Press Start on Hype: A Guide to the Best Video Game Trailers 

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Lalaine_Capucion
edited May 16 in Gaming

In the dynamic world of video games, trailers serve as far more than mere previews. These short, potent bursts of footage are a game's first impression—its calling card to a worldwide audience. They can inspire, enthrall, and create a sense of breathless anticipation that catapults a game to blockbuster success. 

Elements of the Best Video Game Trailers 

A trailer is more than just a collection of gameplay clips. It needs to tell a story and convey the essence of the game. Stunning visuals are a cornerstone; whether showcasing in-engine footage or artfully rendered cinematics, they transport viewers into the world of the game, immersing them in its unique atmosphere.  Watching these trailers in high definition on large premium-quality screens like Acer’s 31.5" Predator XB3 Gaming Monitor, which supports PlayStation 5 and Xbox gaming consoles, elevates the viewing experience.  

Evocative music plays a similarly crucial role—a pulse-pounding orchestral score or a haunting melody amplifies the visuals and has an impact on the emotional experience, leaving a lasting impression.   

Great trailers tease an intriguing narrative, whether through dialogue, action sequences, or a captivating mood. They generate questions, spark intrigue, and give us a reason to care about the game's world and its inhabitants. Pacing and seamless editing are essential, ensuring the trailer builds anticipation, highlights key moments, and maintains an engaging momentum throughout. Lastly, a call to action—directly stated or implied—is crucial to inspire the viewer to pre-order, make a wishlist, or simply follow for more information, keeping the game at the forefront of their mind. 

Trailers as Marketing Powerhouses 

The third version of Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer has racked up 38 million views on YouTube, and with more than 61 million copies sold so far, it’s one of the best-selling games of all time. This illustrates how well-made video game trailers can be potent marketing tools. Their success hinges on their ability to generate buzz within the gaming community—the most impactful trailers go viral, fueling discussions, reactions, and contagious excitement long before a game even hits shelves.  

Well-promoted trailers permeate gaming news sites, social media channels, and major gaming events, reaching a wide audience that extends beyond core fans, potentially converting newcomers and casual players. A well-received trailer can translate into significant pre-order numbers, securing initial financial success.  

The Best of the Best: Iconic Video Game Trailers 

Let’s look at some of the best video game trailers that had fans buzzing well before the game’s launch. Here are just a few examples, notable for their view counts, critical acclaim, or enduring cultural impact. 

God of War Ragnarök

Over the course of three cinematic minutes, the God of War Ragnarök trailer depicts the father-and-son team of Kratos and Atreus facing formidable foes and cataclysmic events as the prophesied Ragnarök threatens to destroy the realms. Standout moments included battles against mythological beasts, the thrilling appearance of gods, and tense exchanges between Kratos and Atreus. 

The Ragnarök trailer garnered widespread critical praise for its impressive visuals, emotional storytelling between father and son, and seamless blend of massive action set pieces with more intimate, dramatic character moments. Besides having more than 19 million views on YouTube, the trailer has received multiple accolades. They include a win in the Game Video – Trailer category at the 2023 NYX Game Awards and a nomination for Best Video Game Trailer at the 2023 Golden Trailer Awards.  

Fortnite Battle Royale Chapter 5 

The trailer for Fortnite Battle Royale Chapter 5 showcases the new gameplay, locations, and storyline that players could expect. It features intense gun fights atop a moving train, plus new vehicle stunts and moddable weapons. A major highlight is the introduction of a large variety of points of interest (POIs) on an environmentally diverse island. The trailer has a vibrant and energetic visual style that captures the game’s distinct look. 

The Fortnite franchise has a history of recognition in the gaming industry. On YouTube, this Fortnite trailer has been a massive hit, amassing more than 11 million views. This level of engagement underscores the anticipation and excitement surrounding Fortnite Battle Royale Chapter 5.  

Elden Ring 

The Elden Ring overview trailer features sweeping shots of a medieval fantasy world filled with castles, craggy landscapes, and colossal creatures. The footage highlights the game's punishingly difficult melee combat against fearsome foes like dragons, giants, and horrifying bosses. It also teases the ability to summon spirit allies and traverse the world's open environments on horseback. The dark, gritty visuals and brooding musical score reflect the series' signature bleak atmosphere. 

On YouTube, the game’s trailers have been a massive hit. In its first 60 days of release, Elden Ring became one of YouTube’s biggest ever gaming launches, seeing well over 3 billion combined video views; the story trailer alone has close to 7.7 million views. Meanwhile, the live action trailer, featuring actress Ming Na Wen, earned a Best Video Game Trailer nomination at the 2022 Golden Trailer Awards

Minecraft 

The official Minecraft trailer gave players their first look at the iconic sandbox game's bright, blocky world in 2011. It highlights the game's core gameplay loop—chopping down trees, mining resources, crafting tools and structures. The trailer showcases Minecraft's distinctive visual style with its vibrant colors and chunky voxel graphics. It depicts players exploring vast wilderness landscapes filled with mountains, forests, and caves teeming with enemies to battle. The trailer also displays Minecraft's building aspects, showing players constructing impressive structures brick-by-brick. 

On YouTube, the official Minecraft trailer has been a massive hit, with upwards of 169 million views. More impressively, all the game’s videos have reached a total of 1 trillion views on the platform. 

Grand Theft Auto VI 

The first official trailer for Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto VI (GTA 6) has made unprecedented waves in the gaming community. Within 24 hours of launch in December 2023, the GTA 6 trailer had already set three Guinness World Records, putting it up there among the best video game trailers: 

  • Video game reveal on YouTube with the highest number of views in 24 hours (90,421,491). 
  • Video game trailer on YouTube with the highest number of likes in the first 24 hours (8.9 million). 
  • Most viewed non-music YouTube video in 24 hours. 

The GTA 6 trailer takes us back to the sprawling, open-world environment of Vice City, and introduces Lucia, the GTA series’ first female protagonist since 1999. It gives glimpses of the nefarious, colorful criminal underworld with fast cars, high-stakes heists, and a diverse cast of characters. The game is scheduled for release in April 2025, and we can look forward to additional trailers from Rockstar Games. In the meantime, you might want to consider beefing up your gaming system with powerful machines like Acer’s top-of-the-line Predator Triton 17 X Gaming Laptop. It features high specs, including an Intel Core i9-13900HX processor with 24 cores, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 video card, and 64 GB DDR5 SDRAM, for smooth and immersive gameplay. 

In a world where attention spans are short and options endless, a great trailer is one of the decisive weapons in a game's arsenal.  As virtual worlds become more expansive and development budgets rise, we can expect trailers to become ever more cinematic and awe-inspiring, pushing the boundaries of entertainment marketing. 

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About Lalaine Capucion: Lalaine has been working as a freelance writer and editor for more than 12 years, focusing on lifestyle, travel, and wellness. When she isn’t writing, she's most likely curled up with a good book or trying out a new recipe in the kitchen. She lives in Metro Manila, Philippines. 

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