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Never Trust A Trailer: Video Games
  • Generally speaking, many developers like to take a screenshot of the game that was generated over the course of several minutes by a supercomputer and imply that it will look just as good at home with a smooth frame-rate. Such screenshots have been dubbed Bullshots by Penny Arcade. One was Aliens: Colonial Marines, where disparities between the trailer and the actual game were so great that Sega and Gearbox Software were hit with a false advertising class-action lawsuit. It wasn't just the trailer that was manufactured to look better than what the game actually provides, it was the press demo as well. The version that all the journalists got to play featured vastly superior AI and many features that don't even appear in the actual game.
    • People are paying attention to the disparities a lot more after a FPS game shown at E3 2013 was discovered to have a button prompt popping up on screen that was designed for PC controls, even though the player at the event was using a controller.
    • The Kinect isn't immune to the trailer lies either. People were able to tell that the games shown off during "play" time were just recordings and the player awkwardly tried to time his movements with ones made in the game.
  • The trailer for RuneScape. It shows a warrior, an archer, and a mage having an epic duel with a villain. Once the villain has been killed, they fight off a skeletal horde followed by an intimidating skeletal dragon eating the camera. The armor the heroes wear? Not available in the game. The evil villain? Never mentioned. The skeletal horde? Not a quest. The skeletal dragon? Not an enemy.
  • Horror indie game Anna has quite the flamboyant, care free trailer. Depicting a scenario where the player investigates the room he's in while apparitions begin to assault the camera, as intense events pop up one after the other - like the distortion effect, which does not even exist in the game - that the trailer totally forgets to tell the consumer that the game is, in fact, of the puzzle genre, not adventure. The player will spend most of hers/his time trying to solve Moon Logic Puzzle in the most smallest and darkest of places, while some event may pop up per 30 minutes of gameplay.
  • Even this trailer for the upcoming indie game Super Time Force got almost everyone crazy about it, Viewers who watch it were expecting the game to not just be a sample pixilated shooter game, but to have possible animated sequences that reminiscent the Adventure Time-like art style and humor which was shown. But sadly, It turns to be a false joke the creators just pulled out in front of their faces...
  • In Dragon Age II's "Destiny" trailer, Hawke is fighting the Qunari Arishok and uses a powerful spell where he sticks his arms in a portal and two ginormous energy-hands appear behind the Arishok, at which point Hawke proceeds to kick his ass. No spell remotely similar to that appears in the game. The trailer also made it look like the Qunari would be the main antagonists, when there isn't really one.
    • The spell Hawke uses on the Arishok is the animation that plays if you kill an ogre with the Crushing Prison spell. However, ogres are extremely rare enemies, and the animation still can't be used with the Arishok.
  • World of Warcraft has had a few, mostly due to content being cut at the last minute.
    • "New dances" for the players were cut from Wrath, yet still played in the early advertisements.
    • Don't even mention them taking out aerial combat...
    • Catacylsm showcased the new Path of the Titans system, which would, with the help of the new Archaeology profession, help streamline the character by adding new sidequest-only glyphs. It was converted into the Medium Glyph system, at least for the moment.
  • Almost every PlayStation 1 game that contained CGI cutscenes was made to look like that's what the gameplay would be like. While this wasn't exclusive to PSX1, the storage capacity of the CD compared to the relatively weak real-time rendering power led to this happening a lot.
    • This problem was bad enough to the point where several game companies got in trouble for deceptive advertising (leading consumers to believe the CGI scenes was how the game would look during play) and they now have to show at least one in game screenshot.
  • The initial release trailer for Battlefield Play 4 Free included a scene showing combat on the Operation Road Rage map from Battlefield 2, yet the current playable map roster only includes the Karkand, Sharqi, and Oman maps (again from BF2).
  • The trailer for the original Phantasy Star Online showed a scene where characters had to work together to push a large object. That never happened in the game. Also, two large enemies, one that looks like a mantis and another a giant ape, were seen in what would be the first Forest area of the game. The mantis-like enemy never appears in the forest (you wouldn't see it until the cave level), and the ape-like mob didn't appear until the second forest area.
  • Taken to a science by Metal Gear director Hideo Kojima. Hideo Kojima claims he hates making trailers, because Trailers Always Spoil. He says the only way out is to make deliberately misleading trailers - hence his embracing of this trope.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 2, the main character was going to be the new character Raiden, but the general expectation of the audience, furthered by very selective news releases, was that it would be Solid Snake. Konami released extensive gameplay information and footage, but only from the game's prologue segment, when the player really does control Snake. When video was shown from later in the story (when Raiden would be the main character), footage was edited together, using out-of-context clips and dialogue, to almost completely hide the real main character from the audience — except for a few teasing flashes of his face behind the mask of a ninja. One scene showing Snake fighting the boss Fortune was footage from a hypothetical sequence serving as a metaphor for the Mind Screw the main character was suffering, and the real battle was fought by Raiden.
      • The trailer for Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance ups the deception to eleven. It interweaves clips from the main game with clips from the VR missions, where Snake moves in flat-shaded environments that form and unravel around him. A scene shows a soldier disintegrating into polygons; another even shows the included Evolution Skateboarding demo, with Snake as a player character. Meanwhile, characters say lines like "Don't worry, it's a game, just like usual", "Whether this is real or a bad dream, I'll keep watching you till it's over", "Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between reality and a game", "It's like being in a nightmare you can't wake up from". The entire trailer seems deliberately made to suggest that, during the game, Snake will realize that he is a video game character living in a virtual world, and he will first have to escape the boundaries of the game, then get out of the console or computer itself.
