The Game Awards began under Spike TV’s VGA as a way to honor the year’s best video games on a grand MTV-like stage. After years of celebrities who never played games screwed up names of developers and a drunken Joel McHale going through the stages of remorse on TV, gaming journalist Geoff Keighley set out to celebrate video games and created an independent awards show that falls somewhere between the Eisners and the VMAs.
As the official third show under The Game Awards name, it’s still showing some growing pains as it finds a voice and reason of relevance. While it seemed like more time was being dedicated to musical performances that didn’t fit and some announcements which only reach to a small segment of the audience, the show did have an incredibly passionate opening by host Geoff Keighley. Last year, Hideo Kojima’s team won an award for their work on Metal Gear Solid V. Kojima himself was prevented from attending to receive it by Konami’s legal department after what had already been a year full of turmoil between the creator and the publisher. Keighley opened this year’s show with a touching introduction about his friendship with Hideo Kojima before presenting him with the Industry Icon award. Kojima himself could barely hold back his emotions on stage as he said, for a moment he thought he’d lost everything but realized he hadn’t lost anything.
Here’s the list of winners from the show:
- Game of the Year: Overwatch (Blizzard)
- Best Fighting Game: Street Fighter V (Capcom)
- Best Mobile Game: Pokemon GO
- Best VR Game: Rez Infinite
- Most Anticipated Game of 2017: Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild
- Best Art Direction: INSIDE (Play Dead)
- Best Action Game: Doom (id Software)
- Games for Impact Award: That Dragon, Cancer
- Best RPG: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt — Blood and Wine (CD Projekt RED)
- Best Music/Sound Design: Doom
- Best Strategy Game: Civilization VI
- Best Performance: Nolan North as Nathan Drake (Uncharted 4)
- Best Sports Game: Forza Horizon 3 (Turn 10)
- Best Narrative: Uncharted 4 (Josh Scherr, Neil Druckmann)
- Best Game Direction: Blizzard for Overwatch
- Best Action Adventure: Dishonored 2 (Arkane Studios)
- Trending Gamer of the Year: Boogie2988
- Best Esports Team: Cloud9
As with every Game Awards so far there were world premiere showings of new game trailers and content. Some of the bigger news came for us comic book fans as Telltale Games confirmed a Guardians of the Galaxy game and new footage of their upcoming The Walking Dead: A New Frontier. Kojima also brought a new trailer for his PlayStation exclusive project, Death Stranding. The trailer showed off a new character to the game, Guillermo Del Toro. Yes, that Del Toro. Fans also got a look at gameplay for Mass Effect: Andromeda. The game seems to be following Bioware’s original trilogy as far as mechanics go, but on a much larger scale. No word on an exact release date, we’ll have to see just how long Spring 2017 is to publisher EA Games.
Outside of not seeing a Best Narrative nomination for Batman: The Telltale Series and a win for Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham VR there wasn’t much in the way of surprises or highway robberies. For producers of the show, 2017 will be a big year in terms of finding footing. Personally, I’d like to see the show go away from paying for or getting promotional musical acts that have little to nothing to do with the games. If the same orchestra played music from every one of the nominated games of the year, that would be more than enough. The barrage of ads from other games, even Schick Hydro, don’t really bother me. It’s the nature of paying for award shows like this, the money has to come from somewhere and most of the advertising is relevant enough to the audience. However, integrating the ads in a more seamless way would give the show a more unique voice. Cutting to commercial break feels more like network TV. Why not utilize the big Twitch and YouTube streamers who attend the show to cut promotional segments? Just make them clever.
Overall, The Game Awards was another great finish to the gaming year. We got a look at some exciting Zelda stuff, saw Hideo Kojima continue to age in reverse, and some left happy while others cried foul at home. Here’s to finally ending 2016!