The trailer for the .hack//G.U. games revealed exactly who the eight Epitaph Users are and which Avatars they have.
TimeSplitters: Future Perfect deserves a special mention; if you can't do a puzzle in an early level, go to the main menu, wait for the game to go into Attract Mode and watch a character do it for you. It is a very easy puzzle, admittedly, but still.
One of the commercials for Final Fantasy VII showed Aerith's death scene, which probably helped cement its It Was His Sled status. In fact, for the European version of the game, a screenshot from the FMV immediately following her death (which shows Cloud laying her body in a pool) is on the back of the game case. It's not obvious enough to be a direct spoiler, but it does give a big hint.
Some would argue that being a spoiler, considering the existence of the Excellence Eternal, the Mid-Season Upgrade that only she uses, in Super Robot Wars R.
In actuality, the whole bonus segment in Original Generations were like an interactive trailer for Super Robot Wars Original Generation Gaiden, thus the main story of the bonus sections got carried over to the Gaiden. Including the death of Lamia Loveless. Her rebirth in different circumstances was still well hidden in the commercial videos. As well as the inclusion of the Cry Wolves of the MX series and the returnand redemption of both Axel Almer and Alfimi.
The trailers for Devil May Cry 4 gave away things like the true intentions of the Order of the Sword, the failure of an attempted Shoot the Dog, and the continued importance of the demonic katana Yamato. They didn't succeed in spoiling everything, but there was something of an Internet Backdraft regarding the final trailer.
Several previews also spoiled the big twist in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. on who the player character is.
Multiple previews for Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando had the amazing distinction of spoiling half the game's plot, including the thief's real name and gender (which you learn halfway through the game) and the purpose of the "experiment" (not referenced in-game until just before the final boss battle).
For the third game, the true nature of Dr Nefarious' plan and the literal mechanisation of the entire Tyrrhanoid race were similarly spoilt. These things are explained around halfway and two thirds of the way into the game, respectively.
Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn is notable for having a press release that basically outlined the entire game's plot. This included the revealing of the true identity of the Black Knight, which was never revealed in the previous game Path of Radiance, but also only revealed near the end of Radiant Dawn.
Although it's so disjointed that it may not be recognizable until you actually play it, the in-game trailer to Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner pretty much shows the entire game, every stage, every boss fight (with the exception of the Final Boss). It also shows pretty much the entire story, including clips from the Ending.
The trailer for Starcraft's Expansion Pack, which features several clips of a military funeral interspliced between the imagery of awesome carnage. The fact that the coffin had the banner of the United Earth Directorate on it meant that a major UED character was going to die, though it didn't become clear until the second-to-the-last Terran mission.
The manual for Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer advises you to read certain pages only after you've seen the twist at the end of act one. This would have been useful advice if the Spirit Eater curse hadn't featured so prominently in the game's prerelease hype.
The DS remake of Final Fantasy IV runs into this headlong with its opening cinematic, its instruction manual, and even the back of the box. Square Enix must feel that all the info for a game approaching its twentieth birthday must qualify as It Was His Sled.
Then again, the instruction manual originally packaged with the North American SNES version included a walkthrough that spoiled the plot for about half of the game; just flipping through it randomly could spoil at least three Plotline Deaths for you.
The manual spoiled even further by giving item lists that mentioned every character class in the game that could equip them. So anyone who read it over and noted that they haven't seen anyone with the class Lunarian yet could easily figure out that anything before The Giant Of Babel, the major dungeon following the recruitment of said Lunarianwould not be the final dungeon.
In Time Hollow for the DS, you get a fleeting 'flashback' of someone falling past the top of a window, and from your perspective all you can tell is that the person's probably female and a student at the high school. Unless you watched the opening trailer, in which case you know who it is right off the bat, making it painful whenever Ethan recalls it and thinks "GEE I WONDER WHO THAT WAS."
The blurb on the back of the case for Rondo of Swords spoils that you're actually playing the prince's body double, not the prince himself. This isn't as huge a spoiler as it sounds — it's revealed after the very first stage — but the game was very obviously written with the intention of keeping it a secret until this (early) reveal.
The manual for Crash Twinsanity spoils almost everything significant to the plot in the first three quarters of the game.
Referenced in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials And Tribulations, Godot mentions he doesn't like spoiling himself with trailers, and "we'll just wait and see how the movie turns out tomorrow, won't we?" when he refuses to reveal something until the trial starts.
