By Colby Tortorici
Time to dig deep into everyone’s favorite subject, marketing.
But today, we aren’t just going to be talking about any old type of marketing, no we would never. Today, we’re going to be discussing video game marketing, and I am offering you my very not subjective and factual view on the best video game trailer ever made.
Trailers aren’t usually a subject that is highly discussed in the realm of video games, but nevertheless, trailers remain a fixture in pop culture, with a movie like Avengers: Endgame having over 300 million combined views of its trailers that were only released on the Marvel YouTube channel. That doesn’t count all of the other trailer channels that posted them. Trailers are meant to hype up fans and get people who might not necessarily be fans to take some interest in whatever product they’re designed for. Today, we’re going to be looking at my favorite video game of all time’s trailer.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild had a new trailer debut alongside the Nintendo Switch’s reveal presentation event, and oh boy, was it a trailer. It did everything right to make fans even more excited than they already were, get people interested in the game, and give me goosebumps every single time that I watch it (and cry a solid 40% of the time, as well). Let’s dive into it and see just what it is that makes this trailer so impactful.
Breath of the Wild’s Switch presentation trailer, which we’ll be calling Big Boi from here on out, has just under a four-minute runtime. The trailer spends the first minute and a half or so showcasing the incredibly diverse world of Hyrule that the game is known for. It shows off the various different environments that players will be traversing through, all set to a beautiful yet sparse piano tune, which is a style that most of the game’s soundtrack follows. From there, the trailer transitions into showing off a bit of the series’ iconography in the form of the Great Deku Tree and Master Sword, and that’s when things get interesting.
Big Boi quickly transitions into a narrated segment, explaining the history of the royal family and Ganon’s clashes over the years. Does this mean that Breath of the Wild has voice acting, a series’ first? Well, quickly after, Big Boi transitions once more, and the music ramps up as a massive tower shoots out of the ground. And then, a shot of Calamity Ganon circling Hyrule Castle shows us what players will be up against.
Big Boi then dives into a montage of the different enemies that Link will be pit against throughout Breath of the Wild, which is set to an adrenaline-pumping background track that keeps viewers on edge. Enemies, Link’s abilities (both new and old), even more setpieces, and more beautiful wide shots are put on display here. And before long, we see the Great Deku Tree speaking to Link, proving that Breath of the Wild will indeed push the Zelda series into the future with the addition of voice acting.
Sure, this feature ended up with mixed reviews post-launch, but it was huge at the time. And then, we really start to dig into the story of the game and learn that something cataclysmic happened 100 years ago.
And then, we get arguably one of the most important reveals in the trailer, a look at Princess Zelda. As the deuteragonist of the game, she’s a major player in things, so finally getting a look at this incarnation of the princess was huge.
Moving further into the trailer, we get small glimpses at an explosive story set to some narration by the newly revealed Princess Zelda, with things coming to a huge boiling point before cutting to the game’s logo. Right after the logo shot, we get a quick look at Zelda looking at something before the screen cuts to black. From there, we get to see a final shot of Link, awakening from something as Zelda tells him to, “open your eyes.” And with that, the trailer ends.
In a short four minutes, Big Boi manages to do everything that a trailer needs to do correctly. It starts off by showcasing one of the title’s biggest selling points, the world. It shows off diverse landscapes populated by interesting wildlife. The second half of the trailer still shows off some great areas of Hyrule, but as a backdrop to explosive story segments. Throughout the trailer, we also get confirmation of voice acting, the reveal of Princess Zelda and a great look at what the whole game has to offer. If you aren’t sweating profusely yet, you’re incorrect and your sweat glands are not functioning properly.
Big Boi perfectly shows off everything that Breath of the Wild has to offer as a game, while still leaving a lot to the imagination. It gives interested, yet still on the fence, players incentive to pick it up. It is simply a masterful example of a trailer. So masterful, in fact, that I decided that it was relevant enough to sit here and pour out almost 1,000 words about it almost three years later.
Clearly, it was a well put together enough trailer that it left its mark. So, go buy a Switch and play the game. I might dare say that the game is as good as the trailer.
Yeah, shocking, right?