    • The Metal Gear Solid 3 trailers do this trick again, but portray final boss The Boss as a heartless Big Bad, nearly killing Snake and shooting out his eye, causing him to wake up in a cell from a terrible nightmare. In game, the Big Bad was Volgin, who was only shown in the trailer once; the eye was not shot out by The Boss (instead, by Ocelot, who wasn't even deliberately aiming at Snake.) — she merely pointed a gun at him; and the nightmare wakeup was from a near-comedy sequence resulting from a Dream Sequence minigame.
      • The deceptive editing of the trailer of MGS2 was parodied in the very beginning of MGS3, where when you first land in the jungle (after selecting "I liked MGS2" from the New Game menu), Naked Snake is wearing a convincing "Raiden" mask, likely causing more than a few fans' hearts to skip a beat.
      • It gets more blatant during the opening theme song! Just take a good look at Snake, and you'll realize a few scenes are basically Solid Snake with facepaint. The MGS2 Sneaking Suit is even visible briefly, though it never makes an appearance in game.
      • An American commercial listing the reviews the game got ended with the line "Snake is back", tricking people into thinking that they'd be playing as Solid Snake, when really they'd be playing as Naked Snake (Big Boss).
    • Metal Gear Solid 4 trailers showed Snake in the Middle East, quietly committing suicide. The scene in the finished game was - modified. The most hilarious example is the so-wrong-it's-awesome 'Summer Blockbuster' trailer, which cuts the gameplay footage together to make it look like a testosterone-pumping action flick. "Evil is powerful - but courage is Solid", booms the narrator, before Snake proudly proclaims to the narrator, begging for one man to save us all, "Sounds like the perfect job for me". In context, he was responding to Meryl saying that the only person who'd go on a specific mission is someone who wanted only to die. After playing the game you'll either find the trailer sick or squickily hilarious.
    • Played straight with the trailer marketing for Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, except for one instance: Pretty much a lot of the trailers have tanks and other vehicles going through areas when they weren't actually present in the game (eg, the line of Tanks and AP Cs crossing Los Cantos), although Miller's speech with Snake in the Tactical Espionage Operations trailer was indeed in the game itself. In addition, there was a scene where Big Boss walks by some soldiers on Mother Base's deck with Kaz looking down ashamed that, although the scene itself doesn't actually appear in the game, it was hinted at in the second Stinger ending where Snake has to make a speech to his soldiers announcing the formal creation of Outer Heaven.
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was shown at first as a seperate IP; however, plenty of hints in the trailer were caught by savvy gamers, and when it was revealed, I Knew It was a common thought. This may be his greatest masterpiece of Never Trusta Trailer.
  • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness both lampshades and subverts this trope within the game itself. The main storyline of the game is broken up into fourteen different episodes. At the end of each episode, Etna narrates a ridiculous trailer for the "upcoming episode", where each one is for a different off-the-wall series starring her as the main character. Examples include "Hyper Dimensional Demon Gal Etna", "Space Detective Etna", and "Fire Chef Cooking Gal Etna".
    • It subverts the trope when one of the crazy trailers is, of course, an entirely accurate preview for the upcoming episode.
    • This tradition was resurrected for Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice, with a different character voicing each 'Next Episode' spoof, each of which was declared to be the 'Final Episode' of the imaginary series. And, true to the tradition, the ACTUAL Final Chapter had a completely honest trailer, right down to being declared as the Final Episode...
    • Continued in Disgaea 4, with each segment (Save for the last one) having little to do with the next chapter, and always involving Valvatorez's sardine obsession in some form or fashion.
    • Another example would be the game's introduction movie, which ends with a Team Shot including Axel, which might lead you into thinking he's a part of the team. He doesn't officially join until the post-game, and mostly plays a supporting role until then.
    • And in Disgaea Infinite leave the game on at the title screen and the demo will show a trailer for... Disgaea: Hour of Darkness! Laharl and Etna are not happy with the trailer, stating some things were lost in it...
  • The trailer for Half-Life 2: Episode 2 at the end of Episode 1 implies that Alyx didn't survive the train crash at the end of Episode 1 and this would drive the plot of the second episode. This spectacularly fails to happen.
    • Valve was so bothered that their trailers end up showing many scenes cut from the games that they never released a trailer for Episode 3, and don't intend to until the game is nearing release.
  • Press material for Iguana Entertainment's South Park game said that it would feature the boys going up against the son of Scuzzlebutt. In the actual game, you fight evil Living Toys instead. Additionally, the press mentions Cartman's mom being kidnapped by the alien visitors as part of the plot. During the actual mission against the visitors, she serves no plot importance, instead merely serving as a background character trapped in suspended animation along with other townspeople.
  • Trailers for Halo 2 implied you would be defending Earth, when in fact you spent all of two missions on Earth, and the rest on another Halo ring. And nobody was prepared for the Arbiter's introduction. The Broken Base had mixed opinions about this. Either Bungie was great for doing something different and having a generic defend the Earth storyline, or they felt incredibly betrayed by the "lies" Bungie gave.
    • You can't even trust the back of the box, in terms of the collector's edition, which also gears you up to save Earth from an alien invasion.
    • Halo 3 seemed to be going this route, but you actually did spend nearly half the game fighting the Covenant invasion on Earth and most fans knew the game would take place on the Ark in some fashion.
    • Played straight with the cutscene showing opening of the Voi portal: the first ever Halo 3 trailer showed Master chief looking at the structure from a cliff, while a huge Covenant fleet flies over his head and moves into position around it as the gateway fires up. If the actual game, the same scene is re-enacted with Master Chief looking from the cliff, while a human bomber wing flies to blast the hell out of the Prophet's ship as Lord Hood calls in an attack with several starships' MAC guns.
