I’ve been professionally writing about the game, film, and tech industries for seven years. With a degree in 3D graphics for game art and design, I have seen, studied, and experienced every aspect of the 2D and 3D video game industry, and am currently working on the iOS and Android game, Jurojin. For this list I assembled what I feel are the twenty currently most impressive game trailers for the PS4 and Xbox One mainly based on how exciting they are to watch, but also how much promise they show for their game.
I only allowed one trailer per game series, banned a few older but applicable games like Diablo III, and I still had to painfully cut dozens of titles from my initial list. If there are any trailers you think were worthy of making this list – or making it higher on the list – then please share your favorite videos with us and our community on our Facebook page and our ACR Twitter. If this list makes you nostalgic of previous generations of gaming then I urge you to scroll through my Top 100 Most Influential Video Games of All Time list. Or, if these videos inspire you to finally decide you want to pursue a career in the game industry, then you should read my Top 20 Most Essential Software for Artists and Designers list! Enjoy!
Full disclosure: I’ve worked at Destructoid since its launch in 2006, and thanks to our site’s success over the past seven years it was unavoidable that some of these games’ trailers and/or reviews use Destructoid quotes in them. It in no way affected my choosing or ranking of any game on the list.
20. Sunset Overdrive
The viral Futurama meme expression “shut up and take my money” is certainly applicable here. If you’re wondering exactly what the heck you just watched and how much of it you can expect to enjoy as in-game experiences, this Q&A with Insomniac Games CEO Ted Price has all the right answers to all the questions on your mind. Imagine some variation of a persistently online city that changes from user feedback and demands for a FPS experience that might change drastically from one week to the next depending on the frequently changing desires of its players.
19. Halo 5
With Bungie moving on from their beloved Halo series – and passing along the torch to the specially created 343 Industries studio to carry on with the Halo games – the world is eagerly awaiting to see where Master Chief is headed to next. This trailer promises that huge changes are coming to the game series, and even if it didn’t have Master Chief in it this trailer would still rank on our list for setting up so much hype with so many polygons and pixels despite revealing so few details.
18. Dead Rising 3
Readers beware. This trailer contains very NSFW mature audio:
Okay, look. I don’t like the whole zombie fad of the past decade. There are two or three stories out there that do them the justice they’ve deserved since day one of their cultural re-explosion in the early 2000s, but 99% of zombie entertainment only halfway tries to make zombies more complex and interesting than they are. All we really need is a game that lets us beat the brains out of countless undead, and we can thank the Dead Rising series for simply giving us exactly what we want. I only wish the series started a few years earlier than its Xbox 360 debut, and that the zombie fad would finally find a cure. But trailers like this get even people like me hooked.
Next gen environments. Next gen characters. Next gen facial animations. Next gen action. Next gen awesome. Next gen must buy game. I know the “how can games get any better than this?!” expression has been laughably too short sighted each generation it’s been said in the past, but at this point I’ve got to admit that by PS5 or PS6 we’re likely to start hitting some major graphical ceilings. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were a little light on next generation knockouts at launch, but with games like this coming out in a few months, why wait to buy one?
16. The Evil Within
It’s not too often we get a new survival horror game, let alone a really good one. New horror titles are always taken with a large dose of skepticism given how many duds and mediocre games in the past have been released without changing or expanding the genre much, but it’s hard not to get excited after watching this TGS 2013 trailer for The Evil Within. Don’t get me wrong, I totally won’t play it even if it gets good reviews; you guys can enjoy your sleepless nights on your own. Alone. In the dark. Did you hear that?
15. Ryse: Son of Rome
If this gameplay trailer is a sign of what’s to come with next generation consoles, then the game industry will continue to prosper. The other trailers for this game are every bit as cinematic and striking as any Roman era film trailer in existence, but they didn’t make the cut because of how great of a preview this video is of Xbox One’s future. It’s not up for debate whether the God of War series was a success in the past, and this Ryse trailer proves there’s still plenty of war combat worth exploring. The new consoles might be lacking in quantity of launch exclusives compared to previous consoles, but clearly not in quality of games. Ryse has been hit with an abundance of bad game reviews so far, but when it comes to its trailer there’s not much to critique.
14. Watch Dogs
Whether this is an impressive cyber security thriller or just another crumby wannabe like the TV show, Person of Interest, is still a little hard to predict. Given its initial infographic E3 trailer and the one you see above, I’m starting to let myself get excited that it might aim for lofty goals and actually reach most of them. Here’s a PS4 gameplay trailer showing next gen footage from Ubisoft Montreal.
13. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
Sit down and listen to Captain Blackbeard’s pirate tale as he tells his crew the story of what players can expect to experience in the game they’re about to play. There are a few games for every console that are must-play titles regardless of your genre preferences, and with a trailer like this I think the PS4 and Xbox One found their first. The fact that it released slightly earlier for PS3 and Xbox 360 doesn’t hinder it one bit; when you’re playing one of the best games of the year, would you rather be playing it on old machines or getting the very most out of it?
This is the reveal trailer from Bungie for their first game after leaving the Halo series behind to pursue new projects. Given their resume and track record they didn’t even need to blow us away to get us interested, but they did anyways. This moon trailer is commanding statement that they’ve got a lot more energy and ideas left in their studio, and their skill and style looks like it’s only getting better. I can’t wait to see if they repeat their levels of success within the industry.
11. Call of Duty: Ghosts
There’s not much left on this planet for the Call of Duty series to accomplish in the FPS genre. So, naturally, the trailer for their new game, Ghosts, starts off in space. Mario games proved that players were willing to replay the same story every few years if the gameplay changed a little. Call of Duty games proved that players were willing to replay the same gameplay every year if the story changed a little. To each his own, and I’m sure in another decade we’ll still have a new Mario game and a new Call of Duty game with an upcoming release date. While the Mario platformer series – even not including the many spinoff series – might still be the king of sales, the Call of Duty series has already entered the top 10 best selling video game franchises list, and has earned half the money Mario has despite being only a third of his age.