Ten Awesome Video Game Launch Trailers Of This Generation

By James Hawkins in Lists!
Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 11:00 am
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With all of these awesome games coming out, it is pretty easy to get swept up in all the advertising. No other industry in the world puts quite the emphasis on marketing that the video game industry does, and while it can be kind of sickening to be bombarded with "BUY OUR PRODUCT" over and over again, there's a lot of artistry in the works. Sometimes, you gotta just sit back and enjoy it for what it all is.

We've selected ten launch trailers that really resonated with us. They are generally huge titles that sell millions of copies -- but there's a reason for that. Littler games don't have quite the budget to create a large-scale trailers that shift in and out of live-action and sing with orchestras and feature famous voice actors. And that's okay. For this post, at least.

Grand Theft Auto IV
I don't know of another launch trailer that can quite capture a game's essence like this GTA IV one. It just encapsulates the cool, quirkiness of Nico Bellic and his Liberty City comrades. And though it doesn't look quite as impressive three years later -- when this thing dropped, most jaws did, too.

Dead Space
I live and breathe survival-horror games. This came at the right point in my life. My beloved Resident Evil franchise was evolving into an action series, and Valve was teasing a fast-paced cooperative zombie killing experience unlike any other. I needed this. And it worked like nothing I could've imagined.

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
This is a beautiful trailer. As the Legend of Zelda franchise matured into a darker, more adult series with Twilight Princess, so did its advertising. The music is grandiose. The story is told wholly through visuals. It brings us that token Zelda vibe, but brought forth to the new age. When that melody kicks in, it's like playing the game again, except this time new. You don't get that feeling anywhere else.

Call of Duty: Black Ops
Say what you will about the Call of Duty franchise, but this trailer fuckin' rocks. It is big, bold, and hardcore as hell. I'm a big Rolling Stones fan, so the use of Gimme Shelter really piqued my interest. It sets the Vietnam era mindset mood perfectly. I will say this, too: It wasn't even the best use of a Stones song the game had to offer... Please allow me to introduce myself....

Battlefield 3
This is pretty scary. It is an incredible piece of film, if you think about it. Its editing, the seamless transitions between scenes -- it is a visual feast. This trailer showcases the amazing graphics of Battlefield 3. On the other hand, the question it poses is a tricky one: is it real? Or is it Battlefield 3? Here's a hint: in one of them, the bullets cause a lot more to shake than just your hands.

Mass Effect 2
Mysterious, sprawling, epic, Martin Sheen. That pretty much sums up this gorgeous trailer. Mass Effect 2 took the whole genre to a new threshold when it dropped and, in 20/20 hindsight, we could have seen it coming with this trailer. 

Gears of War
Really, any of the Gears of War games could have this slot, but I think we were all startled and taken with the first one the most. It took that one Donnie Darko song and transposed it over some of the bleakest and most inspiring visuals to come of the seventh generation. It is the kind of trailer you watch over and over again, because of how you remember the first time you saw it.

Personal bias aside, this trailer is real unique. It showcases the game's backstory, atmosphere, and entrails while giving away no plot whatsoever. It focuses on the Little Sisters, not the actual mythos surrounding the game's narrative. It functions exactly as a trailer should -- makes you excited to play it, but not because you like what you see. Its what you don't see that really draws you in -- that want of discovery. And when you saw it, you know you'd seen nothing like it before.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
I know: two CoDs on the same list makes me an asshole. But argue against it. Please. And say what you will about both Eminem and the Call of Duty franchise, this trailer is 100% hype. Michael Bay, mainstream, big money, superficial, hardcore hype. And it works like a damn charm.

Batman: Arkham City
This is the real inspiration for this amalgamation of videos. Arkham City blew everyone away when it released a few weeks ago. It began its parade of impressiveness back about 8 months ago when its first trailer dropped. Then, it continued to do so until the final credits rolled on the game disc. And produced this work of excellence along the way.
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