass cowboy, and raid trains all day? This trailer perfectly illustrates the variety of things you can do in the lawless Wild West of Red Dead Redemption 2 while still leaving plenty to the imagination! Also, because most of us are familiar with Rockstar Games’ reputation and design style from their GTA (Grand Theft Auto) franchise, we know we’re in for one hell of a ride. And if the gorgeous scenery, the enchanting esthetics, and the opportunity to roleplay as a real cowboy didn’t reel you in, that fabulous accent the characters have surely will!
If you are a fan of DC Comics and haven’t played this game, get to it right now! This trailer for one of the most popular Batman games of all time lives up to the standards. Everything about this trailer is phenomenal! From voice acting and chase sequences to combat scenes, this video provides the ultimate Batman experience. If you were unaware that this trailer was for a game, dare we say you could even mistake it for a movie! And let’s not forget to mention that it also features some of the iconic antagonists like Harvey Dent (Two-Face) and Harley Quinn. What a way to give the customers a sneak peek on who you’ll be up against in-game!
Yes, we admit — we fell victim to nostalgia — but hear us out! Blizzard Entertainment has some of the most epic cinematic video game trailers out there, especially in recent years. But we just had to go with this one. Namely, the Lich King is the most iconic character of the Warcraft universe, so we deemed this video the most suitable choice. After all, the third expansion to Blizzard’s legendary MMORPG World of Warcraft revolved around this legendary character and the players’ quest to defeat him. And let’s not mention that this expansion was the most popular to date; that is when the game reached its record number of subscribers, peaking at ten million. Overall, if the howling of the chilling winds of Northrend doesn’t make you shiver, the sight of Lich King raising the infamous frost wyrm Sindragosa sure will!
The Witcher franchise has become a worldwide phenomenon; it started as a widely successful book, got turned into a video game franchise, and ended up as a dedicated TV series! However, one could argue that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was when the saga peaked in popularity. Naturally, this game’s launch trailer had to make it on our list! This cinematic masterpiece is so immersive and well-produced that it wouldn’t surprise us if the folks at Netflix got the idea for their series based on this trailer alone. There is no focus on gameplay — just a spectacular movie-like showcase of Geralt’s monster-hunting skills. Blood, grotesque, fast-paced combat, and even scenes of nudity the franchise is known for are all there. So grab some popcorn and enjoy!
If anyone ever told you a short trailer couldn’t be epic, they have never watched this one. EA managed to make an action-packed masterpiece that’s barely over a minute long! The second you press the play button and a remix of the Seven Nation Army by White Stripes kicks in, it’ll be enough to get your adrenaline pumping. And when you combine the intense fighting scenes in the clip with the nostalgia all veterans of Battlefield 1942 will be feeling by now, you’ve got yourself a kick-ass video game trailer!
Mass Effect is one of the most beloved video game franchises globally, and its third installation features one of its most significant plot turning points. Unless you are familiar with the game’s story, this cinematic trailer might look like it’s been made for just another run-of-the-mill sci-fi space shooter game. However, for Mass Effect veterans, it is much more. The game’s developer, Bioware, isn’t renowned for its masterful world-building and storytelling proficiency for nothing. If you haven’t played any Mass Effect games before, we wholeheartedly recommend you put them on your bucket list; only then will you be able to fully grasp the melancholic beauty of this trailer and understand why it got so high on our list.
Did we hear Star Wars? Count us in! These were our thoughts even before we saw this trailer. Technically, just being Star Wars had earned it a spot on this list. But then, we pressed the play button and went over our checklist.
Well, no wonder this trailer ended up so high. And let’s not even begin to talk about the production quality. The video looks fantastic in every aspect, and, frankly, we shouldn’t have expected anything less of something Star Wars!
Ubisoft doesn’t need any introduction as it’s the brains behind one of the most popular gaming franchises in the world — Assassin’s Creed. Do you remember how much gamers adored Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag? Yeah, it’s hard to miss that. But what is better and more loved than pirates? Vikings, of course! But wait, isn’t that theme overdone? After you’ve thrown even a single glance at this masterpiece, you’ll realize the answer is no! This cinematic video game trailer is so breathtakingly vivid that you’ll be left awe-struck the first time you watch it. The production quality is on par with most modern-day films, which will leave you wanting more! And let’s not mention the ending — that’s how you do a mindblowing reveal! This game won’t be out until October 2020, though, so we hope you don’t die of anticipation.
Does our top pick even surprise you? Probably not! We don’t know a single gamer who’s not dying to get their hands on Cyberpunk 2077! This title is indisputably the most anticipated game of the decade, and this cinematic trailer just serves to add fuel to the fire. The first and the most apparent thing about this video is that it looks and feels entirely like a movie! The attention to detail and the CGI are out of this world — much praise to the producers. The trailer also provides valuable insight into the game’s setting, particular gameplay mechanics, and much more. And the ending… Let’s just say that we won’t judge if the cameo from the John Wick legend himself, Keanu Reeves, makes you swoon. This game is scheduled to release on September 17, 2020, so good luck surviving until then!
As we’ve touched upon in the beginning, we also have some honorable mentions. These two barely didn’t make the cut, but we’d be remiss not to give them a shoutout for different reasons!
If you are anything like us, hearing that iconic Dovakhin song for the first time and learning that you’d be fighting dragons in The Elder Scrolls V must have been the highlight of your childhood. Even today, every time this song starts playing, we’re sure you can’t help but get shivers down your spine and feel like you’re on top of the world. That is what this trailer managed to accomplish. Although this video is mostly a mix of scenic game footage with a few cinematic elements, everything else about it makes it exceptional — the music, the sense of adventure, the feelings it evokes. And even though we all like to meme on Bethesda a lot, we have to give them credit where credit is due. With Skyrim, they’ve managed to make a real masterpiece. That would make it a cardinal sin not to give the game an honorable mention at the very least.
The award for the silliest trailer ever made goes to 2K Games! This work of art is in a league of its own for its humor, but it doesn’t quite fit the bill of a cinematic trailer. That is why we decided to give it an honorable mention. After all, the Borderlands franchise is infamous for its over-the-top humor, parodic elements, and bluntness. And this trailer is the perfect example of that! It captures and showcases the essence of the game to a T while preserving its distinctive art style. If you haven’t played any of the Borderlands games yet, you have no idea what you’re missing!
Did you like our list of best video game trailers? Are there any other titles you’d add to it? We’d love to hear your suggestions! If you wish to send us your thoughts, feel free to contact us on social media or send us an email. Oh, and if you’d like to read about some related topics, why not check our article on false advertising practices in the gaming industry. We also provide some advice on how to protect yourselves from falling victim to them.
Until next time!