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If you want to sell games in the $91 billion-and-growing global market, you really need a great trailer.
This year was full of awesome examples of the sometimes under-appreciated video game medium, and cutting the list of best trailers down to a dozen proved tricky. But the selection below (presented in no particular order) hopefully captures the thrill of being a gamer in 2015, reminding us of what a great hobby we’ve chosen to embrace.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
If anyone wasn’t already sold on CD Projekt Red’s incredible role-playing game, this stunning cinematic launch trailer from Hungary’s Digic Pictures would surely tip them over the edge. It also whets the appetite for the Witcher feature-film project coming in 2017 from celebrated Polish creative studio Platige Image.
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Nintendo’s finally going mobile, and this trailer for its upcoming collaboration with Google’s Niantic Labs showcases the awesome potential of an augmented reality Pokémon game. The real world better watch out.
Clash of Clans
This Clash of Clash commercial is the only gaming entry in YouTube’s global top-10 for 2015, racking up well over 88 million views. It debuted during February’s Super Bowl and features a seriously angry Liam Neeson (AngryNeeson52) swearing revenge on fellow Clash of Clans player BuffetBoy85.
Shower with Your Dad Simulator 2015
This trailer for Shower with Your Dad Simulator 2015 features awkward 8-bit nudity (so beware if you’re viewing at work) paired with a catchy-as-hell rap. Half-a-million views later, indie developer Marbenx‘s decision to get really weird looks pretty smart.
Sony neatly solved the problem of marketing virtual reality earlier this year by stripping away the geeky-looking headset and showing how it actually feels to immerse yourself in another world. Maybe this marketing approach will help Sony sell an estimated 1.5 million PlayStation VR headsets — and the games to go with them — in 2016.
One of this year’s surprise success stories, Until Dawn has players make life-changing decisions in a glorious tribute to the teen-horror film genre. This live-action trailer — accompanied by Robert Frost’s classic poem, “The Road Not Taken” — does a great job of re-creating the mood of the game and showing how seemingly small choices can actually mean a great deal.
“It’s not really an empowering poem of choosing your unique destiny that others haven’t taken,” said the trailer’s director Lloyd Choi. “Its meaning is more bleak and bittersweet, and I found that perfect for Until Dawn.”