In age of mass connectivity and information distribution, there's less and less reason to even have an E3. However, E3 isn't just about announcing new games, but getting people excited about those games. Trailers are the best way to accomplish this, and when done correctly can really get people pumped. Some announcements were so long-awaited that simply their name was enough to get people riled up, like Metroid Prime 4. Prim's announcement was not a trailer, though, no matter what it says on Youtube.
A trailer has to showcase the game's tone, the feeling the developers what you to have as you play. Showing off gameplay is also great, but if there is not enough ready to show, then the trailer needs to be cinematic. Music plays a large part in popular trailers, as well. A great song is not only good for the trailer itself, but the composer as well. Low Roar, the band behind the haunting song of the first Death Stranding trailer, saw a huge increase in traffic to their Youtube page the day after the trailer first released. The song in question, I'll Keep Coming, has 2.9M views on their channel, putting it ahead of their second most viewd video with a count of 696k. Never mind the millions of views that went to other channels hosting the song as simply "That Death Stranding trailer song."
So what were the best trailers at this year's E3? The top 10 are ranked, taking into account gameplay shown, cinematic feel, music, and overall hype levels. Not included on this list were the pure gameplay showcases; those aren't trailers, under these conditions. So while the Spider-Man game looks great, it won't be on this list because what they showed wasn't a trailer. Some games that had great trailers won't be here because they lost enough points just for not being the first trailer. There are far more excitement levels generated by the first trailer than the following, typically.
This is not a list of the best games at E3, or the best reveals (we have a list for that). This is a list of the best trailers. As always, this is a matter of opinion, though as much objectivity as possible was considered when constructing this list. Let's begin!
#10: God of War
Though this wasn't the first time we've had a trailer for the upcoming revival, the trailer was structured in such a way that it could have easily been the first. The trailer frames the combat with the narration excellently, while showing off the stunning environments and brutal finishers. A bit more of the story is teased out, though not nearly enough to write a summary of it.
#9: Ni No kuni II
There wasn't a lot of talk about this game on the show floor, but the trailer deserves some recognition. It does a great job of blending story with gameplay. We're giving information on the plot without being told too much, directly. Watching the trailer carefully will allow the viewer to find more clues and details on the plot, which is what a good trailer should do: be rewatchable.
#8: Shadow of the Colossus
Here is a trailer that lets the game's pedigree speak for itself. The music is quiet and nearly unnoticeable, and any hope for an explanation of what is going on is out the window. Being a remake, fans of the original title know exactly what's going on, and so only have to focus on the graphical improvements. As great as the initial release of the game was, it's understandably dated. Seeing that it'll be getting a remake is exciting enough on its own, but a trailer to go with it is also appreciated.
#7: Dragon Ball FighterZ
Some early information about this game existed before its trailer debut at E3, so some weren't surprised to see it was getting mentioned. What everyone was surprised about was how amazing it looked. The game has somehow perfectly captured the look and feel of the anime, so much so that at times you aren't sure if you're watching gameplay or a scene from the anime. Following disappointment after disappointment surrounding Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite, fighting game fans were thrilled to see a game get the MvC formula right.
#6: Star Wars Battlefront 2
Though not personally excited for the title, there's no doubt that the Star Wars Battlefront 2 trailer knows exactly what it's doing. Like many good video game trailers, it seamlessly blends gameplay with cinematics. What's really impressive is how the music syncs up so well with what's going in the trailer, with explosions coming in at the same time as certain percussion hits for the track. It helps, too, that they used some of the most exciting modern Star Wars music available.
#5: Beyond Good and Evil 2
From the moment I saw the anthropomorphic pig, I had a feeling the trailer might be for Beyond Good and Evil 2. The tone of it all didn't feel that close to the first game, so as the trailer went on, my suspicions lessened. So there was some surprise when the title finally did come up, confirming my initial guess. The trailer makes the world seem alive, with fun and exciting music and an interesting backdrop. It's just a shame, then, that it is utterly brought down by the most annoying video game character in recent memory: Knox (that swear-spewing, tryhard, monkey man). Having no gameplay to show hurt its overall impact, too.
#4: Skull & Bones
It's always great to get a game announcement that wasn't leaked or teased at beforehand. Seeing a pirate naval combat game is not that stunning, and nothing we haven't seen before. Yet the Skull & Bones trailer manages to capture that mix of whimsical and dark that makes up any good pirate adventure. Like many Ubisoft trailers, this one employees a cover of a pop/rock song, helping with its searchability and view count generating. As nice as the track is, something about it just didn't fit with the tone.
#3: Super Mario Odyssey
Since last year, people have been eagerly awaiting more Super Mario Odyssey news. With the latest trailer, we got slammed with not only looks at more gameplay and settings, but also the main gimmick behind the title and an incredibly catching original song. It's rare to see a trailer get an original song, especially for a video game, but when it does, and it's done well, it's something truly special. The trailer for this game left many wishing the full game was releasing the next day.
#2: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Like with my previous list, the top two games could easily switch positions based on my mood. They both have strengths the other doesn't, as well as weaknesses. The overall score for both is near identical, so selecting who would be first and who went home with the silver was a difficult call. Both had great music, a good mix of gameplay and story, as well as their own ways of conveying and hyping up the experience of the game. Still, one of them had to get second place, and that was Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.
The trailer leaves people guessing at its name for nearly a minute, until the little girl calls in a recognizable enemy from the first game. I don't want to give too much away, if you haven't seen it already (and you should), but suffice to say that the trailer is dark, humorous, satirical and tense in all the best ways. The writing and acting are back in full force from the first game, and the gameplay looks just as enjoyable too. In truth, this title is the game, from E3, I'm most looking forward to playing, yet its trailer did not win out. So who did?
#1: The Evil Within 2
Remember what I said earlier, about a great trailer having a great song enhances it two fold? Well that's the case with The Evil Within 2. The song is a cover of Duran Duran's Ordinary World, done by The Hit House. The song hasn't been officially released, so many videos of the song are found by simply searching "Evil Within 2 Trailer Song" and, to a lesser extent, "The Hit House Ordinary World." It sets a haunting, beautiful, tone for the overall bizarre and freaky trailer. A bit of gameplay is shown at the start (with the full trailer), though not nearly as much as Wolfenstein II. Still, its cinematic presentation was top notch, and no other game this year managed to show this level of direction and quality. Despite Bethesda doing the worst at this year's E3, it's surprising that they had two of the best trailers. Just goes to show how much people don't like paid mods.
So what do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Are there games you think are more deserving of being on the list? Let us know!