As we wind down the year, the video games that released in 2017 are deservedly being honored for their achievements in expanding the gaming experience. There is one part of the process, however, that often gets neglected. Those nifty little 2-3 (sometimes 8) minute trailers that get us hyped up for the upcoming games. Today, we honor the trailers that surprised and astounded us in 2017.
Note: The following list is based solely on the trailers, not on how the game was when it released. I’ve also ranked the trailers 10-1, with number 1 being the best. Now, let’s get to it!
Call of Duty has a knack for creating fun and inventive trailers, especially when they were set in the distant future. However, few have had as much heart as the one Sledgehammer Games created for WWII. In just 2 minutes, they found a way to capture the raw brutality that was World War II. CoD hasn’t always been known for their inspired storytelling, but this trailer had us all in awe and prepared us for a much darker Call of Duty experience.
9. Skull and Bones E3 2017 Announcement Trailer
Debuted during Ubisoft’s E3 2017 Presentation, the Skull and Bones trailer is a gorgeous cinematic short that tells the story of a pirate crew on the hunt for blood and gold. Just when they think they’ve won, though, the crew is ambushed by a group of rival pirates, hell-bent on sending them to Davy Jones’ Locker. The piece de resistance of this trailer is the “after-credits” scene where Ubisoft wisely included the dreaded Kraken! This trailer was the toast of Ubisoft’s E3 Presentation and, after re-watching it over and over, it’s not hard to see why.
8. Anthem Official Gameplay Reveal
EA’s answer to Activision’s Destiny was the talk of the town in June when it main evented Microsoft’s Xbox One X E3 2017 Presentation. For a title none of us knew much about, EA showed us a game with jaw-dropping first-person interactions that seamlessly transitioned to a third-person shooter. What makes this trailer that much better is we were treated to actual gameplay footage, while simulating what it would be like to play with friends. Only time will tell if Bioware’s Anthem will actually rival Bungie’s Destiny, but for 7 minutes we got inspired gameplay and memorable environments to get us excited for its potential.
7. Detroit: Become Human E3 2017 Trailer & PGW 2017 Trailer
The team at QuanticDream dazzled us in 2016 with their first Detroit: Become Human trailer; bringing us to a rooftop hostage situation that only a police android could settle. 2017 capitalized on that momentum by giving us two trailers that showed just how unique this game is going to be when it eventually releases. The first, at E3 2017, showed us the revolution that Marcus, a rebel android, was starting and how his actions seemingly connect all the other stories together. A few months later, at PGW 2017, we were allowed to experience the story of Kara and Alice and their escape from Alice’s abusive father. Both trailers brought exceptional graphics, emotional grit, and enticing gameplay that we couldn’t pick one trailer over the other. They both deserve to make this list, as they both brought the excitement level for this game to a fever pitch.
6. Star Wars: Battlefront II Reveal Trailer
When gamers feel scorned, they tend to want to burn all ties with the game/studio that disappointed them. This is why it’s important to re-state that this list is not about how good the game was when it came out. Sure, many gamers have sworn off EA because of false-promises and microtransactions, but none of that matters in this list. This list is about the trailers that wow’d and amazed us into wanting to purchase the studio’s game. That’s something EA/DICE nailed with the Battlefront II Reveal Trailer, which could explain some of the scorn.
The trailer gave us our first look into the Battlefront II story mode, while introducing an interesting twist. We were playing as members of the Empire who just witness the 2nd Death Star be destroyed. Making it that much more interesting, this trailer even hinted at the idea that we could experience what happened between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. This was the story mode we always wished for in the first Battlefront and EA/DICE wanted to make sure we got it. The execution of the game may not have been all that great but, you have to give credit where it’s due, they made a damn good trailer.
5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Nintendo Switch Presentation
It’s easy to forget this trailer, since it came out in the beginning of 2017 during the Nintendo Switch Presentation, but this was by far my favorite trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It starts off at a delicate pace, walking us through the various environments we would experience on this new journey through Hyrule. Then, it crescendos to an explosive charge, as it blazes through what would become a captivating story.
This was also the first trailer to introduce voice acting for multiple characters in a Legend of Zelda game. Breath of the Wild earned a ton of accolades for its inspired gameplay, enormous map, and heartfelt storytelling, but it’s this trailer that set the tone and got us in shape for a game unlike any other. For these reasons, it cracks our Top 5 of the Best Video Game Trailers of 2017.
