These days I was watching movie trailers for released and upcoming films, when a realization dawned on me – well, I’d actually been building up to this realization with each watched trailer in the past few years: they’re all the same. I’m not saying that the indie movie about a dying girl will have the Inception horn, of course, but if it’s an action movie then yes, you can expect Hans Zimmer to crop up, no exceptions, alongside the sweeping camera takes of a city, a mysterious line read by an important character, fading to black, the building up of silence only to be shattered by a loud noise – it’s all there, and much more too. How fortunate for me that I’m curating a list of my favorite indie gaming trailers, then, much less ordinary and dull than whatever’s the trend in movies.
1. The Banner Saga 2 Launch Trailer (06/04/2016):
It’s got it all, doesn’t it? For starters the game’s actual visuals – in-game and cutscenes – make capturing beautiful moments a triviality. Add to that the downcast eyes of the characters from the first game, which if you’d played you’d know why, a decent amount of the gameplay splashed in showcasing the new enemies and race, the dramatic voice-over in a Nordic accent and the chilling violin and chanting, building up in a crescendo to drums and horns, and what you get is I, someone who played the first game, hyped to see where the sequel goes.
2. Sunless Sea: Launch Trailer (03/02/2015)
THE SEA DOES NOT FORGIVE. AND IT WILL NOT FORGIVE YOU. You’d be surprised if I told you that it’s the trailer for a text-based exploration game that I find to be the most exhilarating, but it’s true. The launch trailer for Sunless Sea hits the tracks already in a sprint and doesn’t relent. It showcases the horrors of the sea, tells you – literally – that you’ll eat your crew and get chomped to death by giant sharks, and has that brilliant start, from the opening of the eye to the dramatic horns and voices, all the while sticking to the game’s guns: no voice acting, just text.
3. Nuclear Throne – Update #60 – More than 100 guns! (YV Trailer) (25/01/2015)
A trailer that manages to be nearly as high-octane as the actual game it represents. The excessive screen-shake, the weapons’ sounds matching the beat, the foghorn (oh no, not the horn!) and a showcase of both the game’s varied cast and its many, many weapons – this trailer looks fun, and I imagine it was probably fun to make. Can’t help but comment on the bad form of the energy ammunition waste by Steroids on the 19th second mark, though.
4. Hyper Light Drifter – Release Trailer (22/03/2016)
This trailer is more than anything a showcase for the game’s superb visuals and fast-paced gameplay – from the several segments that only show the Drifter walking from place to place to the hectic fights where he’s parrying and dodging non-stop – all to a low-key piano-turned-synthetic song by the recognizable Disasterpeace. I never guide my purchases on trailers, as they’re often the best pieces stitched together without any of the flaws, but I was sold on Hyper Light Drifter the moment I saw it.
5. Armello Launch Trailer (01/09/2015)
The truth of the matter is: you’ve got to hand it to the directors when they manage to make a turn-based board game look exciting. The lush cutscenes, colorful game and growing song all coalesce into a trailer that really gives out the sense of imminent danger and epic confrontations you just wouldn’t expect from a board game.
I said it was a short list. Everyone wants to put in Darkest Dungeon and Not a Hero and whatever other games also have great trailers, but it wouldn’t be all that hard to curate a list called ‘The 50 best indie game trailers’, would it? In any case, since no post about gaming trailers is complete without this one (no, it’s not Gears of War. God I hate that shit), here’s an extra (not indie, either):