Ranking the 10 best trailers from today's leaky, mostly craptacular Summer Game Fest

Jun 10, 2022

The Last Of Us Part I

Is Geoff Keighley cursed?

It’s the question we can’t help asking ourselves today, as the Game Awards creator’s latest big stab at seizing the “video game hype as video game entertainment” throne abdicated by E3, Summer Game Fest, appears to have been sabotaged from multiple angles this morning. It’s telling that the program kicked off earlier today with footage from two games (Street Fighter VI and The Callisto Protocol) that got their real debuts as part of Sony’s State Of Play show last week—and then ended with the “big reveal” of a PlayStation 5 remake of The Last Of Us that was already leaked online earlier today .

But even beyond that, Summer Games Fest felt deeply anemic, lacking even a single “killer app” trailer designed to get fans talking, a problem only exacerbated by the relentless pace of the show as a whole. (It’s worth noting that the far more leisurely “Day Of Devs” show that immediately followed SGF was a much more tantalizing showcase of genuinely interesting gameplay ideas—with way less pre-rendered footage and more, well, games.)

Even so, we’re committed to picking some wheat out of this digital chaff—selecting the best of the bunch (and also acknowledging Dwayne Johnson’s incredible ability at pitching as many products as humanly possible in a very short video message).

2 / 12

10. The Last Of Us Part I

10. The Last Of Us Part I

Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann ate up a hefty chunk of the end of today’s Summer Game Fest with a variety of Last Of Us updates, including showing off a standalone multiplayer game, and talking up the HBO TV show. (Including the first look at Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as protagonists Joel and Ellie, and the reveal that the games’ stars, Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker, will also appear in the series.) But the biggest reveal—at least, until that pesky leak—was the “ground-up” remaster of the original The Last Of Us, now billed as The Last Of Us Part I.

And … yeah, that sure was The Last Of Us, huh? Maybe we just have old eyes at this point, but the much-vaunted graphical updates over the game’s Remastered version from a few years back are almost completely unnoticeable, even when they busted out the side-by-side footage. The updates to the game’s combat AI are potentially more interesting, but we’ll have to wait to see how impactful they are to the overall experience when the game comes out … again … next year.

9. Highwater

Short and sweet, this climate change-based exploration/strategy game from developer Demagog has a cool vibe and a somber tone that we found appealing. It’s not entirely clear how the game itself will play—we got some Kentucky Route Zero feelings, along with possibly some stealth gameplay or combat?—but we’ll take a little mystery any day of the week amidst the hype.

4 / 12

8. TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge

8. TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge

As with lots of Summer Game Fest footage, today’s trailer for TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge—a deliberate throwback to the old Turtles-based arcade games of yesteryear—is piggybacking off of hype that’s already been built for the game. That being said, it’s neat to see franchise favorite Casey Jones in the mix, and even more neat to see the game employ six-player multiplayer, promising some serious on-screen chaos when the game arrives next week.

5 / 12

7. Marvel’s Midnight Suns

7. Marvel’s Midnight Suns

Before this trailer, we didn’t know that Spider-Man was in this game (a tactical combat game centered on the goofy-ass “dark magic” side of the Marvel world, from X-COM developers Firaxis), and after watching this trailer, we do know that Spider-Man is in it. More Spider-Man is a win, and, thus, so is this trailer. Also: Demon Hulk looking super goddamn silly, huh?

6 / 12

6. Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II

6. Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II

There’s a perverse obsession among Call Of Duty creators Infinity Ward with the idea that the series’ various shooterman characters exist in the popular imagination as anything more than “living” cameras with guns attached to them. (“Soap is back! Soap, baby, Soap!”) That being said, some of the extended footage shown off today from Modern Warfare II did look kind of interesting—most notably that level taking place on a rocking ship, with cover moving around in response to the roiling waves. Plus, there was a bit where the player shot a red barrel and made it explode—showing that this studio is still at the very forefront of revolutionary shooter design.

5. Neon White

There were a lot of games on display at Summer Game Fest that we might categorize as “anime as fuck.” (Also: a huge preponderance of Dead Space clones.) But none looked better than Neon White, which first got showcased at a Nintendo Direct a few months ago. We could take or leave all the “assassins in hell trying to kill their way to heaven” stuff, but the basic gameplay—a fast-paced shooter with card-based modifiers—actually looks supremely kickass.

4. Metal: Hellsinger

A good idea can overcome an ugly, generic look, which is what appears to be happening with this title from studio The Outsiders. The base premise is just too neat: A fast-paced shooter where you get more powerful the closer you stick to the beat of the pumping metal songs pounding on the soundtrack. At its best, this feels like it could be a worthy evolution of Id’s recent Doom games, especially with a whole host of notable metal singers supplying the tunes. This one’s got a demo that’s out today; we’ll be checking it out after we sign off the ol’ work shift tonight.

3. The Quarry

We’re cheating a bit, because we already know that Supermassive Games’ Until Dawn successor The Quarry is pretty great . Even so, this is one of the more energetic trailers that popped up today, pushing the game’s backwoods horror vibe, and centering Ted Raimi, who gives one of the game’s best performance. (It also has a really embarrassing line read from David Arquette and some of the game’s worst “funny, quirky teen” dialogue, but that might be a feature more than a bug when you’re talking about a game that’s at least partly about picking off semi-disposable horror movie teens.)

2. Witchfire

We’ll be honest: Witchfire had us at “summon a magical bell to deafen and then blow up the demonic hordes.” Out of all the games showcased at Summer Game Fest today, the Witchfire trailer is the one that made us want to get our hands on it today. Fast-paced and varied shooter combat, with lots of neat elemental effects—it just genuinely looks like a blast.

11 / 12

1. The Rock promotes Black Adam

1. The Rock promotes Black Adam

It’s sort a summation of Summer Game Fest as a whole that our favorite video from today’s roster wasn’t centered on a video game—or even on the actual trailer it was supposed to promote. No, we were most enthralled by a short pre-recorded clip from Dwayne Johnson, master pitchman, who not only talked up his upcoming Black Adam, but also managed to get in a major plug for an energy drink while he’s at it. (We’re shocked he didn’t manage to get his celebrity tequila brand in there, too.) All that, and he took time out to establish that Black Adam can kick Superman’s ass, which is that special kind of hilarious insecurity that can only come from the planet’s biggest man.

There were, of course, other trailers at Summer Game Fest today—including new footage from the upcoming Cuphead DLC, and a truly valiant PR effort to make the release of the Saints Row character creator, months ahead of its actual release, seem noteworthy. But it feels notable that we’ve been distracted, multiple times, while writing this ranking by that Day Of The Devs stream that’s been running in the aftermath, in a way that Keighley’s flagship show never grabbed us. After the previous avalanche of videos that barely qualified as more than mere commercials, it’s nice, and a little shocking, to see this event host something that feels like an actual celebration of video games, instead of a celebration of the marketing monster that surrounds them. If there’s an actual soul to Summer Game Fest, it’s there, not in Keighley’s firehose of lukewarm advertorials.

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