The Game Awards 2021 was a stellar night for new game reveals, announcements, and updates. In the 3 and a half hour runtime, it’s fair to say that about 80% of the show consisted of trailers and subsequent interviews about those trailers. There were so many “World Premiere”s, viewers – and even The Game Awards – often forgot that this was actually an awards show.
Congratulations and shout outs to all the winners and nominees. You deserve all the praise and I hope you get more time to shine in the limelight in the future. You can read more about how and why The Game Awards needs to change in our EIC Jordan Maison’s excellent editorial, here.
That’s not what this article is about, though. This is a list of the Top 10 Best Trailers revealed at The Game Awards. The criteria to make this list were as such:
- Shock value
- Incredible Visuals
- Actually be a game (Sorry Halo series & Sonic 2 movie – both were great)
- Quality of Story
- Gameplay – top priority
So without further ado, let’s get to the Pre-List! (If The Game Awards and seemingly every reveal show can have a Pre-show, I can have a Pre-List.)
The Pre-List – Tunic
It’s an absolute shame that this Tunic trailer was on The Game Awards Pre-Show because it was so damn good. It was definitely good enough to be on the main show. Finji brought us a brand new look at one of my most anticipated games of 2022 in Tunic. It showed off new enemies, puzzles, features, and the beautiful landscape our Fox hero will journey through. It’s so reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda, but still manages to make the genre its own. Tunic is going to be 2022’s Death’s Door and I can’t wait for it.
Release Date: March 16, 2022 for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
Now, on to the Top 10 list of trailers revealed during the main The Game Awards show.
10. Alan Wake 2
For years, fans of the original Alan Wake game have yearned for Remedy to come out with a new mystery for the iconic novelist to solve. At The Game Awards, fans finally had their prayers answered in the form of a cinematic announcement trailer. While it didn’t appear to provide much in terms of context, it did feature stunning visuals including that of Alan Wake and tease that “this story is a monster”. The visuals and shock value alone were enough to crack out list.
Release Date: 2023
9. Dune: Spice Wars
Historically, when a blockbuster movie comes out, studios commission developers to create a game based on or around the movie. It’s usually narrative & combat driven to immerse fans in this world while making more money off of a particular intellectual property. That said, what Dune: Spice Wars is doing seems to be completely different and I’m all for it.
Dune: Spice Wars won’t be your run-of-the-mill narrative-driven movie to video game experience. Rather, it’s set to be a 4X Real-Time Strategy Game, which when you think about it really makes a lot of sense for the setting in which this game is in. I love that.
Even if I wasn’t contractually obligated to put this game on the list because our EIC Jordan Maison is such a huge Dune fan, the visuals of the trailer, the shock value, and the fact that this game is going in a different direction than its predecessors would’ve been enough to make this list on its own right.
Release Date: Early Access 2022
8. Elden Ring
FromSoftware and Bandai Namco are sure making February difficult. In a month that has Horizon: Forbidden West, Destiny 2: The Witch Queen, Sifu, and Dying Light 2, Elden Ring continues to deliver incredible gameplay trailers and content. One thing they hadn’t really shown was a Story Trailer…until The Game Awards and it absolutely delivered.
The Story Trailer for Elden Ring featured incredibly impressive scenes and sequences that left my jaw hanging throughout the near 4-minute trailer. It felt so reminiscent of a more gothic Lord of the Rings, especially with the wraith-like enemies speeding through trees and the invasion of the castle by the glowing tree. I just couldn’t get enough of that trailer.
Elden Ring continues to look absolutely sensational and may be the game that earns the top prize at next year’s The Game Awards.
Release Date: February 25, 2022 for PS5|PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC
7. Warhammer 40K: Space Marine II
I won’t blow smoke or make it seem like I know anything about Warhammer, because frankly I don’t. My brother has tried to explain it to me and…it’s a lot. Warhammer has one of the richest lore in all of gaming history and it’s a small wonder why it has as big of a following as it does.
While I’ve never gotten into the games, the Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine II announcement trailer had me really considering diving into the Warhammer waters, because my goodness was it epic. The announcement trailer saw a horde of monsters – I assume they’re a clan of some sorts – invading a city that seemed ill-equip to deal with them. That is, until three Space Marines dropped in, cleared house, and looked upon the city. They even briefly showed a bit of gameplay, which was an added bonus. It did its job and got me VERY intrigued to play this Space Marine sequel.
Release Date: TBA for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC
6. A Plague Tale: Requiem
I am in awe of the gameplay trailer for A Plague Tale: Requiem. Where the first game was set within the confines of a very dark and foreboding landscape, Requiem showed signs of vibrancy with new cities and lands brimming with life and color. Yet, with all its beauty the trailer still felt just as gripping and tense as it did in the initial game of the series.
