Features & News

End of Year 2014: Best Trailer

December 15, 2014, Author: The TIMJ Team

Welcome to the first of eleven daily ‘End of Year’ pieces from TIMJ, where in each, we discuss our favourite things of 2014 from carefully selected categories.

First up is ‘Best Trailer’. Which visual masterpieces impressed our team the most?

Andy Corrigan (Editor in Chief) – Street Fighter V Announcement ‘Rise Up’

My favourite trailer this year was released just last week: the announcement of Street Fighter V. I’m not even referring to the full gameplay trailer, which is also great, obviously. Instead, I’m talking about the ‘Rise Up’ trailer, made up mostly of footage from the Street Fighter 25th Anniversary Documentary, glimpses of the new game, and a stirring, inspirational voice-over that encourages us to discover that the limits we impose ourselves are not real.

I’ve got the hairs standing on the back of my neck just thinking about it. Just roll the damn film:

Runners Up: Bloodborne, The Witcher 3

Jade Sayers (Staff Writer) – Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Shameful secret time: apart from the PS Vita version, I’ve never played an Uncharted game. This trailer has changed all of that, and now I find myself looking ahead to schedule in some time to play the PS3 iterations before Uncharted 4‘s 2015 release.

This trailer is everything I want next-gen gaming to be, with its utterly unreal graphics and perfect rendering. Sure, the footage in the trailer might only be cut-scenes, but it’s enough to showcase exactly what the game is about, and definitely enough to get some excitement pumping. Drake’s final adventure is shaping up to be his greatest yet, with the release of gameplay footage this week proving that. Everything Naughty Dog touches lately turns to gold, so here’s hoping Uncharted 4 isn’t the exception.

Runners Up: Persona 5, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

Jonn Blanchard (Staff Writer) – Dead Island 2

For me, the best trailer this year was for Dead Island 2.

Whilst we’re inundated at the moment (and have been for a while) with zombie titles, the trailer for Dead Island 2 manages to mix a combination of action and humour that makes me happy in a way only my other favourite zombie game, Dead Rising, has managed.

The trailer for the original was a much more serious, sombre affair, which the new one manages to take a sly dig at in a nice little hat tip to the original creators, Techland from new boys Yager. The image of the picture-perfect poser checking everything about his appearance, hiding some nasty looking bite wounds, then jogging along completely oblivious to the carnage unfolding behind him is brilliant, and tells a story all on its own.

Then the zombie rot starts to set in and his perfection starts falling away until he’s finally killed and the expensive trainers we see him cleaning at the beginning are taken. Most of all, and most importantly, the trailer makes me want to actually play this game, which is surely the whole reason for trailers existing at all? I want to play in this world.

Runners Up: No Man’s Sky, Alien: Isolation

James Sheppard (Reviews Editor) – The Division

Cinematic trailers have often duped us with promises of photorealistic graphics, movie-like action and raw emotion in upcoming games, of which are rarely fulfilled. Dead Island is an unforgettable example of this. We know this, yet it’s still all too easy to fawn over the newest cinematic masterpieces in anticipation of upcoming titles. I’ll shamelessly admit I was doing exactly that when Ubisoft released The Division’s trailer at this year’s E3.

In the feature, timelapses across New York City showing its downfall are accompanied by a swelling, heartstring-tugging score whilst a narrator speaks of a tragedy. The touch of subtlety with which the game’s events are conveyed are what clinches the deal. Rather than directly witnessing widespread panic, death and destruction, the video shows doors being boarded up and the city turning derelict, whilst screams and crying pierce the air.

I’m under no illusion that The Division is actually going to be a masterstroke of emotional storytelling. Being an online multiplayer game, I think griefers and bratty children shouting racist slurs are going to put a stop to any chance of that. Yet viewed independently, the trailer is a compelling piece of entertainment in its own right.