Ace Attorney Investigations 2 would later play this straight. The trailers make a big deal of Edgeworth being offered to become a defense attorney. But the actual offer itself, coming at the end of case 2, is a majorWham Line if you don't see it coming. It's even spoiled at the end of the demo too. (In fact, though the demo comprises of basically the first half of Case 1, the exchange at the end doesn't take place until the end of Case 3)
The instruction manual for Totally Rad reveals master magician Zebediah's secret at least three times until they actually lampshade this trope.
One of the plot twists in Jak II: Renegade that couldn't be seen coming three miles away is that the game is set in the future. Unless you watched any trailer, of course, where it's explicitly stated by the characters.
When The Twin Snakes, the Metal Gear Solid remake for the Nintendo GameCube, was wrapping up production, several trailers were released spoiling the gene storyline (ingame, no mention of it is made until near the end) and dropping an extremely obvious hint as to who the Ninja was by playing a later clip over his introductory scene.
Ninja: Do you remember me now?
Snake: It can't be... you were killed in Zanzibar Land...
Not to mention Snake being tricked into activating Metal Gear by accident.
Terminal: PAL code number three confirmed. PAL code entry complete. Detonation code activated.
Similar to the above Phantom Menace and Gundam SEED examples above, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake features a track labeled "Natasha's Death" (Gustava Heffner in the re-relased versions).
Konami went to great lengths to keep Raiden a secret until the release of Metal Gear Solid 2. Unfortunately, even that wasn't enough to get around different release dates and almost every British gaming magazine which ran a story on the game that featured that. In an amusing inversion, however, many magazines were able to avoid spoiling the plot by making out that Snake had died on the Tanker, something the supporting characters treat as correct until halfway through.
The instruction manual also spells out that there will be a part of the game where you play as someone named Raiden who defuses bombs and uses a sword (it gives the controls for both). Although gamers reading it might assume that this will be a small part of the game, not the majority. But by the time The Essential Collection for PS2 came out, everyone knew about Raiden, so the manual for Metal Gear Solid 2 mentions that you will be playing as Raiden for the majority.
In Metal Gear Solid 4, the Metal Gears themselves don't play much of a role until Act 4. Screenshots showed Snake in the cockpit of a reactivated, railgun-less REX and RAY in a snow-covered harbour. There's not much of their relevance to the plot that isn't spoilt by those facts.
Think that's bad? Before Sonic Unleashed was released, there was at least one trailer for EACH ZONE except the last, on BOTH versions of the game. That's bad. What's worse is this: The trailers were each around a minute long, and usually showed both day and night stages. Each zone in the PS2 version (save one) has ONE primary day stage, that can be easily beaten in somewhere around three minutes (a requirement for all medals, actually). Therefore, at least a sixth of each stage was spoiled. In at least two cases, this included the GOAL RING.
Sonic Generations was also bad about this. For a game all about reliving Sonic's history, they revealed literally every stage, boss, and rival in the game except for the final boss (the only one not to be from a previous game) in the trailers leading up to release.
Years before, one of the ads for Metroid 2: Return of Samus showed a clip of the fight with the final boss of the game.
Done in the opening sequence of The World Ends with You. It spoils the whole plot, alright, but the player won't realize it until they've beaten the game.
Similar case with Deadly Premonition - the first profiling sequence is a lightning-speed montage of every major twist and plot reveal.
Maximo plays with it. It goes out of its way to spoil the plot twist that Sophia's Achille's Decoy Damsel for Genre Savvy players, even mentioning it in her manual bio... and naturally she's none of the above.
The Japanese trailer for Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky, which was also dubbed as an American ad, shows Grovyle, who is smiling at the main characters who are clearly worried about him dragging Dusknoir through the time portal. Well, there goes half the plot.
The third anime special, note not actually a trailer, but still a preview released around the same time as Explorers of Sky, reveals that the hero, Grovyle, and Dusknoir are from the future, and that the hero will erase himself from the timeline to stop Primal Dialga.
This trailer from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Take the standard trailer here. Pretty much half the late game gets given away, and the Gamespot trailer actually goes further by showing even more. For that matter, one of the pre order sleeves for the game actually had a picture of the final battle on the front...
