2016 was one hell of a year for the gaming industry, filled with highly anticipated releases that players have been dying to get their hands. Titles like Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 helped reinvigorate the first-person shooter, while smaller indie projects like Inside and Firewatch helped inspire us with fascinating stories we didn’t even know we wanted to experience. We also had the opportunity to peek at what’s on the horizon for 2017 with reveals for Mass Effect Andromeda, Prey and more: But whether they were returning favorites, new reveals, or surprising projects that seemingly came out of left field, the video game trailers of 2016 were better than most.
Here’s the best video game trailers from 2016.
10. Titanfall 2 Launch Trailer
Titanfall 2 was one of the biggest surprises to come out of 2016. It built off the success of the original from 2014 by incorporating a much more refined gameplay loop of combat and platforming. More importantly though, Titanfall 2 introduced the game’s universe with a standalone single player campaign which was kicked into gear with this excellent live action trailer of Titan-on-Titan action.
9. Prey Reveal Trailer
We may never truly know what happened to the beautiful, beautiful rendition of Prey featuring bounty hunters and Johnny Cash; but Arkane Studios’s new take on the IP is a project just as worthy of praise. Revealed during E3 with this cinematic trailer, Prey seems to take on a twisted identity — like both BioShock and System Shock — and we can’t wait to play it next year.
8. Dark Souls 3 Shadows Ahead Trailer
Dark Souls probably isn’t an experience meant for every player out there, but no matter how you feel about the core gameplay design, there’s no questioning From Software’s ability to create atmosphere. “Shadows Ahead” did just that, building up a dark and somewhat endearing introduction to Dark Souls 3 for fans — complete with a much creepier rendition of “True Colors” from Cyndi Lauper.
7. Knights of the Eternal Throne Cinematic Trailer
Star Wars: The Old Republic may have had a rocky few years since it first released on PC, but regardless of how the story-driven MMO comes across for players — there’s always been an amazing cinematic trailer to celebrate the launch of every new expansion released for the game by BioWare. This year marked the release of Knight of the Eternal Throne and a gorgeous cinematic trailer worthy of its own dedicated film. Maybe next year for Christmas, right BioWare?
6. Battlefield 1 Reveal Trailer
Just when we thought the future of first-person shooters was looking a little too much like Blade Runner, DICE and Electronic Arts dropped the reveal trailer for Battlefield 1, bringing us all back a hundred years to fight on the brutal battlefields of World War I. Set to the White Stripes, Battlefield 1’s first trailer delivered gorgeous visuals and jaw-dropping action in a tiny little package to introduce the next installment of the Battlefield franchise.
5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Gameplay Trailer
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been a long time coming. Originally announced back in 2013, this title was a Wii U exclusive before being delayed repeatedly. It is now confirmed to release in 2017 alongside the Nintendo Switch. Instead of opting to go the traditional Zelda path though, Nintendo’s taking the franchise into the open world and this trailer was our first real look at everything the development team has been working on.
4. Mass Affect: Andromeda Reveal Trailer
The long-awaited debut of Mass Effect: Andromeda finally came in late 2016 with some brand new trailers that opened a new chapter of the franchise now that Commander Shepard’s trilogy is complete. Chock full of new alien species, weapons, technology, and key characters — the official reveal trailer from N7 Day was a true treat.
3. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine Launch Trailer
2016 marked the official end of CD Projekt Red’s DLC support for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, one of the best RPGs released during the summer of last year. Blood and Wine was the team’s last piece of the game, and they went out with a massive bang which ended up being one of the best experiences The Witcher 3 has to offer. In many ways, the trailer for Blood and Wine was the ending of an era for CD and Geralt of Rivia, and a what damn good end it was.
2. Overwatch Animated Short: Dragons
Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch was one of the biggest success stories of 2016, launching a new IP with over 20 million active players by the end of the year. Along with the game’s tremendous success however, came a slew of cinematic trailers that helped us piece to together the background story of the Overwatch universe and gave us insight into each character’s personal journeys. None lingered in our heads like the origins of Hanzo and Genji — a tale of two brothers trapped in conflict against each other.
1. Death Stranding Game Awards Trailer
We still have absolutely no idea what Hideo Kojima’s next project truly is, nor do we know when he’s planning to reveal more details about Death Stranding to the public, but one things is for sure: This is a project we can’t wait to get our hands on. With a wild looking concept involving skeletal soldiers, umbilical cords and Mads Mikkelsen, the second trailer for the project was a surprise we didn’t expect during the Game Awards. But it is one we’re extremely thankful for nonetheless.
Photos via Nicholas Bashore