Runners Up: Zelda Wii U gameplay footage, No Man’s Sky E3 2014

Dan Moore (Staff Writer) – Halo: Master Chief Collection

Easily, this is the trailer for Halo: Master Chief Collection, or more specifically, the sections that feature Halo 2: Anniversary. It makes it hard to believe that game is ten years old, showing how to do remasters the right way. We certainly know from experience that trailers can show one thing with the actual game being totally different, and this is true with MCC to an extent, but as a way to get fans pumped for the release, boy, does this trailer hit all the marks.

Everything has been remade, the visuals, the audio, every bit has had a makeover and it shows that 343 really know how to give fans what they want, without radically changing the thing they loved. It even manages to cram bits of all four games into its time limit, while still showing off how good Halo 2 looks compared to its new brethren in 3 and 4. Fantastic trailer.

Shame about those online woes, though…

Runners Up: Destiny, Rise of the Tomb Raider

Andy Buick (Features Editor) – No Man’s Sky

No Man’s Sky gets this from me, purely due to the impossible scale of it all. The trailer suggests endless exploration and possibilities, and the seamless transition from space to landing on the different planets gives a level of immersion I’ve not seen in this sort of game. Of course, there’s still a lot to be seen but the promise is vast.

Runners Up: Uncharted 4, Batman: Arkham Knight

Josué Cardona (Staff Writer) – Batman: Arkham Knight

The Arkham Knight trailer was one of the first that took a franchise I knew very well and showed me what a “next-gen” version could be. The cinematic trailer made every detail look incredible and the potential of the new Batmobile gameplay made it one of my most anticipated games of the year. It is now my most anticipated game of 2015, but all the footage we’ve seen since proved that the original trailer was representative of what the final product will be. Incredible.

Runners Up: No Man’s Sky; Smash Bros. Mega Man reveal

Jasper Pickering (Staff Writer) – Zelda Wii U

Trailers can be misleading, hyperbolical snapshots of a much wider experience. Where a bad trailer will punctuate its mediocrity with too-good-to-be-true visuals and lack of gameplay, a good trailer will do the opposite: a realistic representation of its aesthetic and just enough of a glimpse into its world without giving too much away.

My favourite trailer of 2014 was the E3 announcement of The Legend of Zelda Wii U.

Nintendo really know how to announce a game with just the right level of detail, without giving too much away. From the trailer, all we saw was a wide-shot of (what we can hope to be) a tiny part of Hyrule, the return of Epona, a kick-ass bow and arrow and Link’s new character design. Link has had more makeovers than a Sandra Bullock film and they have had… mixed responses. I for one am happy with the new look, which has seemed to find a middle ground between ‘chibi-Link’ from Wind Waker and ‘normal’ Link from Ocarina in a way much better than Skyward Sword ever did.

‘Returning to its roots’ is something Nintendo is infamous for doing, but in this case, it is more than welcome.

Runners Up: Volume, Assassin’s Creed: Unity

Matt Best (Staff Writer) – Wolfenstein: The New Order

My favourite trailers for 2014 for would have to be those released in the lead up to Wolfenstein: The New Order. With well-known classics being remastered in German, you found yourself thinking ‘I know that song, what is it’. Listening to a German version of ‘The House of the Rising Sun’ as Nazis moved through an occupied Paris gave us a sense of the foreboding of what was to come.

However, the ‘Boom Boom’ trailer – admittedly my favourite of the series – not only introduced us to the reimagined Wolfenstein universe with a thumping beat, but also with a good sense of humour and chaos. I found the trailers set the tone for a good old-fashioned FPS that didn’t take itself too seriously.

Runners Up: Dead Island 2, P.T.

Matt Parker (News Editor) – No Man’s Sky

Is this even a contest? It’s got to be ‘No Man’s Sky‘. No other trailer has ever shown so much yet shown so little.

It’s clear that we’ll be able to travel around an entire universe (say that out loud) but the whys, hows and whos are still a bit up in the air. It’s testament to the trailer that despite not having a clue as to how the game plays or what I’ll actually be doing, this has me hyped.

All aboard the interstellar, faster than light, warp speed 11, hype spaceship! Choo, choo!*

*In space, no one can hear you get hyped…

Runners Up: Super Smash Bros, Persona 5