Last year, The Game Awards debuted. And while the show was rough and was a bit too long, I didn’t hate it. And I hoped that next year’s show would be even better. And for the most part The Game Awards this year was a much better show, but not perfect.
The show kicked off with a pre-recorded pre-show. This wasn’t a great start for the night as this pre-show was filled with some cringe inducing moments. But we did get a trailer for a new DLC for the popular Goat Simulator. The trailer was a parody of the opening scene from Reservoir Dogs and was about as funny as a box of cereal. Still, adding more animals to that game might be a great idea.
We also got a trailer for a new game from a new studio. The new studio is Dim Bulb Games, a studio founded by the programmer on Gone Home. The new game is called Where The Water Taste Like Wine, and the trailer was short but had a interesting look to it. It did remind of last year’s Game Awards which also featured a new trailer about a person riding a train. 2016 is when Where The Water Taste Like Wine is coming out.
Also during the pre-show Westwood Studio founders Brett Sperry and Louis Castle were awarded the Industry Icon. I was disappointed that they got so little time, but later on in the show they actually got a rather lengthy segment that went into their history and how they basically created the RTS. Just like last year, the Industry Icon segment was one of my favorite moments from the show.
The show began shortly after that award and we got some awards. But it was hard to keep track of some awards. Sometimes awards would get announced and we would get a list of nominees. But nearly just as often we would get told the award and who won it and then move on. It went so fast that when I looked at the winners’ list I noticed I had missed a few on my notes. People have complained that the award part of The Game Awards is barely given any time and this year wasn’t much better. It felt like the awards were getting in the way.
We got a new look at Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. This was a short video, but it introduced a new character. A woman named Nadine Ross. She seems to want something from the famous adventurer Nathan Drake. And she is willing to attack him for it. I’m super interested in finding out more about her when Uncharted 4 comes out next year. The multiplayer beta is currently going on for owners of the Nathan Drake Collection as well.
One of the weirdest announcements came during a commercial break. A random ad appeared for a new Tron game. Seriously. I love Tron and I’m excited to get more Tron stuff. This new game is called Tron Run/r it looks like a endless runner type... thing. It is really hard to say. The game is in Early Access and costs $10.
Shaq was at the Game Awards this year and he showed off his new game, Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn. This was a crowdfunded game that had some grossness surrounding it. And the gameplay footage shown looked rough. I don’t have high hopes for this game. Also, who really wanted a new Shaq Fu? Shaq Also announced a new TBS eSports league called ELeague, which will be a weekly TV series supported by online streams. It sort of sounds like a reality show type setup, with cameras following different esports teams as they try to win a Counter-Strike GO Tournament that TBS is holding. Those last few sentences hurt my head. Moving on.
After Shaq left, going back to his Superman bed or whatever, we got another world premiere. Turns out Telltale Games has more games coming. Their next game is a Telltale Batman game. Which Batman, villains, or any other information was not given. All we know it is coming out next year. I loved Tales From The Borderlands and I can’t wait to see what Telltale does with the Batman universe.
During the show there were some “Budlight Level Up” segments and these were some of the worst moments in the show. Actually, they were bad but they don’t compare to the awkward and depressing “Green Room” segments. These segments were live and had different people talking to a host about Star Wars Battlefront, which was playable in the green room. All of these felt terrible and some of the poor people asked to talk about Battlefront seemed to not have enjoyed the game. But they tried to be nice. These moments just felt out of place with the rest of the show.
Greg Miller won Trending Gamer and had a great speech about the people who make the games we love. It was a genuine moment and I honestly loved it. We forget real people make the games we play and they work really hard and deal with a lot of shit. They deserve more respect and recognition. Also he kept his shirt on, which was nice of him.
And then the biggest announcement of the night. Double Fine is working on Psychonauts 2. Well... there is a bit of a caveat. The game will only be made if their crowdfunding campaign is successful. Yup, this is becoming the trend this year. Announce a game and then end with “actually... we need some money first.” Still, a new Psychonauts game is an exciting thing and Double Fine is using Fig, a new crowdfunding site that allows people to actually invest in a game and make money if it is successful. As of this writing it is already beyond $400k. It seems likely that it will get funded.
