12 of the best RPG trailers
Trailers are an important part of any marketing campaign, be it games or movies. And while games come and ultimately go, the trailers often remain etched in our memories. RPG games have spawned some of the best cinematics in gaming, and names like Blizzard, Bioware or CD Projekt always seem to come to mind when thinking about quality trailers. So we’ve rounded up some of the best RPG trailers from recent years, and listed them here in no particular order for your viewing pleasure! Remember though, we’re talking about the quality of the trailers alone here, trailers that might not always reflect the quality of the games themselves!
Mass Effect 3 – Take Earth Back
Mass Effect 3’s trailer was beautifully crafted, and the hype it built up for the game was phenomenal. Even though the game had a controversial ending originally, the truth is, the trailer was artistic indeed. The fact that there was a female Shepard version too just goes to show how important it was for Bioware and EA to correctly promote their game.
Dragon Age: Origins – Warden’s Calling
Dragon Age: Origins received several great trailers. It was hard to narrow it down to one choice, but I felt that “Warden’s Calling” was overall better than trailers like Sacred Ashes. Sacred Ashes was a little bit too long for my taste, and while it had some great moments, I felt the Warden’s Calling did better in capturing DA:O’s essence. Besides, it’s not often you can successfully associate an RPG with rock music. The trailer managed to remain memorable (the warden’s oath really got stuck in my head) without spoiling too much.
Elder Scrolls Online – Alliances
I don’t care how much controversy surrounds ESO. It will come out in April, and we’ll see if it’s any good or not. But the fact is, Bethesda really did a great job with the Alliances trailer. In just 5 minutes, they managed to summarize the presence of 3 factions, the fight for the throne and some of the various classes and races in the game. All while keeping bad-ass levels high!
Dragon Age 2: Destiny
Dragon Age 2 wasn’t nearly as good as the first game, but the Destiny trailer easily managed to surpass Origin’s trailers. From the editing, to the impeccable visuals and the amazing score, DA 2’s trailer had it all.
Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls
It’s hard to make a list of great cinematic trailers without including Blizzard. They have been a weight-carrying name in the field for well over a decade (I still remember how impressed I was with Diablo 2’s cinematics), and they seem to constantly improve, at least visually. Reaper of Souls is no exception, and the trailer, while not too rich on combat and action, is masterfully done. I especially loved the mixture of artwork and CGI, edited together harmoniously.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Before The Witcher 2 came out, CD Projekt Red wasn’t a high budget studio. They had great success with the first Witcher game, but their revenues weren’t through the roof. It came as a very pleasant surprise to see that they took the time and effort and invested financially in a quality trailer for the Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (not that the Striga trailer for the first game was bad). It might not have been the most impressive in terms of visuals and CGI, but it’s still one of the best trailers I have ever seen for a video game. There’s just something majestic about the contrast between the blue ice and the red blood, the choreography is flawless, and the music compliments the pace and feel of the visual aspects perfectly. And, it’s focused on the bad guy (if you can call Letho a bad guy at all), which is uncommon in most trailers, and manages to create a great setting for the game without spoiling anything.
Star Wars: The Old Republic – Deceived
Next on the list, SWTOR’s Deceived trailer. The first of the cinematic trailers to appear for SWTOR, this one created a huge wave of hype, and rightly so. Classic Star Wars music accompanied some beautifully crafted battles, narrated by Malgus’ own imposing and intimidating voice. It was so good, that years later, I still remembered its every frame. You know it’s a good trailer when films like Thor: The Dark World have entire scenes inspired by it (not going to spoil for those of you that haven’t seen the film, but I remember chuckling in the theaters at some point, thinking back to this trailer and smiling).
Once Witcher 2 was released and the finances of CD Projekt improved, they could invest more into trailers. And invest they did! Cyberpunk 2077’s trailers is one of the best looking (and sounding) trailers I’ve ever seen, and last year’s VGX Best Trailer of 2013 award went to it, justifiably so. I don’t know much about the game yet, but just based on the trailer, I want it. Oh, and if you’re wondering, the song is called Bullets, from Archive.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
And, continuing with cyberpunk-themed trailers, Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s trailer was also a sight to behold. When seeing the trailer for the first time, all my doubts about a Deus Ex reboot were gone, and turns out, the game was equally good. With Deus Ex’s trailer, Square Enix showed that it’s one of the studios making the best RPG trailers out there.
Star Wars: The Old Republic – Return and Hope
There’s no point in listing these separately. They are both equally good. In fact, combine these two with the initial Deceived trailer and you have about 15 minutes of the best Star Wars cinematic experience since Return of the Jedi. Yes, I do mean it! In my book, Bioware’s trailers for SWTOR capture the essence of what Star Wars is so much better than the Jar-Jar infested new-generation films. Sorry Hayden Christensen, Malgus is a much more intimidating baddie than your whiny Anakin.
The Witcher 3 – Killing Monsters
This was not a top, it would be impossible to put these trailers in some sort of order. But I still feel like I’m leaving the best for last. Killing Monsters is by far my favorite trailer to this point. I’m not sure if it’s the presence of Geralt, the breathtaking choreography, or that final question and answer which make me love it so. Probably all of them combined. But for some reason, I constantly feel the need to replay it. Well done CD Projekt, well done indeed!