2009 In Review: The Trailers

They're at the forefront of marketing, rarely show gameplay and have been hopelessly corrupted by "developer diaries", but that's not to say we hate trailers. We like trailers. There are even some that we love.

Whether indicative of a game or just the "feel" or "tone" of one still in development, the humble game trailer has become an artform unto itself in recent times. Here's some of 2009's best, which we've picked for their raw entertainment value, not for the job they do depicting the actual game in question.

Mass Effect 2

Left 4 Dead 2

Halo 3: ODST

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Forza 3

The Beatles: Rock Band

Killzone 2

The Last Guardian

And that about does it! For what it's worth, my favourite was the ODST one. Really slick, expensive, powerful stuff. Who would have thought Hungarian would sound so futuristic?!

Did we miss anything? Let us know!


    Clearly Halo takes the cake and the cherry on top for this one. Same with Halo 3 - they do know how to make awesome trailers.

    But Left 4 Dead 2's was pretty awesome even if the game looks nothing like that, not the Aussie version, but in general.

    Mass Effect 2 and Star Wars is also up there. Great year for trailers then i suppose?

    Ever since Killzone-gate 2005, I’ve made it my motto to never get too excited about game trailers, who knows when a developer is just making it look really nice too fool you. Anyone remember that trailer for that Sony game called “Eight days” It was so blatantly just a pre-rendered cut scene with a fake HUD thrown on top to make it seem legitimate. Sony eventually canned the game citing that it didn’t have any online play.

    I like the fact that the trend of trying to pass off fake footage as gameplay footage seems to be all but dead.

    With all that being said I think the best trailer of the year is Mass Effect 2.

      Oh i didn't realize is was THAT Mass Effect 2 trailer. Yeah thats equal #1 with ODST for me.

      I don't mind trailers that aren't gameplay footage and just pre-rendered. It bothers me when no gameplay footage is revealed though. I think the problem with the Killzone case was, they said it was gameplay footage but it totally wasn't.

      Other than that, dev's don't go round like Valve with L4D or Bungie with Halo trying to convince us its gameplay footage. It may use the in-game engine, but not gameplay footage.

      For gameplay footage, Forza 3 takes the prize.

        Yea, it doesn’t bother me when a trailer is entirely Pre-rendered cinematic, its only a problem when they are trying to pull the wool over your eyes and pass it off as real gameplay.


        Even a beloved franchise like call of duty has done it, People in the UK figured out that the advertisements for COD2 were totally awesome, but also totally fake. Just made to look like FPS gameplay.

    While a couple of the trailers were OK (I loved the L4D2 one), there's one missing.

    The Modern Warfare 2 trailer that came out a few days before release.

    Now before people go shooting at me, this is back before the game was released, so the only badmouthing was about the multiplayer not using dedicated servers.

    And if you were able to throw away the criticisms of that time, you had a well produced, action packed trailer right then and there.

    Those are some awesome trailers, but you've missed the epic God of War III trailers and Heavy Rain!

    I'm with Jay on this one, The ODST ViDoc's and trailers were the standout for me. Left 4 Dead 2's first trailer was the best one for me, the others just didn't capture my imagination. That being said - I prefer gameplay trailers to cinematic ones - seeing what the game looks like as compared to what can be created in a studio is more appealing to me.

    What about the Modern Warfare 2 trailer.. with eminem's music, I dislike him, and now dislike the game, however I feel the trailer was pretty awesome, should atleast be on the list

    I liked Modern Warfare 2's Infamy trailer, with epic music.

    Don't forget the AvP Weyland-Yutani trailer. That was EPIC. Better than the AvP movies themselves.

    I loved two more from Dragon Age: the one with the Marilyn track, and the last one with 30 Seconds to Mars. (Strange that I recall these by their soundtracks).

    No Super Mario Galaxy 2?

    I thought that trailer was awesome. In fact, I'm going to watch it now...

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