The video game trailer is an interesting phenomenon. It is, at its core, a marketing device—a series of sounds and images, carefully arranged to make you want to buy something.
But even the most cynical of gamers would have to admit that trailers can be works of art in their own right. Even after the video game has come and gone, the best trailers are still entertaining and kind of meaningful, in a way, if you look past the logos and pre-order bonuses and embrace the sizzle.
Throughout all of last generation, one developer has really mastered the art of the trailer: Rockstar Games, the company behind Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption. Their games are usually great, but their trailers might be even better.
Take "My Name Is John Marston," for example.
"I'm here to capture or kill Bill Williamson." "Heh heh. Okay." The best trailers, like this one, tell their own little stories. They look great. They sound great. They tease and pull and get you leaving thinking about what you just saw.
The GTA V launch trailer is another of my favorites:
And of course there's the second GTA V trailer, enhanced by Stevie Wonder, because everything is better with Stevie Wonder.
Hell, all of the GTA V trailers are pretty damn well done:
GTA IV's Episodes from Liberty City has another stand-out trailer:
And here's a special throwback from the PS2 era, just to remind you that Rockstar's always been good at this stuff:
Last-Gen Heroes is Kotaku's look back at the seventh generation of console gaming. In the weeks leading up to the launch of the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, we'll be celebrating the Heroes—and the Zeroes—of the last eight years of console video gaming. More details can be found here; follow along with the series here.