How many times have we fallen in love with an outstanding video game trailer, only to find ourselves disappointed for the incredible gap between the advertised movie-like CGI and actual gameplay graphics? Such a difference is getting less and less noticeable nowadays, especially with the commonly used motion capture technology and photorealism. Nonetheless, even without the current gen hardware, video game companies have created an infinite number of breathtaking animations in the past few years. I put together a list of 20 videos that I consider some of the best CGI trailers ever released for their level of epicness, visual effects and character design.
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Think about ordering a McDonald’s burger that doesn’t look as stuffed and detailed as the one you saw advertised on local posters. Does the way it looks actually affect its final taste the moment you take a bite? This is a marketing strategy; sometimes the games we play look nothing like the cinematic cutscenes or previously released videos, yet they can still be awarded for their captivating storytelling, engaging gameplay and level design.
Looks also count, however, thus I decided to explore the aesthetical aspect more these days and came up with 20 clips for your enjoyment (old and new, in no particular order).
1.Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
The Assassin’s Creed series has always presented itself with breathtaking trailers since the first chapter released in 2007, choosing the best video among them all was no easy task. I went for the Revelations one because I enjoyed the sequences with Altair’s spirit guiding Ezio Auditore to the right path (and as you may already know he was the very first Assassin we ever played with).
The game, on the other hand, is in my opinion the weakest of the entitre series. It has its perks and remains without a doubt worth playing if you want to follow the chronological order up to the most recent title, but it totally feels rushed compared to the previous chapters and the gameplay may suffer from a few weaknesses as well. Revelations is also the third and last part involving Ezio, the ancestor we controlled since Assassin’s Creed 2. His story officially concluded with a short 3D movie called Embers.
Get Assassin’s Creed Revelations here.
2.The Witcher III: Wild Hunt
Warning: Minor gore
Developer: CD Projekt RED
The Witcher is a fantasy RPG trilogy based on the books written by Andrzej Sapkowski. Wild Hunt brings an end to the story of Geralt Of Rivia and it is directly connected to The Wither 2: Assassins of Kings. The game is three times bigger than its predecessors and is still considered to this day one of the best video games of all times with its many Game Of The Year awards.
Get The Witcher 3 here.
3.World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Release: 2017 (the base game is from 2004)
World Of Warcraft is a popular fantasy MMORPG with nearly 10 million players counted in 2009. WoW Classic is going to be released sometime this summer with a standard subscription included, as Blizzard announced at BlizzCon2018. Battle for Azeroth is the last expansion published for the game so far.
Lineage II is another MMORPG for Microsoft Windows and the actual prequel to Lineage, released in 1998. Lineage II: Revolution, the mobile version set 100 years before Lineage II: Goddess of Destruction, is available for free on the Play Store for Android and App Store for Apple users.
5.Dragon Age Origins
Dragon Age is a fantasy RPG trilogy published by (unfortunately…) Electronic Arts, with the addition of six novels and a few comic series.
Origins is a choice-based title with different backgrounds and races for the main character. The Dragon Age Keep allows you to store all your choices including the DLCs related content, in order to load your progress in Dragon Age: Inquisition and generate the proper route based on your previous achievements in Origins and Dragon Age II.
A fourth game has been officially confirmed, but the recent problematics with Anthem and Electronic Arts have clearly slowed down the entire development. The game was initially supposed to acquire the Unreal Engine 4, but it seems like the new installment will run on DICE’s Frostbite again.
Get Dragon Age Origins here.
6.Final Fantasy XV – Omen
Developer: Square Enix
Final Fantasy XV was originally planned as a PlayStation 3 exclusive back in 2006, known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII and intended to be a companion game to Final Fantasy XIII with the mobile title Agito XIII in the Fabula Nova Crystallis series. Versus went through a lot of problems and changes in the following years, even replacing the female counterpart Stella Nox Fleuret with the Oracle Luna. The whole story has been reshaped and twisted, removing part of the dark tones from the plot and generating a completely different product, subsequently renamed as Final Fantasy XV.
This CGI trailer appears to be a vision of what may happen should Prince Noctis travel alone instead of taking his three loyal companions with him along the way. The graphics are extremely advanced compared to the normal game, just like the Kingsglaive movie Square Enix released as a prequel to let players get a better understanding of a certain event described.
XV is also a game based on different realities. While the main outcome will always remain the same, you can still see different endings with Episode Ignis and the Japanese novel Square Enix published recently, which is about the cancelled content we were supposed to get as additional DLCs in a second Season Pass this year.
The Steam version of the game arrived in March 2018 with an official modding tool and the Royal Edition pack included.
Get Final Fantasy XV here.
7.The Last Of Us Part 2
Developer: Naughty Dog
The Last Of Us is a Sony exclusive, released in 2013 for PS3 and remastered for PS4 with a photo mode implementation the following year. Right from the first game we could see little to no difference between the trailers/cutscenes and gameplay, being able to enjoy an authentic masterpiece under all aspects. When Sony announced TLOU Part 2, we could immediatly jump back into Ellie’s emotional conflicts, now a 19yo independent girl.
The released date for the sequel has yet to be announced.
Get The Last Of Us: Remastered here.
8.Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect is a science-fiction RPG series published for the first time in 2007. A fourth game, Mass Effect: Andromeda, has been released in 2017, but the new awaited chapter failed to meet the players’ expectations, considered way too mediocre to be compared to the original trilogy.
Get the Mass Effect Trilogy here.