What also made this trailer so good was the fact that it was played behind Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem “Requiem”, a poem that really sets the tone of things to come. Between the gameplay, visuals, and the quality of the story, the A Plague Tale: Requiem Gameplay Trailer was definitely a highlight of the night and worthy of this list.
Release Date: 2022 for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC
5. Sonic Frontiers
Open. World. Sonic. Game. This is everything Sonic fans have been wanting for a looong time. That and another 2D game, but SEGA seems to be all about progress and moving the needle forward right now. Hence why we have a seemingly open-world Sonic the Hedgehog game on the way.
This trailer did an exceptional job of really laying out the scope of Sonic Frontiers. It made it feel like the entire world was your course and that for once Sonic was the prey. From the start of the trailer, he was on the run from some unseen force. Then again later he was confronted with a Colossus of an enemy. We obviously don’t know much more at this time, but Sonic Frontiers seems more than any Sonic fan could’ve possibly imagined and I’m so excited to experience it.
Release Date: Holiday 2022
Before The Game Awards, Somerville wasn’t on my radar at all. After their latest trailer, it is the game I’ve probably done the most research on. That’s how fascinated by it I am.
One thing that intrigues me is its familiar art-style. The art-style reminds me of two incredible indie games Inside and Limbo, two games the co-founders of developer Jumpship worked on at Playdead.
On top of the gorgeous art-style is a gameplay experience that looks visceral and intense. The story goes that a large-scale invasion causes the main protagonist to make their family whole again. It looks like there will be a lot of running and lot of flying in space ships to make that all possible. Sign me the hell up for that.
Release Date: 2022
3. ARC Raiders
Embark brought a brand-new cooperative third-person shooter to The Game Awards called ARC Raiders. This free-to-play game puts you on the battlefield to fight against ruthless machines falling from space. If that doesn’t sound like a good time, I don’t know what does.
This was ARC Raiders debut and what a debut it was. Featuring a mix of cinematic and gameplay sequences, players got to witness what it would feel like to be on the battlefield, taking on these intimidating mechs. There wasn’t much more in terms of context as to the how and why these mechs were invading, but the gameplay was enough to get me intrigued.
It’s unclear how great ARC Raiders will wind up being, but it made one hell of a first impression.
Release Date: 2022 for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Steam, Epic Games Store, and GeForce Now
Nightingale was without a doubt mine and a lot of members of the Cinelinx family’s favorite reveals during The Game Awards. The debut trailer showed off a Gaslamp fantasy set within the lands of the Fae. Pretty quickly into the trailer, we discovered that these mysterious lands are inhabited by loads of horrific and terrifying monsters.
What especially appealed to us is how ambitious Nightingale looks. It looks every bit like a first-person shooter, but with immersive crafting options to create your own settlements, similar to that of Fallout. What sets it apart even further are the different realms players will be able to explore. Having a variety of places, worlds, enemies, loot, exploration, and possibilities is just so cool! The trailer just made Nightingale feel limitless. I cannot wait!
Release Date: 2022 for PC only
1. Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II
A few years ago, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II was first introduced at The Game Awards in a stunning cinematic reveal. So, it was only right that the first gameplay shown would also be at The Game Awards and good lord…we weren’t ready.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II has been one of the most anticipated games for Xbox players for years now. This was the first gameplay to be shown, so expectations had to be high and they lived up to them with a stellar showing. The trailer showed Senua taking on a giant. A seemingly invincible giant. The sequences of this battle were so evocative and enthralling, as these brave warriors took on the giant with fire-tipped spears. At times, the field of vision would get blocked by clouds of dust, which only enhanced the intense situation going on.
I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire 6-minute trailer. I didn’t know what would happen next, what this giant would do. So when it ended with something that sounded like the giant was pleading with Senua for help, despite being ruthlessly attacked over and over…I was left breathless, but ready for more.
The fact that there was an entire awards ceremony (kinda) was a bit daunting because there was no way any of the other trailers and announcements would’ve been able to hold a candle to Senua’s Song: Hellblade II. While all of the others were amazing, THIS was the champion of the night and I gotta find me an Xbox Series X before this game comes out.
Release Date: TBA for Xbox Series X|S, PC, and Xbox Cloud Gaming
Honorable Mentions: Steelrising, Lord of the Rings: Gollum, Destiny 2: The Witch Queen, Tchia, Alan Wake II, Homeworld 3, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, Star Wars Eclipse, Babylon’s Fall, Dying Light 2, PC Game Pass…
Which game reveal was your favorite? Let us know!
Read about the rumored games that didn’t make it to the show, here.