4. God of War - E3 2017 Be A Warrior: PS4 Gameplay Trailer
I love how Sony continues to push the envelope each time they show a God of War trailer and the E3 2017 trailer is no different. God of War has always been about the lore and implanting you within the world of mythology to explore and cause mass destruction. What makes these trailers even better is that Norse mythology isn’t as well-known as Greek. So, each time we get transported to these trailers we’re witnessing enough of the Norse mythology to pique our interests for this game. With that in mind, the trailer shown at this year’s E3 was chalk-full of Norse creatures like the giant World Serpent, Yetis, Dwarves, and plenty of demons. The added pull of this trailer stemmed from the interactions with Kratos and Atreus. That, along with the action, drama, and the humor infused into this trailer make it one of the best to come out in 2017 and top game for 2018.
3. Beyond Good and Evil 2 E3 2017 Announcement Trailer
If you knew Ubisoft was going to debut a trailer for Beyond Good and Evil 2 at E3 2017, you either read the company email or you’re psychic...If the latter is the case I have a lot of questions. The point is, very few could’ve seen a Beyond Good and Evil 2 trailer coming, but what made it worthwhile was that it did not disappoint. Ubisoft closed out their presentation with an explosive trailer for the BGE prequel that introduced memorable characters, like Knox and Shani, escaping in an epic futuristic car chase from Zhou Yuzhu to deliver a map to their captain, Dakini. The whole cinematic experience was captivating, breathtaking, and jaw-dropping, everything you’d want out of trailer you didn’t see coming.
2. Marvel’s Spider-Man E3 2017 Trailer
To put it in meal terms, last year’s Insomniac Games Spider-Man reveal was a snack compared to the full-course meal that Sony delivered to us during E3 2017. The 8-minute trailer gave us our first look into the gameplay and picturesque skyline of New York City, where our favorite webslinger patrols. For some viewers 8 minutes may seem excessive, but this one was so enthralling you never wanted it to end. We got various web shooters, stealth takedowns, all-out brawls, a boss fight, web-slinging through New York, and even First-Person shots. The only thing that could’ve made it better was an official release date. Nevertheless, this trailer has us on our feet as Insomniac Games is doing our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man proud with this game.
Honorable Mentions: Before we get to the top spot, here are some honorable mentions of trailers that didn’t quite crack the top 10. Click the title to see the trailer.
Super Mario Odyssey - Catchy song + Possession Body Inhabiting + Untraveled Environments = “Let’s-A-Go!”
Assassin’s Creed: Origins - The actions and the cinematic graphics are awesome, but it’s all about Leonard Cohen’s “You Want It Darker”.
Death Stranding - I still don’t believe this is a game, but is instead a simulation of what’s going on in the mind of Hideo Kojima. I don’t understand any of it and yet I want to see more.
Extinction - This epic trailer reminded me of a more colorful Attack on Titan. I doubt our main character will transform into an Orc, though. Wouldn’t that be a twist?!
Shadow of the Colossus - I admittedly squealed like a 4 year old girl on Christmas when I saw this trailer. I never saw it coming, but I can’t wait to re-live Shadow of the Colossus in all its updated glory.
The Last of Us Part II - This trailer may have broke the internet due to its intense violence. While that’s pretty standard with The Last of Us, who the hell were those people?!
The Evil Within 2 - Bethesda managed to weave together the entire plot of this game into a 3 minute trailer to the tune of a creepy version of Duran Duran’s Ordinary World and it’s sensational.
Destiny 2 - This cinematic trailer offers up our first look at Ghaul and a plot that left us on the edge of our seats.
Destiny 2 Reveal Trailer - This trailer finally gave the Destiny characters some personality and it was well worth the wait.
Days Gone E3 2017 Trailer - Two Words. Zombie Bear.
1. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus E3 2017 Trailer
Out of all the trailers that released in 2017, Bethesda took home the prize for the Best Video Game Trailer of 2017 with their Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus trailer from their presentation at E3 2017. While all the trailers on this list, and in Honorable Mention, were great few were as brilliant as this trailer was. Where other trailers utilized cinematic scenes that you likely weren’t going to witness in-game, Bethesda spent their time and money on original, creative commercials and moved on to give us the gift of in-game footage. The trailer, itself, showed just how intense, humorous, and inventive this game was going to be, while tying in fascinating shots of cinematography found only in Oscar-nominated movies. In 6 minutes of an 8 and a half minute trailer, we saw everything we needed to see to know that Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus was going to be something special. That’s why it tops our list of Top 10 Video Game Trailers of 2017!
Know of another trailer that should make our list? Share it with us and your own Top 10 list @Cinelinx!