10 video game trailers that misled fans


In the year 2021, players cock a suspicious eye at video game trailers and this is because we’ve all been burned by them, on more than one occasion.

Sometimes trailers promise things — mechanics, gameplay, general goodness – that the end release doesn’t contain. At that point players’ ire is so thick and rich you could drizzle it on pancakes.

What follows is a list of some of the most egregious offenders in this regard:

Fallout 76

What the hell, Bethesda? Why did you think the Fallout audience wanted an online RPG? Why did you think that by taking all of the things players loved out of a Fallout game – characters, story, fun – you had a sure-fire hit on your hands?

Even if players did want something like this, why did you think your janky Creation Engine was up to the job? And why did you produce a trailer that gave away none of the issues that players would invariably have with your game? Why did you make us think that Fallout 76 was the bomb? Just don’t do this sort of thing to the next Elder Scrolls game. Okay?

Crackdown 3

Proof, if any more proof was ever needed that the first Crackdown was lightning in a bottle, Crackdown 3 has to rank as one of the most disappointing sequels ever made. The graphics look last-gen, the mechanics and gameplay are no different than the first instalment in this franchise and the addition of Terry Crewes as a playable character was never going to set the world on fire.

Just look at the above trailer. Look at it. It promises players so much and yet the eventual release delivered on practically none of it. The only people who love Crackdown 3 are probably the people who worked on Crackdown 2 because now the answer to the question “what’s the worst Crackdown game?” is no longer their burden to bear.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

One of the most spat on games at launch in recent memory, Aliens: Colonial Marines is a mid-tier shooter that’s actually not too bad if (and that’s a big if) you didn’t expect what was advertised.

In the game’s trailer, players were treated to lush visuals, visceral shooting and a story that paid homage to James Cameron’s superb follow up to Ridley Scott’s amazing sci-fi horror. What they got instead were sub-par graphics, guns that felt light and listless, and a plot that had more holes in it than a block of Danish cheese. One can cite this game’s trailer as a major reason that Gearbox as a developer and Randy Pitchford as a person routinely aren’t believed when they announce something.

Watch Dogs

Ubisoft was the recipient of a lot of flack over Watch Dogs ahead of its launch. A lot of flack. And deservedly so. The publisher’s cyberpunk open-world adventure was the belle of the E3 2012, in no small part because its reveal boasted some of the most eye-catching visuals any players had ever seen.

What players eventually received included a massive visual downgrade. Don’t take our word for it; have a look at the video above this paragraph and draw your own conclusions.

Metal Gear Solid 2: The Sons Of Liberty

In the banner year of 2001 – which included the likes of Max Payne, Grand Theft Auto III, Devil May Cry, Animal Crossing, Silent Hill 2, SSX Tricky and IcoMetal Gear Solid 2: The Sons Of Liberty is still fondly remembered. This is impressive because its trailer misleads fans to the extreme.

The reason? We all thought we’d be playing Solid Snake for the lion’s share of the game. Instead, we were saddled with a bloke called Raiden for much of our time – a fact that didn’t go down well with either reviewers or fans. He was looked at as something of a wet sock, which makes the work of Platinum Games years later even more impressive; seriously, if you want to re-evaluate Raiden in terms of badassery, pick up a copy of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.

BioShock Infinite

Let’s be clear on this point: BioShock Infinite is a very good game. A very, very good game. Whether or not one thinks it’s a good BioShock game is up for debate. But it’s a very good game indeed. Problem is, it’s not what was promised by its initial reveal.

When Irrational’s first-person shooter (FPS) was first shown off, in greater detail than in its teaser, it blew players’ minds. Here was an FPS in which the player worked in tandem with an AI companion, Elizabeth, in which the pair could pull off eye-popping attacks such as electrocuting multiple enemies and creating a ball of molten metal that players could hurl at targets. What we got instead was Elizabeth tossing ammo at you. And that was it. Well, boo.

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

We’re going to go ahead and call it; Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is the worst game ever released with the words ‘Resident Evil’ in the title. Not only is it a bog-standard third-person shooter, but it’s also about as frightening as a Tupperware party at an old age home.

You wouldn’t know this from watching the trailer though. In the trailer, it looks like the action-packed lovechild of Resident Evil and Left 4 Dead. It wasn’t though. It really wasn’t. Hilariously, it was going to be Capcom’s entry into the esports circuit, which given the quality of the game and its sales, once again, it wasn’t. It really wasn’t.

Dead Island

Perhaps the most egregious example of a game’s trailer being almost nothing like the final game that arrived, Dead Island initially set out its stall as an emotionally driven, and rather adult take on the zombie apocalypse genre. Watch the trailer below and tell us it doesn’t break your heart.

What eventually saw release was a first-person adventure that, while not completely terrible, was absolutely nothing like the trailer had promised. Rather than being a complex story that tugged at players’ heartstrings, Dead Island was a testosterone-fuelled bro-fest, in which some characters yelled “Yeah bitch!” when they’d offed a target. Not what was promised by a long shot!


There are many reasons players have to hate on Kinect, but the first one out of the gate has to be the trailer for Microsoft’s hands-free interface. Watching this trailer years after the device’s release may stir some feelings ranging from ‘quaint’ to ‘you liars!’

The trailer promises fun for players ranging from the hardcore to the casual – straddling the audiences the Nintendo Wii had conquered a couple of years before. Kinect, once it landed in consumers’ hands, proved to be a device whose latency was just plain bad. For a hit-and-giggle, it did the trick, but for ardent gaming fans, it failed to cut the mustard. In fact, it failed to open the jar containing the mustard. There’s a reason Microsoft has abandoned it entirely.

Project Milo

Oh, Peter Molyneux. Peter. Oh, Peter. Why do you tell us fibs so often? We want to like you because it’s not like you haven’t produced some amazing games – Syndicate Wars, Black & White and Fable III among them. You know the industry and the trials and tribulations that face gaming development. We understand you have a difficult job. So why the need to lie?

Why the need to stand on a stage at E3 in 2009 and tell us about Project Milo, a purported AI that players would be able to interact with through the Xbox’s Kinect motion sensor? An AI that turned out to be an internal tech demo. That was never released. Instead, we got Fable: The Journey. Which was rubbish.

Oh, Peter.

Why Peter?

Stop it.


About Author

I've been writing about tech and games for around 20 years. Been playing games since I was tall enough to reach the controls on an arcade machine. Old enough to remember when games weren't something people yelled at each other about.

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