  • In the trailers for Portal they have a scene were the player has to outrun a crushing ceiling with spikes next to a pit full of flames. This scene does not actually appear in the game. There is a third-party add in, however, that does include it as a separate game from the regular game of Portal. It's a level add-on called Portal: The Flash Version Mappack, available from
    • Please see Descending Ceiling for another fan-made pack that includes this in its entirety (with spikes).
  • Time Hollow on the DS' trailer culminates with one of the main characters falling seemingly to her death, only for the main character to dramatically grab her hand mid-air, still falling. In-game the scene is never used, and while the girl does fall, all the main character does is reach out through a portal while time is stopped and pull her through.
  • Nintendo's ads for EarthBound pushed the Toilet Humor harder than anything else with the infamous "this game stinks!" ad campaign; it memorably declared its subject to be "the first RPG with BO", which it...isn't. As anyone who played the game will tell you, the humor is much more intelligent and subtle, with only a few potty jokes here and there. Financial reports indicate that Nintendo put millions into this misguided campaign. It backfired spectacularly and the game became a financial disaster for Nintendo, to the point where they had been highly reluctant to take another chance on the franchise.
  • The opening trailer for Oneechanbara Vortex shows clips from the game, including a rather cool scene of Aya saving Saki from an attacker by running into him with a motorcycle. Except that in the actual game, it's not returning Token Mini-Moe and Heel Face Turned ex-Big Bad Saki, but newcomer Anna who is saved in this manner.
  • Patrial example: the trailers and opening for Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World has Emil, Marta, Alice, and Decus all fighting, hanging around, and doing innocuous things like the main characters from the first game did in their opening, and generally giving you the false impression that the latter two are (or at some point would become) allies instead part of the game's Terrible Trio. Weirdly, they're also treated the same way in the closing animated even after they both died fighting Emil and Marta.
  • The Tekken 5 trailer. Four words: "Heihachi dead." No he isn't.
  • Duke Nukem Forever, being the 15-years-in-development and several-times-restarted game that it is, had plenty of trailers; only 3 of those trailers show the game that was released. Joe Wieder, an ex-employee of 3DRealms, has broken down and described the most famous trailer, the E3 2001 trailer. Most of what was shown was in fact playable, but even then, there were sequences scripted just for the trailer.
  • In I Wanna Be the Guy, the list of items in the game fulfills this trope. The trick? Most of it is in the game, just not as items.
  • Parodied and lampshaded in Kagetsu Tohya with the Imogirisou trailer and sidestory. The side story is unlocked with a bizarre dreaming involving a fake Shiki, murders, Akiha's ex fiance and numerous other things, and when the game starts it has absolutely nothing to do with anything in the 'trailer' dream. Shiki gets irritated at how the story he's in now is even less interesting than the one he had a dream about. For clarification, the side story is something of a Take That to another series of games that hasn't been released outside Japan, called Otogirisou, which is made by Chun-soft, rather friendly game maker to Kinoko nasu (he made a side story to their visual novel later too).
  • Bethesda's "Radiant AI" trailer for Oblivion... an entirely scripted series of events (which they claimed were dynamic and spontaneous) that never actually appeared ingame. False advertising, hooray!
    • An unintentional example: early trailers for the game prominently showcased the player exploring the city of Sutch...which was removed from the final game due to time constraints.
    • For Skyrim, pretty much every advertisement featured a badass Barbarian Hero decked out in an imposing suit of armour and a horned helmet going toe-to-toe with a massive dragon. The equipment the hero is using is available in the game...but it's some of the weakest low-level equipment around that most players will probably replace by the time they're ready to face a dragon head-on without help.
  • Trailers for the second episode of Tales of Monkey Island, Siege of Spinner Cay, explicitly show a scene with Elaine commenting on Guybrush's clearly infected hand. In the actual game, she's commenting on his lack of a hand, as he instead has a hook there - the hand gets chopped off in the first two minutes of play. Presumably Telltale deliberately lied to keep this twist as a shock.
  • Trailers for World in Conflict show Pine Valley, Washington DC, and some random airbase getting nuked. Looking at the aftermath of one of said nukes a nurse states "We're seeing the same situation all over the West coast." The truth is that only one nuke is used throughout the entire game, in Cascade Falls, launched by the Americans, Pine Valley gets retaken (somewhat) intact, the Russians never nuke Washington DC and in fact never move past the Washington state border.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has a bit of this. Quite a few qoutes from the Infamy Trailer are never heard in the game(Too bad, considering how cool they are) and while Makarov is focused on the trailor, he has very little face time in the actual game("No Russian" being the most).
  • The Final Fantasy series has several examples
    • Final Fantasy VI / III: A claymation ad from the 90s had Mog as a casting director interviewing monsters auditioning and getting zapped (and implicitly rejected) by an increasingly frustrated Mog. Most of the monsters are in the game (although the ghost is actually a temporary party member), and while Mog can learn lightning spells, it's not really his signature move.
    • Final Fantasy VII: This trailer describes the Shinra Corporation as an "evil empire", and implies that the Meteor is being used by that "evil empire" to drain the planet's life energy. This trailer mentions that Aeris and Cloud's romance is doomed, however there isn't any romantic lake scene. The clip is in the game, but it's from Aeris's funeral scene.
    • Final Fantasy XIII was in development for years. What little gameplay snippets were shown in the earliest trailers made it look like a button masher action-RPG. Compare the early trailers to what the game turned out to be.