Taken even further for the Wind Waker HD, which not only has a big picture of the final boss battle on the cover (in the special edition version), but also a free figurine of said boss which you can clearly see in the packaging.
Early promotion material for Half Life 2: Episode 2 revealed that Alyx dies, or at the very least gets incapacitated, although it's also avoided in that Alyx also gets better and her "death" (falling off a bridge in the promo) is totally different in-game. The trailer also reveals that the G-Man is back in a speaking role after being sidelined for the last game.
To be fair, the scene where Alyx is stabbed happens about ten to fifteen minutes into the game.
Quake IV has a twist where your character is captured midway through the game and turned into one of the bad guys. This would have been surprising if the press releases, trailers, and the back of the box didn't give it away.
Final Fantasy XIII's trailer has a prominent scene with all six characters flying on the back of a monster thing. Playing through the game, you get to a part where Sazh "commits suicide", but this scene hasn't happened yet. Clues you in that he's still alive!.
A Also, he get's his summon right before that seemingly happens wihtout giving you a chance to use it. It was shown in use in the trailers.
Final Fantasy VI included a map of The World of Ruin, which is what the game world turns into halfway through, with the game. It also gives away the magic system (which has some storyline significance). Not to mention listing all the characters with mini-bios (giving away a few Heel Face Turns) and their abilities. The latter gives away the twist that Terra is a half-esper.
Call of Duty - Modern Warfare 2 had several trailers. The last one, released several months before the game came out, showed Washington D.C. on fire.
Shenmue's trailer spoils that Lan Di is seeking the mirrors' power, as well as an incident late in the game in which Nozomi gets kidnapped by Terry's gang.
Shadow of the Colossus had a trailer that ends with a montage showing Lord Emon looking around the shrine of worship, Mono sitting up from her resting place, and Wander lying on the ground with HORNS! Of course the last part goes by extremely quick, but keen eyed viewers of the trailer either had an idea of what the ending was about, or at least got an early head start on how the game would tie into ICO (which before the game's release, was said to have no connection to the latter title).
In a possible attempt to subvert this trope, the E3 reveal trailer for Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood featured an attack on the Papal carriage in 1503 Rome, the city and year in which Pope Alexander VI, aka Rodrigo Borgia, died. While both hold true in the game, unfortunately the circumstances are far less epic than the trailer implied.
Played more straight with some European versions of the "Story" trailer (narrated by Cesare Borgia), which concludes with a showdown between him and Ezio Auditore atop a castle wall. The US version does not name it, but the European versions identify the setting as 1507 Spain, the year and country in which Cesare Borgia died in Real Life, de facto confirmed when the developers started name-dropping the site as Viana no less. Moreover, this showdown was much more accurate to the actual in-game event than the (completely inaccurate) E3 reveal trailer had been.
Divisive though it is among gameplay critics, there's little doubt that the developers of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed wanted the Apprentice Force-pulling a Star Destroyer out of orbit to be a significant point in the story. Not only was it depicted on the back of the box, it was also used for giant promotional posters designed specifically to be positioned at the entrance to game shops.
Zig Zagged (I think) in two different trailers for Professor Layton and the Lost Future. One shows Future Layton's clothes being flung away as a reveal. Anyone who played the last two games would have expected it to be Don Paolo in disguise, but it's actually Doctor Stahngun/Dimitri Allen. Quickly afterwards, however, Don Paolo reveals himself to be disguised as the real Layton. In another trailer, Layton denounces Stahngun as the villain when he discovers that he is running the future London's mafia, however, the true villain of the piece is Clive.
Mass Effect 2's previews, especially its "Fight for the Lost" campaign, gave away several plot points that the game's writers appear to have intended to be surprising reveals. Jack's sex and Archangel's identity are kept secret in-game until Shepard actually meets them, and the recruitment dossier sets Shepard up to recruit Okeer instead of Grunt; unfortunately, all three characters were featured heavily in the game's marketing, with Jack and Grunt even having their own interview-style promotional videos. And of course, the only way to somehow avoid knowing that Shepard is dead and the Normandy was destroyed at the beginning of the game would have been to avoid every piece of media BioWare released at the time of the game's development.
A trailer for Super Smash Bros. Brawl showed some icons that accidentally revealed that Ness, Jigglypuff, and Lucario were playable; all three were hidden characters in Brawl.
One of Brawl's early E3 trailers revealed that Solid Snake was a playable character.
