Honorable mention: although probably the funniest thing to come out of E3, Quantic Dream’s The Dark Sorcerer PS4 real-time tech demo doesn’t qualify for our pick of the show’s best cinematics. Find out what did below.
E3 happened last week. If you follow the gaming press, you already know how Sony pwned Microsoft in the next-gen console war, and that Nintendo has already left the battlefield. Or not, depending on who you read.
But outside the industry hoopla, E3 is all about games. And games marketing is all about the eye candy. Which is why we’ve waded through the scores of cinematics released at the show to pick our own top five.
No handhelds, no cartoons, some hitting below the belt
Before we begin: a few rules. Like last year, we’ve made our choices based on the graphical interest of the trailers, not how good (or how popular) we expect the games to be.
By and large, that means near-photorealistic animation, so don’t expect to see mobile or handheld titles like the new Super Smash Bros, no matter how mind-bogglingly exciting they may be for fans.
This is also a completely unscientific selection, and shamelessly biased. And some of these titles feature adult content, so you’ll need to be logged in to YouTube to view all the videos.
All clear? Good. Then on with the eye candy…
5. Halo for Xbox One
For our money, the new Halo trailer isn’t as good its predecessor. But then, Digic Pictures’ Halo 4 cinematic set the bar ludicrously high. 343 Industries’ teaser for the next game features some lovely simulation work, from cloth to sand and dust, and an impressive sense of scale. Just don’t call it Halo 5.
4. Mirror’s Edge 2
Personal bias, ahoy. The teaser for DICE’s new parkour-‘em-up is all in-engine footage, so graphically, it doesn’t quite compete with the pre-rendered big boys. But for our money, it doesn’t matter: this is one of the most distinctively art-directed franchises around – and even in-engine still looks plenty nice.
3. Watch Dogs
Digic’s teaser for Ubisoft’s open-world title comes on like the trailer for a thriller: not a terribly original one, perhaps, but a movie nonetheless. Proof that games can now take on Hollywood in terms of cinematic spectacle – or that developers should start looking elsewhere for inspiration? Who knows, but Watch Dogs sneaks into third in our list.
2. Final Fantasy XV
It may have gotten too big for its old title, but the increase in scale doesn’t seem to have hurt the former Final Fantasy Versus XIII. As ever, Square Enix’s character work and set pieces look sumptuous, but it was actually the environments in the teaser that really got our juices going.
1. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Money is the root of all evil. Blood is thicker than water. Digic creates incredible teasers for Assassin’s Creed. After last year’s E3 trailer for AC III, that the world’s premier cinematics house would create something incredible for Ubisoft’s nautical adventure is something of a truism – but its latest teaser for Black Flag didn’t disappoint. The horizon trailer, which showed the environments in glorious widescreen, looked pretty incredible too.
Do you have your own favourites from E3? Post them in the comments below.
Tags: 2013, 343 Industries, Assassin's Creed IV, best of, Black Flag, cinematics, DICE, Digic Pictures, e3, EA, Final Fantasy XV, games, halo, Halo 5, Mirror's Edge 2, Square Enix, teasers, top five, trailers, Ubisoft, videogames, Watch Dogs, Xbox One