      • It also continues with the latest trailers that make a very large deal about the villain characters of Jihl Nabaat and Yaag Rosch, but together they have something like maybe half a dozen scenes in the actual game. Jihl and Yaag were given their own section in the official website before any other non-party character, making them the fanbase assume they were more important than they actually were. Jihl is also never even fought by the party.
      • Also, Dysley, one of the major antagonists, is only shown briefly in the trailers.
      • It goes even futher in the promotional material for Final Fantasy XIII-2. The trailers and commercials heavily featured the protagonist of the previous game, Lightning. She even appears as the sole character on the game's boxart. However, in the game itself, she is only briefly playable at the very beginning (as well as in a short DLC campaign) and appears briefly and sporadically throughout the remainder. The game's real main characters, Serah and Noel, were advertised significantly less.
  • By now you must have seen the Evony/Civony ads. It's for a strategy game. Nope, no romance with busty woman. Sorry, you'll have to move on.
  • Mass Effect 1 had a scene where "Hard decisions had to be made" and the Normandy not helping out the planet Noveria that was under attack and going to a different planet instead. This...never even remotely happened.
  • Used amusingly in the advertising for Mass Effect 2 in the promo showing a geth wearing Shepard's N7 armor with text indicating Shepard's status as Killed in Action. People assumed this referred to the end of the game, since it was well advertized that the character could die, or that it was just using this trope to get attention. When in reality Shepard dies at the very start of the game and is resurrected. And the geth in the armor? Appears in the one of the good guys, who found pieces of Shepard's armor when he/she had been killed and welded them on its frame as a form of tribute and honour.
    • Used less amusingly in the launch trailer for the game, in which Shepard gave his now famous "Fight For the Lost" speech. Despite this being quoted everywhere, it's not actually in the game at any point, technically making it Beam Me Up, Scotty! as well.
    • The "Dirty Dozen" trailer is by far the worst not only with several inaccuracies, but several different kinds of inaccuracies:
      • It shows Miranda and the Illusive Man trying to figure out why Shepard is going to various worlds recruiting a team of hardcore specialists, and wondering what or who it is he plans on using them to put a world of hurt on. In reality, that mission is given to Shepard by the Illusive Man, who also gives him the information on the specialists so he can find and recruit them and Miranda is part of Shepard's team from the beginning.
      • The scenes with the specialists themselves are wrong, like Grunt being on Tuchanka, whereas in-game, Grunt has never even been to Tuchanka, is recruited somewhere else entirely, and isn't even on the original list of specialists.
      • A lot of small scenes in the trailer are in the game but don't go the way they appear: Thane's debut is close but is much more cinematic in the trailer, and Grunt never kills a Thresher from inside its mouth.
      • The Illusive Man's holographic/haptic displays are extremely detailed, but in-game, none of these displays ever shows actual information and act as placeholders so the characters have computer screens to look at.
      • Finally, the trailer shows Shepard tackling Horizon with Thane and Grunt. While it originally would have been possible to do this, the final game doesn't let you recruit Thane before Horizon.
  • One of the trailers for Mass Effect 3 showed Shepard manning a turret on a Geth craft to shoot down a Reaper Destroyer. This plays out a bit differently in-game: Shepard jumps off the hovercraft, grabs a targeting laser, and goes head to head with the Reaper.
  • Trailers for Haze told of Shane being born in an anarchist hell where one of the highlights involve the Olympics being bombed. Turns out he was living comfortably with both parents alive and was dropping out of College to join Mantel.
  • The trailer for Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time showed a good-quality shot of a rip in the space-time continuum DESTROYING EVERYTHING IT TOUCHES, PLANET OR SPACESHIP. While the rip is shown in the game, it's disappointingly shown in a "flashback" video from Orvus, eons before the series. The video is also shown in a grainy quality. On the opposite end of the spectrum, though, the old "What a Wonderful World" commercial for Tools of Destruction gloriously averts this trope for the most part note  the majority of the commercial showed you exactly what you'd be doing in the first level of the game: shooting stuff, getting shot at by Tachyon/Tachyon's forces, grinding on the mag-train rail (and, by extension, avoiding running into mag-trains), lobbing fusion bombs at drophyd troopers, and freefalling. And blowing stuff up. Definitely blowing stuff up.
  • Mario Tennis for Nintendo 64. In one ad found in the Archie Comics and in magazines, a tennis judge has a plunger shoved onto his mouth, with the words "When Plumbers Lose" overscoring that. Then little text at the bottom mentions "exploding baselines", "a couple of angry plumbers", and that "you don't play it. You survive it." This is probably a more accurate description of Mario POWER Tennis, its GameCube successor, but the N64 game is pretty tame. The "exploding baselines" bit is a reference to the Bob-omb baseline judges that blow themselves up when you fault or go out, but they don't appear on every level. Some levels have Koopas that wave flags, similar to baseline judges in real-life tennis. The game did utilize The Power of Rock at times in its soundtrack, but that was about as extreme as the game got.
  • Commercials for Super Mario RPG erroneously referred to Exor as "Smithy the Sword". Combined with the fact that he was the most visible villain throughout most of the game and you didn't actually learn his name until the Boss Battle with him late in the game, he inadvertently became a Red Herring, making most players assume he actually was Smithy.
  • Paper Mario: Sticker Star's trailers made the game look like a return to the styles of the first two games in the series. The final game was very different from them. This is justified in interviews which cited Executive Meddling as the reason for the changes.
  • One of the TV commercials for The Sims 2 included a lady sim with a whip and very little clothing. Needless to say, this is not in the game.
