They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Does this include parody? Do the trailers of the games below lovingly pay tribute to the titles they parody or are they mean-spirited when they make fun of popular franchises? The answer is probably somewhere in between.
Some of the games below make fun of other specific trailers while some poke fun at a whole title or genre. Interestingly enough, sometimes the games advertised are not even comedies. In fact, a couple of them are quite serious. The entries below should not consider themselves safe. After all, future trailers might start making fun of these soon.
7 Goat Simulator 3
Much like actual goats, nothing is safe in the path of Goat Simulator. To show just how unhinged the franchise is, Goat Simulator 3 is only the second game in the franchise. The trailer is an obvious parody of the Dead Island 2 debut trailer.
A runner is jogging while listening to music and is completely unaware of the world falling into chaos around him. Instead of zombies like in Dead Island 2, this time it is Goats. Unlike Dead Island 2, Goat Simulator 3 is set to come out relatively soon. A small irony here too is the first Dead Island has such a serious trailer while Dead Island 2 establishes a more comedic tone out of the gate.
Bulletstorm tried hard to differentiate itself from the swarm of military shooters with its marketing campaign. One trailer is an obvious lampooning of Call of Duty, showing a trailer for a fictional title called Duty Calls. It describes a game filled with military FPS tropes that Call of Duty made popular.
While Call of Duty has been incredibly popular since 2007’s Modern Warfare, some players bemoaned how so many other games tried to copy it, and Bullet Storm was playing into this growing frustration among classic FPS fans. The fake game is actually playable as well as a part of the marketing campaign.
SnowRunner involves the player transporting cargo over rough terrain to deliver goods. It’s not about the destination, but the journey. This is strikingly similar to the polarizing title from Kojima Productions, Death Stranding.
The marketing team at SnowRunner thought the same, too, which is why one trailer is an obvious homage to Death Stranding’s teasers. The driving game probably does not have as wild of a narrative as Death Stranding, however.
4 Eat Lead: The Return Of Matt Hazard
Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard parodies all of gaming. The lead character is a washed-up protagonist from the 8-bit era who goes on a new adventure blurring the line between iconic video game characters and real celebrities.
The marketing includes a behind-the-music parody that details Matt Hazard’s life up until the game’s events. In addition to parodying celebrities’ downward spirals, it also spoofs the path many franchises go down. Matt Hazard gets bogged down by cheap spin-offs and cash-ins before fading into obscurity. It is just unfortunate, then, that the actual game was met with lukewarm reviews and was quickly forgotten. The humor hits the right spots, but the gameplay leaves a lot to be desired.
3 The Outer Worlds 2
The first The Outer Worlds was celebrated for its humor, writing, and the way players’ choices affected the narrative. Given its success, it was without question that developer Obsidian would get to craft a sequel. No gameplay footage has been shown of the new title, but fans did receive an announcement trailer.
The teaser features a narrator going over all the tropes announcements go through. It lambasts how there is no actual gameplay footage and makes fun of not giving the characters faces yet due to the title being so early in development. By this point, gamers are used to early first looks being radically different from the final product, but it is nice to see a game acknowledge it in a tongue-in-cheek manner.
2 Saints Row 3
The first two Saints Row games are relatively grounded Grand Theft Auto clones. Saints Row 3 goes off the rails and becomes a full-fledged slapstick comedy. One of the trailers showcases this by parodying Call of Duty and Battlefield.
It cuts to a bunch of explosions and action shots including the blurry fades around the title card. Considering how popular military shooters were at the time, parodying them was an easy target because everyone would know what the trailer is making fun of. Saints Row 3’s comedy is hit or miss depending on one’s sense of humor.
1 Super Smash Bros.
Super Smash Bros. went from a celebration of Nintendo to a celebration of gaming as a whole. Starting with Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Nintendo Wii, the franchise started including characters from other IPs. When Solid Snake from Metal Gear entered the fray, he was introduced with a codec call and a loving shoutout to the cardboard box comedically associated with the character.
Since then, it has included characters from various other franchises outside of Nintendo, including Sora from Kingdom Hearts and Terry Bogart from King of Fighters. The trailers introducing these characters range from solemn tributes to cute, fun parodies of the art style.