The opening cinematic of the game blatantly shows hidden characters Marth, Ness, Snake and Sonic.
Resident Evil 5 had fans upset about Jill Valentine being killed prior to the story. One of the trailers had Albert Wesker removing the hood off one of his goons claiming it to be "One big family reunion", making it obvious who it was.
In trailers for Marvel vs. Capcom 3, a certain combo count would result with an onscreen superlative of VIEWTIFUL! Take a wild guess as to who was revealed in a subsequent trailer.
To be fair, he also appears on the cover art too.
Trailers for Portal 2 clearly spoiled the fact that GLaDOS was still alive and would still be the main antagonist of the game. At least for half of it.
Though, it's only a spoiler if you didn't believe the song at the end of the first Portal: Still Alive
Extremely blatant in the case of Kid Icarus: Uprising. The information and trailers released prior to the game show off pretty much every stage, boss, character, and plot point up to Pit's final battle against Medusa. In addition, less than a month after the game's release, several new trailers came out, spoiling just about everything else.
While not trailer-related, Sega of America is a huge offender when it comes to media and ads related to Sonic games:
The American manual of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has the story, but when you turn the page... BAM! The second picture shows a snapshot of the start of the final boss of the entire game. If you read the manual before turning on the game, good luck getting to it.
American Sonic manuals tend to have lists of all of the game's levels (even the secret final ones that must be unlocked), with screenshots and descriptions.
A Sonic & Knuckles ad in English shows screenshots of Sonic and Knuckles' respective final bosses.
Metal Sonic is supposed to be the final boss of Sonic Heroes and the secret Big Bad manipulating things behind scenes, and the game and its manual treat him as a mysterious figure, refusing to call him by his true name until the final moments of the game. Despite all this, Sega of America heavily promoted the game with Metal Sonic's image.
Elise's bio in the English website of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) gave away the fact that she has Iblis inside and would release it upon crying. In-game, this bit of information is kept a secret until the player is well into Silver's story, with the only hint given prior to that being that Eggman wants her due to her being the key to the mystery of the Flames of Disaster.
Averted in Uncharted 3 with Charlie Cutter. In the trailers before the launch, Cutter is seemingly a thug for the main antagonist and they even continue this ruse into their one month multiplayer trial, where Cutter's Skin was a part of the Villains team. In the actual game, it turns out that Cutter was always a double agent; a fact that the heroes knew before the player, and his multiplayer skin is apart of the Heroes team.. However, it's played straight in the launch trailer, released a few days before launch, where it shows Cutter planning alongside the heroes.
When City of Heroes began their Signature Story Arc program, the very first one is "Who Will Die!?" It was pretty blatant that Statesmen was going to bite it, not only because many promotional images showed his iconic faceplate laying discarded, but because the dev whose moniker was Statesmen jumped ship when Paragon Studios split from Cryptic. Averted, whoever, in that he wasn't the only one...
Thoroughly averted by Virtue's Last Reward. Though a promotional anime was released before the game, detailing the backgrounds of the characters and the setup of the Nonary Game, it neatly manages to hide the single biggest plot twist in the game. It shows Sigma's face.
Sleeping Dogs had a mission shown on YouTube to promote the game. Unfortunately the mission they chose was Mrs. Chu's Revenge and they even gave the spoileriffic name of the mission. Anyone who saw that video probably knew what would happen to Winston by the first fifteen minutes of the game.
A trailer for the game included Wei mentioning that he was now one of the Red Poles.
The second Zone of the Enders intro shows you parts from the ending. If the player is wondering when certains scenes from the game are going to appear he will be spoiled.
Starship Titanic had a strange twist on this: one particular puzzle, in the Music Room, can be easily solved by looking at the back of the game box, where the screenshot of that room shows the puzzle completed. However, this isn't a spoiler.. it's the correct, and only, way to complete the puzzle.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine had a rather predictable reveal, a daemonic invasion headed by the chaos-infused mastermind. The trailer outright showed the protagonist fighting enemies which would only show up when something like that happened, spoiling the entire surprise. Not that Genre Savvy players wouldn't expect it.
Not a trailer, but a preview nonetheless of Cave Story's DSiWare port in Nintendo Power casually mentions that you play as a character named Quote, something that you should only learn late in the game if you fulfilled the complex conditions needed to obtain the Golden Ending.