    • In general, most of what was in this trailer was not in the game. The trailer included a lot more PG-13 content that wasn't included.
  • The debut trailer for Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm showed Konoha as a battle stage. It didn't make it in.
  • The TV ad for Lost Odyssey, primarily because of its use of the Jefferson Airplane song, "White Rabbit", but also because of the generally misty appearance of the game's FMV's, makes it appear to be a trippy, exotic experience, when in actuality it's a fairly solemn, Tear Jerker-filled story.
  • The four animated trailers of Infinite Space (including the one that is used as the opening in the game) spoil quite a number of major and minor events in the game, such as Kira's erasure from existence. However, some of these events appear differently from the game, both in the chronological order and how they happen. Some characters are also given different roles, most notably Valantin and Eremon.
  • This trailer for The Legend of Dragoon is mostly accurate, except for the fight bit at the end. The game is mostly serious, without any zany humor of that sort - certainly no Losing Your Head jokes.
  • A variation in the Ace Attorney games - if the opening cinematic of a case shows a relevant conflict to you, it will usually be composed of various case-relevant events and screenshots chopped together in a way to mislead the player. Notable examples include cases 4-1 ( where we're led to believe that Phoenix was the one who freaked out and swung the juice bottle), and AAI-5 ( which makes it look like Kay Faraday is responsible for setting an embassy on fire).
    • Both playable demos of Investigations 2 and Dual Destinies turned out to be vastly different from the actual first cases of those games. The former cuts to the case's first cliffhanger after John Doe's first testimony, making him look like the prime suspect leaving out several testimonies that point to someone else entirely, while the latter, among other things, implies the case is Phoenix's first trial since getting his badge back. The case that actually fits that description is a DLC bonus case.
    • Dual Destinies also had this trailer, implying Phoenix himself was the victim of one of the cases. This actually turned out to have been a scene created purely for demonstration purposes that isn't in the final game at all.
    • The reveal trailer for Dual Destinies, as well as the entire first episode of said game, is one huge example of this that's shoved right in the player's face in a reveal later in the game. You thought the courtroom bomber was Ted Tonate? Well, you're wrong.
  • LEGO Star Wars III's first trailer, shown at E3 2010, implied the game would have had all the main six movies from the saga, instead it was only based on The Clone Wars.
    • LEGO Indiana Jones 2's trailer said the game featured the four Indy movies and a Level Editor, and that was true, but the trailer also stated the game was for PC, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS, and it didn't make clear that the Nintendo DS version didn't feature the classic adventures (Raiders, Doom and Crusade) nor the level editor.
  • The trailer for Howard Glitch, which goes out of its way to introduce all of the passengers on the ship as well as the pilot, could easily be mistaken as a trailer for the YouTube game and not the project as a whole. The game itself is actually about escaping reality in the midst of a hopeless situation, and the only character you get you interact with in any path is the pilot. Only not really. However, the characters do hint at the various endings of the game.
  • Subverted with Command & Conquer: Generals: Zero Hour. The box art shows an American aircraft carrier being destroyed by a particle cannon. Cool? Yes. But completely implausible, as the Americans are the only ones with particle cannons in game. In fact, a GLA mission has you take control of an American particle cannon and destroy it in the game.
  • The opening cinematic in Left 4 Dead 2 probably counts, as it plays out much more like a trailer than its predecessor's, showing played-up versions of scenes from the campaign. (Oddly enough, unlike the original's, it is not available on Steam's trailers section.) It features a scene in a mall with the Survivors descending an elevator into a massive flood of zombies. That elevator is in the game, but the flood of zombies is not. They're also shown getting caught in the middle of a bridge bombing; in the game, they call it off at the beginning of the chapter.
    • The trailer also shows a piecemeal account of how the first campaign begins with the survivors on top of a hotel having missed the rescue, with the characters seeming to have already been traveling together with enough familiarity between them to make jokes, share supplies and so on. Yet in the game it's presented that the survivors just met, not even knowing each others' names, and the gradual trust and familiarity that gets built up over the campaigns was to be a major gameplay element.
    • The trailer showcasing The Sacrifice DLC is fairly accurate except for the end part. The trailer shows Bill activating a generator that is next to the bridge which raises it and you can see the other survivors quickly jumping on before it gets too high. When 3 Tanks appear to attack, Bill runs off to fight them with a molotov. In actuality, there's three generators that the survivors have to turn on to get the bridge to move and while one of them is near the bridge, it's next to a generator room, not the bar. The bridge also won't move up until all players are on the bridge and one of the players climbs up to flip a switch. When the bridge gets stuck, the person performing the sacrifice has to restart a generator and they don't have to fight the gang of Tanks at all (trying to do so would quickly get them killed and the game throws in more Tanks anyway if you killed some).
    • The Passing DLC shows Rochelle by herself having some friendly banter with Francis until she insults his vest, causing him to walk away in disgust. While the scene can happen in the game, there's dialogue with other survivors besides Francis and Rochelle and if the scene from the trailer plays in the game, Francis gets upset that Rochelle insulted his vest but he also tells her to go fill up the generator with gas.
  • While everything in the Lands of Lore 2 trailer technically was in the game, it's still deceptive. That's because everything the trailer shows is from the cutscenes, which look much better than the ingame graphics.
