In the good old days, our first glimpse of new games used to come in screenshots printed in magazines or online, usually accompanied by frenzied words written by over-caffeinated correspondents fresh off the plane from a whirlwind studio visit. These days, of course, it's all about video, and producing a good game trailer has become an artform all of its own. With that in mind, here's a look at some of our favorite trailers of 2017.
Death Stranding (The Game Awards, December)
We were never going to begin anywhere else, were we? The third trailer for Hideo Kojima's first game since leaving Konami was so bizarre and fascinating that it gave internet sleuths endless pleasure dissecting its various mysteries. We subsequently learned that the weird bit where the world fills with water represents protagonist Sam "dying" and entering a kind of purgatory that then allows him to return to life in a world where his previous actions persist, Dark Souls style. Other than that, we still know very little. Kojima is the master of trailer hype, to the extent that his videos feel as much a part of the game experience as the end product - Death Stranding looks like no exception.
The Last of Us Part II (Paris Games Week, November)
The Last of Us was never a particularly upbeat tale, but even the horrors of Joel and Ellie's previous post-apocalyptic roadtrip did little to prepare us for the grim darkness of the Paris Games Week trailer, where the message seems to be that the greatest threat to our safety in a world overrun by Cordyceps mutants continues to be our own nature. If you don't like human limbs snapping, probably don't watch this one, and if you do like human limbs snapping, uh, please don't come near us.
Beyond Good & Evil 2 (E3, June)
Beyond Good & Evil was one of our favorite games of 2003, and we remember thinking at the time that we hoped Ubisoft - in a rich vein of form back then with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time also lighting up the charts - wouldn't hang about in commissioning a sequel. FOURTEEN YEARS LATER, it was hard to imagine how it could be worth the wait, and then they dropped this trailer at E3. Of course it's all CG, but the ambition on show is ridiculous. "Grand Theft Zootopia", joked one commenter on YouTube, while others drew comparisons to Luc Besson's The Fifth Element. If Ubisoft Montpellier can deliver a game with as much depth and imagination as the trailer has sass, this will be incredible.
Super Mario Odyssey (E3, June)
One of the few games on this list you can actually go out and buy at the time of writing, Super Mario Odyssey's E3 trailer is still worthy of inclusion. Perfectly capturing Nintendo's Switch-era vibe of daring new ideas in supposedly old-fashioned wrapping, this kicks off with the bizarre sight of a T-Rex... controlled by Mario's hat, then kicks into a whistle-stop tour of sights and sounds from his latest adventure backed by a perfect soundtrack. Watch this again and we guarantee the game will be loaded up on your Switch again within 24 hours.
Concrete Genie (Paris Games Week, November)
Sony's commitment to the artier end of the video game spectrum is always pretty admirable, and Concrete Genie - from Entwined developed PixelOpus - is just the latest example of the creative risks it's happy for its in-house studios to take in search of something transcendent. This bewitching trailer was a low-key highlight of Paris Games Week, and we're keen to learn more about how what we see here translates into moment-to-moment gameplay.
Wolfenstein II - No More Nazis! (September)
We now live in a world where you can put out a trailer under the banner "Make America Nazi-Free Again" and some people actually respond with "Hold up now" rather than "Where are the faces upon which I can plant my boot?" This is not a good thing. Bethesda's provocative trailer, on the other hand, was a good thing, and the freewheeling Nazi-shredding adventure that followed was good too.