9.Devil May Cry 4 Pachinko Cinematic
The original Devil May Cry 4 is actually from 2008. This new remake has been created specifically for Pachinko machines (or Pachislots) in Japan. The cinematics present a visible improvement with better shaders and more realistic models.
Devil May Cry 4 is part of the Devil May Cry franchise, featuring a new male protagonist strongly connected to the Sparda family. Two months ago, Capcom released the new awaited sequel, Devil May Cry V.
Get Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition here.
10.Kingdom Hearts Final Mix
Developer: Square Enix (Disney collaboration)
Kingdom Hearts is a crossover series of various Disney properties and Final Fantasy characters in a completely fictional universe. The games are centered on the young protagonist Sora and his journey along the disparate worlds to defeat the darkness affecting them.
Get Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 and 2.5 ReMIX here.
11.Beyond Good and Evil
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Beyond Good and Evil 2 is an upcoming action-adventure open world game, prequel of Beyond Good and Evil released in 2003. A playable beta is expected sometime this year, which means the final version will most likely arrive in 2020.
Get Beyond Good and Evil here.
12.Overkill’s The Walking Dead (Maya Trailer)
Developer: Overkill Software
The Walking Dead is a horror first-person shooter published by Starbreeze Studios and 505 Games. Based on The Walking Dead comics, the game is available for Microsoft Windows while the console version was initially postponed, only to be officially cancelled on February this year. The reason for this drastic decision is the contract termination between Skybound and Starbreeze, leading to a discontinuation of the game itself.
The title has a cooperative gameplay and features four main characters with unique skills and abilities. Unfortunately, Overkill’s TWD was rated quite poorly for its gameplay and technical issues.
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Overwatch is a team-based multiplayer first-person shooter. While the game itself has no story mode, Blizzard has published different shorts dedicated to the playable characters and their backgrounds.
Get Overwatch Legendary Edition here.
14.League Of Legends: K/DA Pop/Stars Music Video
Developer: Riot Game
League Of Legends (LoL) is a multiplayer battle arena video game published for Microsoft Windows and MacOS. The game is a freemium product, allowing any player to download and enjoy the game without paying a cent while requiring microtransactions for skins and other extra content.
The Pop/Stars animation is a very original way to promote the LoL Championship and Riot’s new character skins for the game. K/DA is a virtual k-pop group of four ladies (Ahri, Akali, Evelynn and Kai’Sa) with the voices of Madison Beer, Jaira Burns and the (G)I-dle members Miyeon and Soyeon. The official YouTube channel of LoL has published other music videos for their characters in the past, such as Varus: As We Fall, Get Jinxed, Pentakill: Mortal Reminder, The Curse of the Sad Mummy and Burning Bright.
Scalebound was an action RPG scheduled to be released in 2017 for Xbox One and Microsoft Windows. The title seemed very promising since the first E3 trailer (despite its similarities with Devil May Cry 4 for the mutated right arm), but Microsoft announced the final cancellation for its development.
16.Detroit Become Human (Hold On Short)
Developer: Quantic Dream
Detroit Become Human is a choice-based adventure game published by Sony, currently available as PlayStation 4 exclusive. The Hold On short is part of the extra menu in the game, but it’s been showcased right before its release to highlight the deep conflict androids have to face throughout the story. Luther, the character singing in this video, is one of the main NPCs companions the player will encounter along the way.
Depending on your choices, Hold On can also be performed by one of the three protagonists, Markus, in the final revolutionary battle.
The extras also include the KARA demo released in 2012.
Quantic Dream has recently announced the final detachment from Sony and let us know that a PC version of the game will be available on Epic Games later this year. Although the release date is not yet revealed, we can already find the minimum and recommended requirements around (although they do not appear on the dedicated Epic Games page yet, so I would take those with a grain of salt).
Get Detroit Become Human here.
17.The Elder Scrolls Online
Developer: ZeniMax Online Studios
The Elder Scrolls Online is a MMORPG published by Bethesda Software, originally released for Microsoft Windows as a part of The Elder Scrolls series while being indirectly connected to the other games. In 2015 it acquired the buy-to-play format with microtransactions, replacing the mandatory monthly subscription model.
Get The Elder Scrolls Online here.
18.Tom Clancy’s The Division
Developer: Massive Entertainment
The Division is a massive action RPG published by Ubisoft, set in a near future in New York City after a viral pandemic. The game can be enjoyed by the player in its open world post-apocalyptic-like settings, but it also features different multiplayer matches and the possibility of completing objectives in a cooperative mode.
In March this year, The Division 2 has been released as sequel.
Get The Division here.
19.For Honor: Marching Fire
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
For Honor is an action game set in a medieval, fantasy world and it allows the player to play the roles of historical soldiers and warriors such as knights, samurai and vikings. The game has a standard story mode and a multiplayer section for PvP matches and team battles.
Marching Fire is a multiplayer expansion released in 2018, which adds the Wu Lin faction to the selection.
Get For Honor here.
20. FINAL FANTASY XIV Stormblood
Developer: Square Enix
Final Fantasy XIV: The Realm Reborn is a MMORPG directed and produced by Naoki Yoshida, a replacement for the first Final Fantasy XIV from 2010 permanently shut down due to the negative reception at launch. The Realm Reborn counted over 14 million registered players in 2018 and three big expansions were added to it.
That’s all, folks!
If you want to address me to any other GCI video worth watching, feel free to leave a link in comments below!