A more touching and somber part of the show followed the excitement of a new Psychonauts. As you probably already know, earlier this year Satoru Iwata passed away. The Game Awards did a great and classy memorial to Iwata and all the joy he brought to the world. Reggie Fils-Aime, head of Nintendo of America, talked about Iwata and how unique he was. Nintendo and the gaming industry as a whole will never be the same now that Iwata is gone.
Another surprise announcement was a collaboration between Harmonix and Oculus. Palmer Lucky came out on stage after a short preview of what the game will look like. He explained that Oculus and Harmonix have been working on Rock Band VR for a long time now and that they worked closely with Dragonforce. The band helped them make an experience that let you feel like a rockstar in front of a huge crowd. The idea of wearing a headset, headphones, and using a plastic guitar all at the same time sounds like a nightmare. But I’m glad to see Oculus going after more game makers and different genres.
One of my favorite moments of the show was when Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain won Best Action Adventure game. Kiefer Sutherland accepted the award on behalf of Hideo Kojima. After the award Geoff Kieghley explained why. As it turns out Konami lawyers had barred Kojima from accepting any awards for the game. Seriously. WHAT?! I was surprised to see how open and honest Geoff was about why Kojima wasn’t at the show, and it is just another piece of this crazy puzzle. What really is going on between Kojima and Konami. After the show Kojima tweeted out “Thank You Very Much” and retweeted a video of Geoff explaining what happened. As of this writing, Konami hasn’t said anything. #FuckKonami
Few other announcements happened. Rocket League is coming to Xbox One, with a Halo themed car and Gears of War themed car. No word on cross play between PC. The Walking Dead Michone is coming this February. It is a new Telltale Games series and will be three episodes long. Shadow Complex Remastered is coming to Xbox One and PS4 next year, but is available now for free on PC. This is a upressed and prettier version of the sidescrolling XBLA game from years ago. There was also a newFar Cry: Primal trailer, which showed a lot of gameplay and a new feature. The ability to command bears, wolves, sabertooth tigers and even owls.
Finally it was time to reveal what game had won the Game of the Year Award. The winner was The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. And then the show was over. The award didn’t feel important and they barely spent anytime on it. Still, The Witcher III is a fantastic game and I’m glad to see it win GOTY. As for the other winners, I was surprised at how well some games like Splatoon and Her Story did. Great to see more diversity in the winners list. You can find all the awards and who won below.
Overall, this was a better show than last year’s. It still had some cringe inducing moments and I still feel like the awards don’t get enough time. But honestly looking back at some of the older VGA’s that Spike TV hosted, this event is a step in the right direction. Hopefully next year we will get more women involved when it comes to judges. Also maybe less of weird segments like the Bud Light stuff. I enjoyed my time watching the show and I hope next year is even better.
Hell maybe Kojima will be allowed to attend next year.
....and the winners are:
GAME OF THE YEARThe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (CD Projekt Red/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
DEVELOPER OF THE YEAR
CD Projekt Red
BEST INDEPENDENT GAMERocket League (Psyonix)
BEST MOBILE/HANDHELD GAMELara Croft Go (Square Enix Montreal/Square Enix)
BEST NARRATIVEHer Story (Sam Barlow)
BEST ART DIRECTIONOri and the Blind Forest (Moon Studios/Microsoft Studios)
BEST SCORE/SOUNDTRACKMetal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain (Ludvig Forssell, Justin Burnett, Daniel James/Kojima Productions)
Viva Seifert (Her Story)
GAMES FOR CHANGELife is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment/Square Enix)
BEST ACTION/ADVENTURE GAMEMetal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain (Kojima Productions/Konami)
BEST ROLE-PLAYING GAMEThe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (CD Projekt Red/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
BEST FIGHTING GAMEMortal Kombat X (NetherRealm Studios/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
BEST FAMILY GAMESuper Mario Maker (Nintendo EAD Group No. 4/Nintendo)
BEST SPORTS/RACING GAMERocket League (Psyonix)
BEST MULTIPLAYERSplatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2/Nintendo)
MOST ANTICIPATED GAMENo Man’s Sky (Hello Games)
ESPORTS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Kenny “KennyS” Schrub (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive/Team EnVyUs)
ESPORTS TEAM OF THE YEAR
BEST FAN CREATIONPortal Stories: Mel (Prism Studios)