In the passionate world of gaming, trailers are more than just first looks at upcoming releases. They are an art in themselves, often hiding unexpected surprises, secrets for the community to discover and analyze and other times they simply drop jaws and peak the hype, thanks to the gameplay or the graphics of the game itself.
Over the years, therefore, various gaming trailers have become notorious. Some for all the right reasons, carving their place in the history of the medium, while others become cautionary tales of what other development teams should avoid.
With gaming circles on social media still buzzing in the wake of Rockstar Games’ announcement that next month we will see the first trailer for Grand Theft Auto 6, let’s remember some infamous trailers – that either took our breath away and made us nostalgic or to look forward to, or that they left us stunned for the wrong reasons.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – A space adventure gone wrong…
Activision’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare trailer stands out as the one on the list that went so wrong, it broke records! Specifically, when the game was first introduced in May 2016, the trailer quickly amassed a staggering 3 million dislikes. For quite some time, it was the most disliked video in the history of the entire YouTube! Fans of the series immediately expressed their disdain for the game, seeing it as yet another departure from the roots of the once-grounded military franchise after several baffling futuristic chapters. The backlash was so strong that it affected pre-orders and led to a major re-evaluation of the series’ direction.
Grand Theft Auto V – Setting the standard for open world games
Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto V gameplay trailer was also a masterpiece of how to present an open world game. It promised a vibrant world with unprecedented levels of detail and endless activities for players to do, alongside an immersive narrative that would be seen from three different perspectives. The trailer was shocking for the scale of the game, which seemed to have everything and as an icing on the cake it closed with a teaser for GTA Online, promising that everything we saw we could also experience with friends, in a multiplayer chaos. The trailer has a huge number of views and is one of the most popular in the history of gaming. Of course, “GTA V” didn’t just live up to high expectations, it shattered them. The game’s release broke all industry sales records, which it continues to do to this day, having reached 190 million sales.
Aliens: Colonial Marines – The most famous downgrade in history
The trailers for Aliens: Colonial Marines showcased a game with amazing graphics for the time, an atmospheric shooter that would be the ultimate “Aliens” experience. However, when the game was released, players encountered a product that differed dramatically from what the trailer had shown. The graphics were subpar and the AI ridiculously poor, leading to widespread criticism and even lawsuits for misleading advertising! Somehow, the trailer became a cautionary tale about the dangers of pre-rendered trailers that don’t accurately represent the final product, and as you’ll have noticed by now almost every trailer has a warning sign for companies to be legally covered.
God of War – The return of a legend
One of the most hyped and nostalgic moments the gaming community has ever experienced. Back when E3 was still alive and kicking, Sony assembled a massive orchestra, which opened its 2017 show with an epic live performance. Everyone was wondering what it could be, what surprise Sony had in store to kick off their press conference with a bang. All the lights suddenly turned off and Kratos appeared on the screen of the darkened room. Kratos like we’ve never seen him before. Mature, older, bearded, far from Ancient Greece, in the snows of Scandinavia. The room exploded with excitement and the first gameplay reveal of the beloved reboot went down in history.
Anthem – BioWare’s unfulfilled promise
BioWare’s Anthem had an incredibly impressive trailer at Microsoft’s E3 2017 press conference that made jaws drop. It promised a spectacular, lush, open world that players could explore with unparalleled freedom of movement and even in co-op. The graphics were groundbreaking for the time and the idea of a new space world from the creators of “Mass Effect” very tempting. The trailer became notorious for the high expectations it created. Upon its release, however, “Anthem” faced many problems. Among other things, it was heavily criticized for its repetitive gameplay, lack of content, and technical issues. The ambition of the development team, as seen in the trailer, had peaked, but unfortunately, the final product could not live up to expectations.
Halo 3 – The height of the hype
The Halo 3 trailer, on the other hand, is a prime example of how to build hype and ultimately deliver to players what you promised. Launching the legendary “Finish the Fight” campaign, through a few notes and images of Master Chief and Cortana, it managed to awe and thrill fans in a way that only Bungie’s Halo could, upsetting fans who had experienced the journey through the previous two chapters. It was the game that sold the Xbox 360 along with Gears of War, which also had an excellent trailer. When Halo 3 was released in 2007, it not only met expectations, but exceeded them, providing a masterful finale to one of the greatest gaming trilogies of all time, once again redefining what one can expect from a multiplayer game. The trailer didn’t just sell a game – it promised an experience, a unique journey, and that promise was delivered in the best possible way.
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