Whether you enjoyed it or not, there was plenty to talk about following this year’s Game Awards. From leading in with a mushy moment with Hideo Kojima, to new Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mass Effect: Andromeda footage, to some guy stuck in a superhero shaver suit, the awards had (almost) everything.
Besides the award winners, which including a handful for Blizzard’s big hit in Overwatch, the ceremony was a chance to love and appreciate everything the industry provides … though there were plenty of cringe moments and maybe a little too much over hype by the paid to stand at the very front audience members.
Not too surprisingly, the Kojima love led the show out the gate, with presenter Geoff Keighley passionately passing on the Industry Icon award to the man who was barred from attending last year by Konami whilst his creation, Metal Gear Solid V, picked up major awards. Though it may have been a little over the top to consider Kojima that much of a God amongst mere developer mortals, there’s no doubt his hardship is a lesson for all studios to be more faithful and respectful to their employees, above all else. Plus, he’s kinda cool.
Death Stranding also had a brand new trailer, which just made us even more confused than we were before, but we may finally get our Guillermo del Toro / Kojima co-production after all. Also, Mads Mikkelson is an inspired choice as the apparent villain of the piece. Confusing as it may be, all we need now is some gameplay footage, but I’m already sold on its unique storytelling. It’s weird … and I like it.
Arguably the best moment of the night, however, didn’t involve Kojima or any of the big name AAA games or guest talent at all. One of our favourite games of the year, That Dragon, Cancer, picked up the ‘Games for Impact’ award. The tear filled speech that followed, by creator Ryan Green, was one of the most heartfelt and emotional moments of any awards ceremony, games or otherwise. I admit, I had a tear in my eye too.
You let us tell the story of my son Joel. In the end, it was not the story we wanted to tell. But you chose to love us through our grief by being will to stop, and to listen, and to not turn away. To let my son Joel’s life change you, because you chose to see him and experience how we loved him. And I have hope that we are all willing to see each other, not just for who we want to be, but who we are and who we’re meant to be. This act of love and grace can change the world. Thank you.
– Ryan Green, Creator of That Dragon, Cancer
There weren’t any big surprises in the award winners, with Overwatch leading the charge with as it nabbed four fancy angel trophies (including Game of the Year and Best eSports Game). Doom picked up awards for Best Action and Best Sound Design, indie hit Inside won Best Indie Game and Best Art Direction and the love it/hate it success story Pokemon Go won Best Mobile and Best Family Game. Other winners included Cloud9 (best eSports team), Civilization 6 (best strategy game), Forza Horizon 3 (best sports/racing game), Rez Infinite (best VR game) and Witcher 3: Blood and Wine (best RPG … yes, a DLC pack won a major award. That’s how good it is).
Nolan North, arguably the biggest name in video game voice artists, used his time on stage receiving his best performance award to support his fellow artists, but not just voice actors. With the current SAG-AFTRA strike still on-going, North echoed the ‘performance matters’ hashtag, but for the most part expressed his love and support for everyone else involved in capturing his performance as Nathan Drake.
The performance of every designer, every programmer, of every hard working and talented person who works at that office. Not only Naughty Dog, but all of the developers that I’ve worked with. That performance is so important. … And their performance matters more than mine. And that’s important in this day and age, with all this talk going back and forth. Because without their performance, my performance wouldn’t matter. It wouldn’t even exist.
As for the major announcements, the surprises may not have been as big as previous years but there’s still plenty to talk about. Leading off, Gearbox Software confirmed the existence of a Bulletstrorm remaster, Telltale also confirmed a long standing rumour of a Guardian’s of the Galaxy game coming next year (along with new footage of its upcoming Walking Dead: Season 3), whilst a prequel to Shovel Knight is headed our way real soon too.
With the emphasis on gameplay’s over surprise announcements, Nintendo used its time to show off new gameplay for its upcoming Switch and Wii U Zelda sequel (which also picked up an award on the night for Most Anticipated Game of 2017, as voted on by the fans). Though there’s plenty to look forward to, the new footage didn’t show anything related to the Nintendo Switch.
EA also showed off the first ever footage of Mass Effect: Andromeda, which should please new and old fans alike. Familiar races were confirmed, the action looked a lot more open and exciting than Mass Effect 2, and the visuals looked smooth as silk. This one can’t come soon enough either.
Of the other videos on show, Bethesda brought with it debut footage of the Prey reboot, again emphasising gameplay, whilst Microsoft had a shiny pre-rendered Halo Wars 2 trailer along with news that Halo Wars: Remastered will be available a lot sooner than expected, as long as you pre-order the sequel later this December.
The coolest moment of the night? That easily went to Aussie composer Mick Gordon who not only received the best Audio award in person, but then presented some of the best bits from the thumping Doom soundtrack (and a few other pieces thrown in) live on stage. It’s a fantastic spot for a fantastic talent, who I will always remember for his just as cool Killer Instinct score.