There’s nothing more enticing than that tease, that pinch, that itch you get from a fantastic trailer. With retail games, so many of them get these bloated budgets and the trailers get absolutely insane, but XBLA has to rely on their creativity! Their imagination! Their sense of wonder!… And yes, money also. However, not every trailer is amazing, but the best ones combine with some great games and catchy trailer ideas to really entice you. This week’s Friday Top Five will be about these beautiful, and often evil, displays of awesome, wallet-attacking footage. We were looking for that marriage of gameplay, story, presentation and shameless plugging, and we’ve found the best examples of it.
Swarm – Launch Trailer
Just because your game is small, doesn’t it mean you can’t go all out on the trailers! Swarm, a charming game about killing near infinite amounts of small blue creatures over and over to score points, had a very strange trailer campaign. The final trailer has a girl talking about why she loves her Swarmites, which turns out to be due to some sort of pent up swarmicidal rage. It’s difficult to put live action in a trailer and not break the experience, but this trailer manages to fuse the insanity of the gameplay with the insanity of the narrator. All of the game’s major facets are shown off, giving it the proper amount of hype, but also look! A crazy little girl! The feeling of the game is captured in the live action and the gameplay, so it’s a win-win!
Lives and Death – Debut Trailer
Life and death aren’t entirely complicated concepts, but video games and just about everything else loves to make huge deals out of them. Upcoming title Lives and Death is no different, but there’s something… off, going on. The trailer shows us some very dramatic stills of a man falling to his death. Right? Does he come back? Did he ever die? It’s really not very clear what’s going on, but you can’t help but want to know more! Beyond that, we see two bits of gameplay side by side, showing off the game while the character narrates. He talks of these two different worlds, and questions his own life, and his own death. The trailer really flaunts the intrigue of this game, and makes you want to know more, while showing just enough gameplay to make sure you see it’s not just much ado about nothing.
Awesomenauts – E3Trailer
Seriously, if you haven’t been singing this theme song over and over since seeing the trailer, you’re not a human being. And if you are, well, you’re crazy. Something about the tune to this trailer is ridiculously catchy, can’t help but rewatch until you can sing along. This trailer is all hype, and it definitely gets in there. The tailor-made song really makes you keep watching without distracting from the actual gameplay. Thus, the trailer is a great success for generating hype. It helps that the action is frenetic and fast, with all sorts of blasts and explosions and pretty much anything else awesome! It may be less mysterious than other games, but damn if this Awesomenauts trailer doesn’t make you want to just get in there and play the game. Also, 80s much?
Bastion – Launch Trailer
The calamity hit the kingdom of Caelondia like a ton a’ bricks, shattered its foundation. Thankfully for the Kid, it came with some mighty fine exposure. Not only did he get to have my glorious voice talkin’ about him, tellin’ his story, but… Well I suppose that’s good enough, ain’t it? Nope! Not only do we get some glorious exposition delivered to us by Rucks in this potent trailer, we also get to see just how powerful the Kid can be. Bastion‘s launch trailer is another one of balance between intrigue and action. You wonder what the calamity was and what’s the Kid’s role in all of it. Then you wonder where these things are, and why the world is forming as the Kid walks its paths. But before getting carried away in story, Rucks breaks into the action and shows off key gameplay mechanics. By detailing each building in the Bastion, Rucks blends his explanation of the Bastion and the game’s actual mechanics. The conclusion is powerful, not only because of the timeliness of Rucks’ narration and the end of the rhythmic soundtrack, but of the promises Bastion makes should you buy it. Which you probably did.
Battleblock Theater – The Official Trailer
The trailer to Behemoth’s Battleblock Theater is everything a trailer should be in all the right doses. Story, gameplay, hype, comedy, drama, action, it’s like its own movie! We start out in the ocean in a boat, and ride to the island where presumably the theater resides. From there, the trailer really takes off, with the score getting more and more dramatic. Glimpses can be made into the story just moments in, raising that beautiful curiosity found in so many great story trailers, then bam in-tune with the music, we switch to gameplay! Not just any gameplay, we’re talking single cooperative and the competitive multiplayer. You get to see what you’ll be doing, what you can do with your friend, and what you can do to your friend! As we see the final bits of story, the music arrives at a powerful crescendo, then slowly proceeds to the end, like any amazing roller coaster should. Just when you thought that captivating thrill ride was over, there’s a bit of a laugh track bonus, underlining one of the game’s most defining traits: griefing. Story, coop, multiplayer, griefing, dramatic and exciting music, this trailer seriously has it all. Watch it again! WATCH IT AGAIN!
That wraps it up, folks. Now, this Friday Top Five was incredibly difficult to do, we had to pick and choose from dozens of really top-shelf trailers for the best of the bunch. Everyone has their favorites, and different ideas of what a trailer should be, so let us know what your favorites are in the comments below!