  • Sam and Max: The Devil's Playhouse: They Stole Max's Brain! was presented by all pre-release information as a Film Noir Pastiche, showing an angry, unshaven Sam charging around through Dutch Angles in the rain and the dark. It was!... for the first twenty minutes, after which it dropped all of the Film Noir tropes and turned into a straightforward comedy about a boy Pharaoh Reality Warper possessing Max's body and using Psychic Powers to brainwash Sam and turn Manhattan into Ancient Egypt. The screenshots on the official site were even rotated at Noirish angles and tinted blue, so there was no knowing about the Halfway Plot Switch.
  • The commercials for Grand Theft Auto III included a gorgeous white Banshee (a sports car based on the Dodge Viper) with a black stripe down the middle. However, the Banshees you steal in the game only have white stripes. Cue minor bitching from fans.
  • This trailer for Dead Space 2 portrays the game as an Action Shooter with mild horror elements, when we all know the true nature of the game.
  • The early trailers for Catherine implied that it was a bird's eye view horror-adventure-puzzler. Now we find out it's a Terrifying-Speed-Puzzle-Platformer. Yes, a platformer, one with vertical platforming about a guy running and climbing for his life in his underpants, all while trying to evade gluttonous demons and rack up a high score. Yes.
  • Aion was regarded as a new wave of video gaming featuring beautiful environments and characters flying freely...only to be shot down when you learn the game was a typical Korean grindfest, most of the world is hideous past the one or two areas shot specifically in the trailers, and flight is limited to certain areas in the game, and timed to one minute base, after which they'd disappear and send you plummeting to your doom. Granted, the character customization is one of the best out there, but that doesn't really change the fact.
  • The 1996 game Bug Too!. Compare this to the actual game and you'll see why.
  • The trailer for Super Scribblenauts shows a boy creating a huge, living skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Too bad you can't even make something remotely like that in the game, for if you type in "giant skeletal tyrannosaurus", all you get is a big normal tyrannosaurus with bones painted all over its body.
  • Suikoden V had you thinking that Queen Arshtat was the main villain of the entire game. She gets killed a few hours in, and it is actually one of the most Tear Jerker moments of the game.
  • The CGI trailer for the first Assassins Creed game had Altair using a crossbow to dispatch a crusader. He uses throwing knives, not a crossbow; that would not appear until Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, two games down the line.
    • The launch trailer for Assassin's Creed II. While none of the visual content is missing from the final game, the trailer is narrated by a much older Ezio with a rather different voice. Even after two additional games of Ezio getting older and Vocal Evolution, we've yet to hear him sound anything like that.
    • The trailers for Assassin's Creed III portray The American Revolution as a black and white struggle between the British and the Americans, respectively. The game's protagonist, Connor, spends a lot of these trailers making grand speeches on the virtue and righteousness of the American fight for freedom. In the game itself, the war is a morally grey affair and Connor is fully aware of this, though he is a bit more sympathetic to the Americans. Note that the developers flat-out told fans that the trailers were lying, possibly to make sure non-American fans weren't alienated.
  • Assassins Creed IV:Black Flag. See the official trailer (which is in the game) in all its shameless glory here.
    • Blackbeard never makes any kind of recruitment pitch for Edward Kenway. The four ways Edward gains crewmen are rescuing shipwreck survivors, recruiting sailors from captured ships, saving pirates from soldiers, and hiring in taverns. In every case, they happy to join his cause; they don't need to be sold on it.
    • Edward's flag has a small skull and nothing else for nearly the entire game. The iconic pirate flag with the Assassin logo doesn't appear until the very last Sequence (by which time Blackbeard is long dead). Even then, he hasn't actually joined the order, he's just agreed to help it.
    • Edward can't fire two guns at once, doesn't use any blunt weapons, and doesn't swing-kick from ropes. (A rope swing takes him high above the deck, or, if it's a man-'o-war, into the side of the hull, so there's no way he could hit anyone while holding onto it.)
    • There are no nude women in the game, in bed or otherwise. And even if they were, Edward is intensely devoted to his wife.
    • There's no mystery to Edward. He left Britain to become a privateer so he could make his fortune and build a better life for himself and his wife Caroline. After the wars ended, he, like numerous other privateers, turned to piracy. He doesn't make any secret of this, and there's no indication at any point that he has any secrets.
    • The part where a Spanish gentleman is walking arm-in-arm with a lady, and Edward kills the gentleman and takes the lady? Yeah...nothing even remotely like it happens in the game. No, forget it, don't even bother looking.
  • The "Blue Moon" trailer for Fallout: New Vegas featured a gorgeous view of New Vegas itself in the background of the scene. The city is completely illuminated, giving the impression that the game would include a completely intact pre-war setting which had survived any decay or damage from the apocalypse. In the actual game, however, only four buildings in the entire city are lit up, and the rest are in the same lack of repair as anything you would find in Fallout 3. It is revealed that the city, while surviving the nukes, went through hundreds of years without any maintenance until very recently when the casinos were fixed up and made pretty again.
  • The Castlevania Dawnof Sorrow trailer could be slightly counted as this. Most notably the area that you face one boss is changed, as well as other enemies in odd areas. It does stay away from showing any area that wasn't in the game.
    • The boss part is Gergoth (one of the mid-game bosses) being fought in not only the first area of the game, but one of the very first screens of the game.
  • Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain: Subverted in this trailer. The trailer makes it look like Mortanius is stabbing Kain in the back when he's actually pulling the sword out of him. But it turns out he's the one who arranged for him to murdered in the first place.
  • Transformers: War for Cybertron's opening depicts Optimus Prime and Megatron facing off while two Humongous Mecha (yes even compared to Transformers they are this) Trypticon and Omega Supreme prepare to fight. In the actual game, Optimus and Megtron never meet in person, nor due Trypticon and Omega Supreme, though they do still appear as the final bosses of both campaigns.
