The six best (and one worst) trailers from The Game Awards

The six best (and one worst) trailers from The Game Awards

Hades 2, Armored Core, and one unfortunate trip to the Aging Celebrities In Need Of A Paycheck Factory from gaming's biggest night

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The ol’ grey Reedus, he ain’t what he used to be
The ol’ grey Reedus, he ain’t what he used to be
Screenshot: YouTube

Tonight marked the ninth installment of Geoff Keighley’s The Game Awards, truly the Super Bowl of gaming—i.e., an over-produced, highly corporatized spectacle that people mostly watch only for the commercials. (And which is also, annoyingly, the best games award show that the industry has so far managed to produce.)

Because while The Game Awards do manage to hand out some actual game awards here and there around the margins, they’re mostly a place for new games to show themselves off, with a whole cavalcade of flashy, expensive trailers on basically constant display. But not all trailers are created equal, and so we’ve set ourselves to the task of collecting the best of the best from this year’s crop of promos. We’re sticking to the “World Premieres” from the actual show proper tonight—otherwise, we’d just be losing our minds endlessly at Vampire Survivors finally going to mobile—and not commenting on the actual awards—because then, we’d just be losing our minds at Keighley dragging Actual Al Pacino out on stage to say “Hey, I don’t play these things, but they sure look neat!” This is all about the trailers, baby (or BB), and specifically those that are the best at kindling that tiny flame in our hearts called “hype.”

And oh, we’re also going to include one entry for “Most Embarrassing,” because, uh, did you see that shit?

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2 / 9

Earthblade

Earthblade

Earthblade Official Reveal Trailer | The Game Awards 2022

There was a certain dearth of indie street cred at tonight’s TGAs, where Stray—a perfectly fine game published by the games wing of a fairly prominent movie studio—took home the award as best “Indie.” So here’s to Earthblade, the new game from Extremely OK Games, the team behind 2018's beautiful, brutally tricky platformer Celeste. From the glimpse we got at the trailer tonight, Earthblade will be a little more free-form in its exploration, but will maintain a lot of the look and feel that made Celeste such a delight. The trailer left us with a deep need to see more, i.e., exactly what a trailer like that is supposed to do.

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3 / 9

Hades 2

Hades 2

Hades 2 Reveal Trailer | The Game Awards 2022

Supergiant Games has been one of the most enjoyably consistent hit-makers of the last decade of gaming—and never moreso than with their 2020 title Hades, which managed the improbable trick of wiring the DNA of a conversation-heavy dating sim into the hardcore fight-die-fight-again action of the ascendant roguelike genre. Thus our delight when Keighley et. al kicked off tonight’s show with the reveal of Hades 2, which, yes, had a big dramatic animated battle in the style of the original game—but which also showed off some gameplay, suggesting all the ways the sequel might deepen the original’s compulsively playable approach to mythological fights.

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4 / 9

Meet Your Maker

Meet Your Maker

Meet your Maker | Reveal Trailer

We knew exactly zilch about Meet Your Maker before its trailer rolled at the TGAs tonight, beyond the fact that it was the new project from Dead By Daylight devs Behaviour Interactive. But that’s the beauty of a good sales pitch: Show us a video where an evil mastermind builds a trap-laden fortress and forces invaders to race through its halls—and then reveal that you get to play as both the trap-setter and the maze-runner, in a very clever riff on the studio’s signature asymmetric multiplayer—and we’re hooked. Meet Your Maker looks a little janky, a tad messy, maybe even a bit full-on broken. It also looks like something we’re absolutely salivating to play.

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5 / 9

Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty

Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty

Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty — Official Teaser #2

Look, we know: We got burnt by the initial release of Cyberpunk 2077 just as bad as everybody else. But the game did get better in the years since its release, scraping off more of the grime to reveal the genuinely compelling, sometimes even emotionally rich, first-person role-playing game underneath. CD Projekt Red has also had a very good track record with downloadable content over the years—looking at you, The Witcher 3: Heart Of Stone—which leaves us vaguely optimistic that Phantom Liberty can get at least a little closer to Cyberpunk’s still-massive potential. Or, hey: Maybe we’re just dupes who think it’s fun that Idris Elba is in this one, or who clap our hands delightedly when Keanu Reeves says “Motherfucker.” Who can say?

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6 / 9

Armored Core VI—Fires Of Rubicon

Armored Core VI—Fires Of Rubicon

Armored Core VI Fires of Rubicon - Reveal Trailer | PS5 & PS4 Games

The odds of From Software announcing new downloadable content for certified Game Awards Game Of The Year winner Elden Ring were pretty much nil tonight. (Especially after the studio rolled out some new content earlier this week in a very calculated effort to keep the baying hounds off their heels.) But there was still some real electricity at seeing the company dust off their other big franchise, fallow since right around when they became “The Dark Souls studio,” for one of the last big reveals of the evening. The idea of From reviving Armored Core—its well-loved mech-fighting series—now, at the height of its power (and budget) is genuinely thrilling. Elden Ring proved that From is only getting more ambitious, and less safe, as they help redefine mainstream gaming; we can’t wait to see what that looks like when applied to a franchise as dense and involved as Armored Core.

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7 / 9

Death Stranding 2

Death Stranding 2

Death Stranding 2 (Working Title) - TGA 2022 Teaser Trailer | PS5 Games

You can talk a lot of shit about Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima, but you can’t say he doesn’t cut a good promo. The trailer for Death Stranding 2 released at the TGAs tonight wasn’t as incredibly, eye-catchingly bizarre as the first one that Kojima rolled out at this same event back in 2017. But it was a reminder that nobody takes big, dumb ideas—hey, tentacle baby—more seriously than Kojima. Death Stranding 2 will inevitably carry with it all of its creator’s quirks, issues, and storytelling foibles. But it will also almost certainly be unlike anything else out it in…whatever year it comes out. (Especially if Keighley comes through and gets Animal from The Muppets that cameo he was begging for at the show. We would not put it past them.)

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8 / 9

Most Embarrassing: Crime Boss: Rockay City

Most Embarrassing: Crime Boss: Rockay City

Crime Boss: Rockay City - Announce Trailer | PS5 Games

We were not, when we set out to cover the TGAs, expecting to invent a “Most Embarrassing” award especially for this event. But we also weren’t expecting to have to sit through the spectacle of Michael Madsen being walked out on the awards show stage to shill for 505 Games and developer INGAMES Studio’s new crime game, Crime Boss: Rockay City. And the embarrassment didn’t cease once Madsen’s captors let him flee back into the backstage, because woof, this trailer. We know we were just talking sugar about Keanu and Idris a minute ago, but filling your game with celebrity mo-cap and voice performances from Madsen, Kim Basinger, Vanilla Ice, Danny Glover, Danny Trejo, and Michael Rooker—okay, actually, we’ll take Rooker—does not a funny or interesting game make. And when your big reveal is that you got Chuck Norris to slum it in your game, well, the wow factor really flies through the roof. What other amazing relics of internet humor circa 2004 do y’all have on deck? Should we be expecting a cameo from Zombo.com, or Chewbacca Ate My Balls? Even Keighley had the good grace to look embarrassed by this one.

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9 / 9