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It's rare that a game's early trailers feature any actual game footage. For the initial flash-bang-wow eyeball grab, CGI is usually the order of the day. But increasingly these days, we don't even get any of that. Publishers are swinging over to the idea that real actors and live-action approximations of their games are the way to go, presumably in an effort to hook mainstream audiences more comfortable with movies than games.
In a way, they're just big-budget cosplay, and like all cosplay, they can go very wrong or very right. So I've collected together a whole bunch of them from both ends of the scale, for your perusal and comparison. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and occasionally you might just cringe yourself into a coma.
More like H.I.L.A.R.I.T.Y. Or C.H.E.E.S.E. For some reason Point Man has turned into a greasy Hobo and Paxton Fettel is now played by Cinder out of Killer Instinct.
These two are great. Witty, classily shot, and perfect evokations of the key draw of the game. ie. Grossly amusing dicking about, to the great and painful detriment of the Reich.
Happy thing: This one looks amazing, is moody as hell, and does a great job of getting us pumped to see more of the game. Sad thing: It also shows us exactly what Terminator: Salvation could and should have been.
Ubisoft went one step further than most with Assassin's Creed 2, creating a series of three short film prequels. They were made to both promote the game and provide Ubi with a stepping-stone into the film business. Given the quality of this and the Ghost Recon ad, we demand Splinter Cell next. NOW!
This one is weird for all sorts of reasons. Firstly, it features a guy wearing camoflage gear and a bright orange jacket and cap. Let's think about that for a second. And secondly, it revels in the father/son bonding of a good dose of animal murderising with such hilariously grim relish that we swore there had to be a punchline coming. Turns out there wasn't. It just wanted to be disturbing at us.
Two Halo 3 clips, one a traditional game ad, and one from Neil Blomkamp's fantastic short films (which in turn led to the even better District 9). The museum ad is pretty divisive. People either find it stirringly emotional or mortifyingly pretentious. Meiks and I are definitely in the latter camp, and much prefer this version, from the comedy legends at Consolevania.
More from Halo, and that means more grim and gritty, pseudo-heartstring-yanking manly tragedy. Which just doesn't sit right with me when we're talking about a game full of purple explosions and squeaky-voiced battle-Jawas.
Yet more Halo, yet more of the kind of moody, stylised bleakness that you'll very rarely find in the games. Still, the production design on this one is fantastic.
Okay, so we're sort of cheating with this one, as it isn't actually a live-action trailer for the game. It's a live-action trailer for the live-action movie Capcom is making to tie into the game. It looks like a no-budget carnival of gleeful Japanese zombie excess, and thus is the kind of stuff my dreams are made out of.
But what do you reckon? Disagree with me on the quality of any of these? And do you think live-action trailers are the way of the future, or just a tacky fancy-dress-style way to appeal to mainstream audiences? As ever, let us know in the comments, or on our really rather excellent community areas on Facebook and Twitter.