In spite of the pandemic, 2020 has been a huge year for games. Two giants, Sony and Microsoft, debuted their latest consoles, and some of the biggest franchises in the gaming world released their much-anticipated sequels. We may not have had a traditional E3, but that didn’t stop the sense of anticipation in the air as trailers dropped periodically to keep us glued to the screen.
But of the dozens of jaw-dropping trailers, which managed to snatch our attention this year? There was plenty of competition and we’re sure some of your favourites will be missing, but here are our picks of the ones that caught our eye. Let’s have a look. Oh, and we’ve limited ourselves to just one of our own trailers – it’s only fair…
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – Cinematic world premiere
For many, it feels about time Assassin’s Creed put the Vikings in the spotlight. This trailer has everything you want from an Ubisoft trailer. From the spray of the sea to the paint on Eivor’s face, the heavy detail and hyperrealism makes it easy for the viewer to really immerse themselves in the scene.
The contrast between the description of the bloodthirsty savages and the reality of the Vikings’ quaint life is a nice way to spin an often misunderstood people. It almost makes you forget you’re watching an Assassin’s Creed trailer. Until the signature stealth blade comes out in a brilliant slow-motion shot. This one gets an A* for editing from us.
Fable – Official reveal trailer
Due for release next year, Fable captured the essence of the game in a short and sweet minute-long trailer. From the very first second, we’re captured by the realism of the sun rays that light up the fairytale scene. The trailer holds such intricate details, even managing to capture the damp humid air of the forest.
Accompanied by that whimsical ethereal music, this trailer succeeds in creating a fully immersive and thrilling experience. All in only one minute. Many people will be waiting for this one with bated breath, as the beloved series has been MIA for too long.
Everwild – Official cinematic trailer
While we’re on the topic of Xbox, we have another pick from the Xbox Showcase earlier in the year. This time, it’s the newest IP from Rare – Everwild. Known for their groundbreaking entries on the N64, Rare saw a return to form with Sea of Thieves and look to have hit gold again with the beautiful Everwild.
The trailer sells us on the mystic and intrigue of a fantasy world inhabited by wonderful creatures. The art style might be the biggest draw here, with its gorgeous colours and art direction that effortlessly replicates traditional animation visuals. It has many fans on the edge of their seats wondering what Rare can accomplish next.
League of Legends – Season 2020 cinematic trailer
The League of Legends 2020 trailer weaves between three different storylines. Showing a snowy scene, a cyberpunk jailbreak scene, and a creepy, more fantastical, scene. Flawless transitions between scenes, tie the stories together instead of just leaving them feeling kind of thrown together carelessly. It’s a testament to the game and the trailer’s direction that the three don’t seem jarring when next to each other.
The transitions aren’t the only flawless feature of the trailer though; the music is synched up with the visuals so well that we feel like we’re there. Each blow the characters take is emphasised by drums and makes you feel it too. It’s a love letter for long-time fans of the game and built up plenty of hype.
Baldur’s Gate 3 – Cinematic reveal trailer
Baldur’s Gate is here to rival Hollywood movie trailers with their cinematic trailer., It’s brilliantly directed and, at times, almost too realistic. The creepy visuals are enough to make the toughest person wince. If you can brave it though, you’ll notice all the subtle details that make this trailer what it is. Unlike many of the trailers on this list, there’s no voice-over at all in this trailer.
The visuals and the music handle the storytelling, and they do it perfectly. For Baldur’s Gate fans who were waiting for their next entry, they got exactly what they wanted.
A last-minute surprise (or two)…
To round out the end of the year, The Game Awards came along – as they always do. And with it came a number of surprise announcements, complete with some jaw-dropping trailers. It was a bit of a year of old franchises born anew, with compelling trailers for Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and Perfect Dark. Even Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins is back and looking better than ever.
And some franchises returned in everything but name. Back 4 Blood is the spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead, and The Callisto Protocol is channeling Dead Space. There were plenty of celebrity appearances throughout the event, but Vin Diesel himself turned up in the dino-riding sequel Ark 2. The entire show was full of amazing trailers; there was definitely something for everyone.
Hundreds of games were released this year that had amazing trailers to promote them. But of them, these ones stood out to us for us. If we had the time, we’d talk about all the ones we loved: Final Fantasy XVI, Far Cry 6, Horizon Forbidden West, Bugsnax, Avowed, and so many more.
From microscopic details to the overall scene, these trailers take the crown for creating exciting scenes that make us eager to get our hands on these games. So as we say goodbye to 2020, it’s nice to look back on the trailers that distracted us from the reality of all our lives. This isn’t just about the developers who make the games, but the studios who create these vivid, gorgeous trailers that capture us all. So to all our peers, thank you for everything you’ve done. Roll on 2021…