Friday, December 7, 2018

The Game Awards


I'm generally not a big award show person, but there's something about a big budget live show that honors the developers, artists, actors, and composers behind the year's biggest games that really draws me in. This years show was a nonstop barrage of award presentations and new game trailers. Instead of recapping the whole thing, here are some of my personal highlights and takeaways from the game industry's big night:
  • Unsurprisingly, Red Dead Redemption 2 and God of War cleaned up most of the major awards. RDR2 took Best Music, Best Narrative, and Best Performance. GoW received Best Action Adventure, Best Direction, and Game of the Year. Between these two, I was glad to see God of War take the Game of the Year title since it had a better focus on gameplay mechanics.
  • With RDR2 taking so many other awards, I was disappointed that Best Music didn't go to one of the other nominees, I was really pulling for Octopath Traveler or Celeste on this one. That being said, I loved seeing that the composer of Celeste, Lena Raine, got to present an award and perform in the show's orchestra!
  • Even though a few AAA games took most of the major awards, it was still a big night for indies. I haven't played Dead Cells yet, but I was happy to see its surprise win of Best Action Game. I was also delighted to see one of my favorite games of the year, Celeste, win Best Indie and Game For Impact!
  • While I think nobody was shocked to see Fornite win Best Multiplayer and Best Ongoing Game, I don't think these awards were the biggest wins for Epic Software. The Game Awards marked the launch of Epic's new game store. A surprisingly large number of games shown at The Game Awards had their trailers end with the Epic store logo displayed where the Steam logo would normally be. With how popular Fornite is, I could see the potential for Epic's store to gain ground on Steam where so many other company's launchers have failed to gain traction. Even though I don't play Fortnite, these game announcements go me to open and update Epic's game launcher for the first time in months.
  • Unlike previous years, this Game Award's musical performances were entirely focused on playing music directly relevant to the games being honored. This was a welcome change as previous year's performances from pop stars always felt out of place and try-hard in my opinion. I thought the Game Awards Orchestra did a great time playing arrangements of music from the nominated games; the medley of music from all the 2018 Game of the Year nominees sounded fantastic!
  •  I primarily watch The Game Awards to see the winners get honored and to just witness the spectacle of the whole ceremony, however, the "World Premier" trailers are also a big part of the show. This year, I'm fairly certain there were more trailers shown than awards given. In general, there was an assortment of indie and AAA games shown that kind of all blur together for me. My main takeaway was that tonight was a big night for Fallout-like games. Ubisoft showed Far Cry New Dawn, essentially Far Cry meets Fallout, and Obsidian, the developers of the original Fallout games, showed Outer Worlds, a first-person RPG that looked like a more colorful Fallout 4.
  • The big surprise announcement of the show was that Joker, the protagonist of Persona 5 will be a downloadable character in Super Smash Bros Ultimate! This is an announcement I never could have predicted! Of course, this has now lead to speculation that Persona 5 itself will be coming to Nintendo Switch, which I'm hoping will end up being the case Currently, Joker's only Nintendo appearance is in Persona Q2 on Nintendo 3DS. Even though I was only introduced to the Persona series earlier this year (see my Persona 4 review), a new character reveal of this significance has pretty much sold me on purchasing the Smash Ultimate DLC pass.
Overall, I feel comfortable saying that this was the best show The Game Awards has put on yet. A big congratulations to all the winners and nominees as well as to Geoff Keighly and the rest of the staff that made this event possible!

Monster Hunter World winning Best RPG

The Last Campfire announcement (my favorite indie preview shown)

Persona 5's Joker receives an invitation to Smash!!

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