Ostensibly an awards show, the annual Spike TV Video Game Awards garner as much attention, sometimes more, for the trailers that pepper the live two-hour television show as they do for the developers, their games and the awards they win.
It's the exclusive premieres and new looks that the folks behind the VGAs seem most vocal about in the lead-up to the show.
This year's show is no different, with at least nine new trailers premiering during a show hosted by Samuel L. Jackson. Former VGA hosts from previous award shows, including Jack Black, Zachary Levi, Neil Patrick Harris and Snoop Lion, will also join Jackson on stage throughout the night. The show will even let viewers have a little bit of control of what happens during the VGAs by using Microsoft's SmartGlass app.
But all-star celebrity host and on-stage lineup and neat new viewer interactions aside, the real celebrities of the evening, for better or worse, will most likely be trailers for games like Tomb Raider, The Last of Us, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, Gears of War: Judgment, BioShock Infinite and Destiny, and peeks at new content for both Halo 4's Spartan Ops and Assassin's Creed 3.
Here's a look at the 14 trailers we saw during last year's VGAs and what happened to the games they heralded. Spoiler alert: Nearly half of the games haven't come out yet.
Alan Wake'S American Nightmare
The promise: In the trailer we're promised a return to the landscape of Alan Wake, a world where fiction and dreams can come true and light and darkness are wrapped in perpetual battle. The video wraps up with an Xbox Live Arcade logo, hinting that the game won't be a full-blown retail release.
The delivery: The game, a downloadable follow-up to Alan Wake, arrived early this year to fairly good reviews, delivering a narrative more driven by action than story.
The Amazing Spider-Man
The promise: The Amazing Spider-Man's trailer shows a New York City under siege with Spidey as the city's only hope. The game comes across as a plot-driven action title with plenty of web swinging.
The delivery: Arriving on time this summer, The Amazing Spider-Man landed with mixed reviews. While the game "effortlessly nails the feel of being Spider-Man," it doesn't match that with smart dialogue or a well-pruned open-world.
The promise: BioShock Infinite's trailer is as gripping and poignant a video as you'd expect from the likes of Irrational Games. Packed with a barrage of gameplay and snippets of cutscenes, this was one of the best of the year's show. It gives players a taste of what's to come while cleverly avoiding any specifics, including a release date.
The delivery: Last year's VGA trailer came just months after a delay pushed the game back from March of this year to February of next. Where do things stand now? With a new VGA trailer looming, the first, and favorable, hands-on previews for the game hit today (including ours). Unfortunately, so did another delay, now pushing the game back to March 26.
Command & Conquer Generals 2
The promise: Produced by new studio BioWare Victory with Electronic Arts' Frostbite 2 engine, Command and Conquer Generals 2 looks to be a detailed, robust sequel to 2003's real-time strategy game set in a realistic splinter of the Command & Conquer universe. The trailer wraps with the promise of a 2013 release.
The delivery: While neither the game's release date nor its look have technically changed, Command & Conquer Generals 2 has undergone one very significant tweak: It's now set to be a free-to-play title. Speaking with Polygon, EA's Frank Gibeau said that the new game, now named simply Command & Conquer, will still have a single-player component and could incorporate units from other Command & Conquer games. The game's release date remains 2013.
The promise: Blizzard's Diablo 3 trailer opens with a telling of the Diablo lore, a narration backed by beautiful art, none of which comes from gameplay.That transitions to a CG cutscene from the game that sets in motion the story of Diablo 3. It's an artfully created mood piece that promises a game steeped in narrative.
The delivery: Diablo 3 arrived to overwhelmingly positive reviews, setting an "absurdly high bar for action RPGs." "It's rare," our own Arthur Gies wrote, "that high-profile sequels take 11 years to come to fruition, but Diablo 3 feels like all that time meant something."
The promise: In this announcement trailer, we're given a look at the concept behind Epic Games' monster survival game. Players scavenge, repair and fortify their base during the day and fight to survive at night.
The delivery: In the months leading away from the reveal, Epic Games hasn't spoken much about the game. Over the summer, developers talked a bit more about the PC exclusive at San Diego Comic-Con. They repeated that presentation during PAX Prime. Developer Cliff Bleszinski was attached to the project, but left the studio in October. We've reached out to Epic for a status check, and this is what they told us: "The team at Epic remains hard at work on Fortnite and we can't wait to share the game with the world in 2013."
The promise: Flashy, filled with blood and missing any sign of fetishized nuns, this Hitman video reminds us that Agent 47 is "the original assassin."
The Last of Us
The promise: Another stunning trailer, this one premiering Naughty Dog's first major game since the Uncharted trilogy. It's brutal, it's lush, it's filled with smart writing.
Mass Effect 3
The promise: A bombastic trailer shows Commander Shepard mounting an attack against a city-crushing creature and lesser enemies. The gameplay trailer wraps up with a March 6 release date.
The delivery: As promised, Mass Effect 3 launched on March 6 in North America. The game garnered both high praise from critics for a finely crafted story, and some player backlash for an ending that didn't deliver on the trilogy's ultimate promise of meaningful player choice.
Metal Gear Rising: ReveNgeance
The promise: This slickly produced trailer for the upcoming Platinum Games title gives us a glimpse of the game's plot and the many, many ways you can dissect an enemy with a blade. It also explains that "revengeance" is one part revenge, one part vengeance.
The delivery: Due out this February, the game sounds like a bloody, sword-slashing spectacle filled with equal parts revenge and vengeance, naturally. Our own Mike McWhertor played through a chunk of the game earlier this week and liked what he saw.
Rainbow Six: Patriots
The promise: Homegrown terrorists take to New York to toss business men out of windows and blow them up. Coming 2013.
The delivery: Things have been relatively quite on the Patriots front since the VGA showing last year. Three of the top developers left the team in March, but Ubisoft's CEO told Polygon last month that the game is still in development and could be headed for a next-gen release.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
The promise: The artfully produced fighting trailer doesn't really tell us much about the game other than that it's headed for a Holiday 2012 release.
The delivery: The fighter hit this September to fairly good reviews. Even the Wii U version, which arrived in November, technically beat the holiday deadline for release.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD
The promise: The announcement trailer for this downloadable game shows Tony Hawk skating the Woodland Hills warehouse from the original game, now in HD.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron
The promise: What's this? A full CG trailer for the upcoming Transformers game that makes me feel sort of bad for a fallen autobot? The trailer doesn't feature a lick of gameplay, instead using canned animation to promise the sort of epic Transformers experience that might transcend fandom when it arrives in the fall of 2012.
The delivery: The game landed smack-dab in the fall of 2012 as promised to high-average reviews, including ours, which read, in part, "Fall of Cybertron's relentless iteration and expanding scope set it apart."