  • The Shadow the Hedgehog game trailers all show extensive footage of Shadow riding that snazzy motorbike of his. In the game, the bike is only available in one level, is a hidden item, and has probably got the worst handling of any vehicle in the game.
    • Trailers of the game also touted the morality system where you could alter the ending of the game based on your actions ("Will you be good or evil?"). In actuality, all the morality system did was alter the missions you took (for example, killing X enemies instead of just heading towards the goal), which meant you played the same levels multiple times if you wanted to see everything. The game also had 9 different endings based on the overall choices you made, which ranged from overely cheesy (from the pure good or pure evil endings), to the downright bizarre (evil plus DEATH TO ALL!). Not only that, but the game also had a "Last Story" segment that basically gave the canonical ending, which made the morality choice an illusion and a huge waste of time.
    • It also lied about the quality of the cut-scene graphics. 90% of the trailer is from the intro-sequence of the game. Worse, a few other seconds were taken from other cut-scenes mid-game, but upon playing the game, they are the only ones with high-quality CGI. That's right; the cut-scenes that were in the trailer were better animated than the cut-scenes not in the trailer.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) had trailers showcasing lots of features the game was supposed to have, but thanks to the game not being thoroughly tested and being rushed out the door for the holiday season, many of the features shown in the trailers are not present in the actual game. Even several pieces of animations are missing in the final build while the trailer showed them off.
    • There's also these two early trailers of Sonic Unleashed, which only shows off Sonic's speedy daytime gameplay...with the nighttime Werehog gameplay nowhere to be seen.
  • In an unusual twist, you shouldn't trust the demo of the PC port of Wipeout 2097/XL. It supported both the newfangled Direct3D thing and regular ol' software emulation, although the latter was a lot slower. Still, given that this was the era when only high end gaming rigs had a "3D accelerator card", this was a good trade-off. The release version however lacked the software emulation mode despite being identical in every aspect other than having more content. The game did not sell well compared to the PSX version, but leaving people stuck with a working demo and an expensive frisbee couldn't have helped.
  • The original trailer for Deus Ex was surprisingly accurate in terms of representing the plot, but had a few elements exaggerated for dramatic effect:
    • The trailer implied that you could pilot a submarine to and from an ocean base. In the final product, the journey happens entirely offscreen, and the shot they used to showcase this "travel" in the trailer is someone using no-clip commands to travel to the ocean lab with their flashlight turned on.
    • Lockpicking and hacking was shown to be near-instantaneous, with lockpicks cracking the doors and computers being hacked in less than a second. Even at Master level, neither lockpicking or hacking occur that quickly in the game.
    • The fight between the Triads is played up as a major moment, but it's a minor instance in the Hong Kong section, and is over fairly quickly.
    • Both this trailer and ones for the PS2 port Deus Ex: The Conspiracy heavily hype up combat with robots, and show scenes like robots being blasted away with a GEP Gun or multiple robots blowing each other up with missiles. While this does make up some part of the game, the focus is on the human enemies, and the level it showcases (Vandenberg) is hard to do in normal gameplay, as the building with the friendly security bots won't open up until you've taken out the enemy bots out front. And getting in a fight with a sentry bot usually results in a swift death unless the player has missiles or LAMs.
  • Some of the scenes from Deus Ex: Human Revolution's trailers:
    • The riot happens in the game, but you never see the Tyrants actually appearing on scene to crush the rioters. This is because two of the Tyrants are killed off long before the riots, and the actual event is quelled fairly quickly.
    • One of the trailers for the game is done up like a propaganda video for the Purity First movement, portraying the game as a straightforward fight against an evil corporation (Sarif) and it's twisted technology which has enslaved the world. In truth the game is far more ambigious with the main cast all working for Sarif (who turn out to not be so bad afterall.)
    • The trailer also shows an aircraft being shot down by a missile that take out one of its engines. In fact, the missile in the game never hits the aircraft, instead emitting an EMP burst that temporarily downs it.
  • This trailer of Record Of Agarest War makes it like the game is a naughty eroge on a home console and a turn-based strategy being its second purpose. While the game do features sim dating system and suggestive CG, the main plot of the game is a regular no-nonsense war and politic genre. There isn't even a full nudity in the game like how the triller misleaded by using pixelization.
  • Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet. None of its trailer is included in the game. It's as if it was a project proposal for the unique aesthetics and graphic style of the game.
  • Trailers for Kid Icarus: Uprising seemed to imply that the game's story could be compared to Zelda or other such series, featuring scenes such as Magnus and Gaol's confrontation. Instead the game is filled with Leaning on the Fourth Wall and Casual Danger Dialog.
    • Additionally, the trailers made it look like Medusa would be the game's Big Bad. Before the game is even two-fifths finished, it's revealed that Hades is the real Big Bad. This particular lie is continued by the game itself, which even rolls Bait-and-Switch Credits before the revelation.
  • Early trailers for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess featured a ton of content that was either removed or heavily altered in the final game. These include enemies, locations, scenes, and even a boss nowhere to be seen in later versions. In fact if you count aesthetic changes as well, it isn't an exaggeration to say that every scene in the first two trailers contained at least one thing not in the finished product.
  • The US TV Commercial for Metroid: Other M briefly retells Samus's backstory, including a part where a younger Samus is being attacked by Ridley, implying that the game would explore the K2L incident in more detail. This doesn't show up anywhere, even scenes where it would make the most sense.
  • Early Nintendo Power ads showed Wes, the protagonist of Pokémon Colosseum to be an outright villain. He's actually an Anti-Hero.
