By Andrew Mathieu / January 6th, 2016
The year 2015 was a big year for game announcements and reveals that players either weren’t expecting or had completely given up hope of ever seeing. For most gamers, seeing is believing. It’s hard to get excited about a game when all you have to go on are vague descriptions or short cinematic teasers that may not be the best way to show how a game actually plays. For this reason, I decided to come up with a list of what I think are the best video game trailers I’ve seen in 2015. If the trailer got me excited to play a game or upcoming piece of downloadable content, it qualified to be on this list. Without further ado, here are my personal top 5 game trailers of 2015!
5. Cuphead E3 2015 Trailer
I’ve loved animation ever since I was a kid and continue to appreciate it as an adult. I’m a big fan of cel-shading in games, as it creates the look of a cartoon better than any other graphical style in gaming, or at least that’s what I think. This is what made me take notice of Cuphead, an indie game first shown off during Microsoft’s press event at E3 2014. At E3 2015 the game was back, with its developers getting time to reveal a brand new trailer, and it’s something to behold. This looks so much like an old-timey cartoon it’s almost scary. The level of authenticity the developers showcase is truly unbelievable.
It’s not that I don’t think visuals like this are possible on modern-day hardware, it’s just hard to believe something like this took this long to become a reality. Everything from the film-grain, to the stills used to tell the story to the music and sound effects are just mind-blowing. I’m happy Microsoft gave Cuphead time in the spotlight to show off more of the game. This game trailer is definitely one of the most visually stunning I’ve seen in a long time.
4. Persona 5 PV#01
2015 was a big your for RPG announcement trailers including Final Fantasy VII Remake, Nier Automata, and Ni No Kuni 2. However, the trailer that really showcased something that I truly look forward to playing is Persona 5. The first Persona 5 gameplay trailer was released early in 2015 and gave a look at what to expect in the next installment of this beloved franchise.
While the story and characters may be different, the style is undeniable to anyone who has played the last two Persona games. The music, which plays throughout, is rousing and goes along nicely with the onscreen interactions. The look at the dungeons, school days, shops and even the menus offer a peek at actual gameplay. Seriously, how many games showcase the menu in a trailer? Anyway, the trailer just has a huge sense of style, with the characters dancing throughout. Persona 5 may have gotten lost in the shuffle thanks to the large number of game announcement trailers in 2015, but it still stands out to me as one of the best.
3. Fire Emblem Fates Teaser Trailer
Nintendo kicked off its first Direct of 2015 with a trailer for the game that would eventually become known as Fire Emblem Fates. While the very beginning of the trailer made it hard to tell it was a Fire Emblem game, it becomes clear once actual gameplay is shown. We start off with two warring factions with monsters mixed into the fray before transitioning to a beautiful dancer singing. The game has a very cinematic style, uncommon for Nintendo games, as they usually let the gameplay do the talking, but since the story plays such a big role in this particular franchise, as it should in any RPG, it was at the forefront.
We then transition into some battle gameplay, a few story sequences, and finally a outro cinematic. The entire trailer is really well-paced, giving hints to the two warring sides that the game’s two versions are based on, without spelling it out. It does a great job at giving a sense of wonder into the unfolding events. It’s been a great year for Fire Emblem, and this trailer for the latest installment was one of the reasons why.
2. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS Cloud Storms Into Battle/Corrin Chooses to Smash/Bayonetta Gets Wicked
After the release of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS in 2014, people wondered if there would be any DLC beyond the promotional Mewtwo release. We got our answer in April with the surprise reveal of Lucas, as well as the launch of the Global Smash Ballot. Since then, it was recently announced that Super Smash Bros. DLC would end in February, with the last three characters revealed in November and December, being Cloud, Corrin, and Bayonetta.
The reason I spotlight these specific character reveal trailers is because they got me the most excited I’ve been since Robin and Lucina were revealed way back in the summer of 2014. I could not believe that Cloud, from Final Fantasy VII, was in Super Smash Bros. He’s just not a character I would ever imagine being in a game jam-packed with Nintendo characters, yet he doesn’t look out-of-place. The trailer itself is awesome, paying homage to moments in Final Fantasy VII while showing off Cloud’s flashy moves.
Corrin was another surprise. The usage of the Fire Emblem Fates faction selection cutscene was a nice touch, as was the actual voice artists from the game throughout, which reminded me pleasantly of Palutena’s reveal. It was a unique way of showing off the newest Fire Emblem character in Super Smash Bros. Having so many interesting moves, both the male and female variants, as well as a pretty funny dialogue throughout the trailer seals the deal.
Finally, one of the most long-wanted yet unexpected entries for this particular Super Smash Bros. game, Bayonetta, the winner of the Global Smash Ballot. Her introduction was fantastic. I know some people expected another Kid Icarus with the use of Pit and Palutena in the trailer, which was a great and funny way of bringing up Bayonetta’s love of taking down angels. The banter between the various characters is a real highlight. They have so much personality and it’s just cool to hear them interact with each other. Other highlights include watching Bayonetta dance around her enemies, Kirby’s Bayonetta look, and the showcase of her wicked stage.
The reason I lumped these trailers together, aside from being my favorite of the seven Super Smash Bros. DLC character trailers, is that they were able to capture the characters really well as also show them off as fighters. The DLC character trailers were all made utilizing the in-game visuals with a few touches to make them look more cinematic, rather than full on original cutscenes the other newcomers had. It’s cool how well they were able to use what they had with the game. Finally, these trailers were all kept a complete surprise. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS has been notorious for various leaks and data mining that spoiled some of the original and DLC characters early, but these last three characters were kept secret until they were revealed, which is awesome.
1. Shin Megami Tensei & Fire Emblem Crossover Project Gameplay Trailer
For all intents and purposes, Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem was dead. After first being revealed in a Nintendo Direct at the start of 2013, the game had not been seen since then. Imagine my, and a lot of other people’s, surprise when a trailer for the game dropped during the April 1st, 2015 Nintendo Direct. It was no joke, and neither is it a joke on this list, because it is my favorite trailer of 2015!
The first thing that stands out to me is in this trailer is the fantastic song that plays throughout. It’s incredibly catchy, and is a great way to showcase the various events in the game. This includes introducing the main characters and giving a little insight into their lives and personalities, as well as the events that make up the story of the game. The animated sequences, which look fantastic. are mixed in with cinematics and actual gameplay. The tone of the trailer is light, with only hints of darker elements found in certain sequences. Similar to the Persona 5 trailer, it serves as a great showcase for the game’s characters, as well as excellent use of the game’s soundtrack.
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with this trailer. I never thought that Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem was truly dead, and it’s great to see such an extensive look after what was teased so long ago. While it may be some time before this game is released outside of Japan, I’m still really excited to give this game a try. A great game trailer, to me, makes me want to play the game right away, and looking back at the past year, this game trailer was the best I saw of 2015.
CupheadFire Emblem FatesPersona 5Shin Megami Tensei x Fire EmblemSuper Smash Bros.