  • The trailer for Poker Night at the Inventory has a scene in which Tycho's eyes glow red like they do in the comic he's from. This animation was made without the game engine, his eyes never glow red in-game because the game engine does not support it. (Here is a link to the trailer, skip to about 0:39 for the scene)
  • The trailer for Team Fortress 2's "Mann vs. Machine" game mode depicts the RED and BLU teams working together in an Enemy Mine situation to defeat the robots that act as the antagonists of the mode. In the actual game, the players play as the RED team and the robots are the BLU team controlled by the AI. On a similar note, in the TF2 short Meet the Pyro, the enemy team is seen as cherubs in Pyrovision. When playing the game with Pyrovision on, everyone looks the same as they've always have, except now they sound like they're on helium.
  • If one who was unfamiliar with Spec Ops: The Line so much as looked at the box art (a man holding a gun standing solemnly with military stuff in the background), they could easily assume it would be another generic, Call of Duty-inspired, "America, Fuck Yeah!" FPS. Boy, would they ever be wrong. This is probably the most self-destructive example on this page, since new Call of Duty and Battlefield titles dropped around the same time.
  • Both Dangan Ronpa and Super Dangan Ronpa 2 do this to prevent spoilers. The trailers show all fifteen/sixteen students in the "Class Court" scenes to hide which one(s) are murdered. The free demo for the first game went so far as to change the victim of the first case.
  • Ghost Recon Future Soldier was shown to be the exact opposite of Spec Ops: The Line, going on about Hard Men Making Hard Decisions. Instead this squad is talking about what new gadgets they are going to field against their enemy ranging from optical cloak to state of the art unmanned units and behaves very much like a professional squad.
  • One of the reasons Brutal Legend didn't sell as well as hoped was because of this, the trailers, commercials, and demo made it out to be Devil May Cry or God of War in a heavy metal setting, when actually only the introduction mission is like that. The game itself is an RTS with hack-and-slash elements, which turned off a lot of people.
  • Psychonauts was marketed as a gross-out platformer. Aside from the brain-sneezing scenes and the Meat Circus, the game isn't gross at all. As well as spoiling what happens to the campers, trailers also implied that the camp counselors were responsible. In the game, only Coach Oleander actually has anything to do with the scheme.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum;
    • The Harley Quinn trailer ended with Harley turning flips towards Batman leading into a kick, and shouting "Die, you big ugly bat!", implying a battle between the two. In the actual game, that cutscene continues with Batman immediately grabbing Harley out of the flip and throwing her to the floor, and she never appears in the game again after that point.
    • Batman: Arkham Origins was built up as Bruce Wayne becoming the Bat by fighting off 8 assassins that Black Mask sicced on him, as well as having the deal with the Joker for an unknown purpose. While anyone observant enough could have figured it out with the clues left by the game's developers, the game starts off this way, until midway it's revealed that "Black Mask" was really just the Joker in disguise, who had kidnapped Black Mask days or even weeks prior to the game, and in reality it's Batman, fighting off the assassins, while trying to stop Joker from setting off several bombs on Christmas morning.
    • Deathstroke was heavily advertised as being in the game as one of the Assassins, as well as Lady Shiva and Deadshot. In the main game, Deathstroke's the first real boss fight, and after you beat him, the next time he appears is in prison at the end of the game. Shiva and Deadshot are both side missions, one being a group boss fight and the other a predator challenge.
  • In the trailer for American McGee's Alice, Alice and the Mad Hatter are shown having a tea party together, Alice glaring daggers at him as she grips her knife - just as the Hatter pulls on a lever and a circular saw comes out behind Alice to cut her in half. It's a dramatic and frightening scene, but there's nothing in the actual game that resembles it.
  • The box of Golden Eye 1997 features a screenshot of a gun looking completely different from its in-game model. This misled many players into thinking it was a hidden weapon in the game.
  • Similarly, the Super Mario Bros. 3 box features a screenshot from a level that never appeared in the final game.
  • Done on purpose in the trailer for The Halloween Hack. Radiation explained on his site that he only put in the humorous beginning scenes in the trailer to make everyone think it was going to be a silly hack.
  • This self-playing demo for Star Trek: Judgment Rites featured quite a bit of material (mostly 3D Animations and sprite poses as well as away team members) that, in this constellation, simply did not appear in the final game.
  • In an infamous case, the first trailer for Dead Island. The trailer implied a tense, heavily-emotional storyline that involved a young girl being bit by a zombie, running back to her parents' room and them trying to fend off a group of zombies while she turns and bites her father. The trailer ends (in its non-chronological order) with the infected child being thrown out of a second-story window and landing on the ground, then opening her eyes. This led some people to believe that this would be a game set from the perspective of the dead child, or the parents trying to survive. In actuality, the final game has nothing to do with this, and follows four other survivors. While you start out in a hotel room, you discover the bodies of the dead family members in the first level of the game. The resulting product did have its moments, but many fans agree it did not live up to the trailers' hype. The sequel pulled the same shenanigans, meaning the developers are doing this to A) Recreate the hype from the first game's trailer, B) Didn't learn their lesson, or C) are just trolling us.
  • Bioshock Infinite shows Elizabeth about to hang in a park in Columbia through a sniper scope before Booker rescues her. In the game itself Elizabeth is practically a messiah to the people of Columbia.
  • Trailers for the 2014 Rambo: The Video Game make it look like a normal first-person shooter (with some "kill cam" sequences), and completely hide the fact that it's in fact a "light-gun" style rail shooter (where the player doesn't even control the camera or the movement at all).
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