The Game Awards Recap

Geoff Keighley, a bunch of video game trailers and a Thursday night.

Thursday December 9th, 2021 marked the 7th iteration of The Game Awards, you know, “gaming’s biggest event” that praises all the hard work countless developers manage to put together in an almost 3 hour block hosted on digital sites all around the world.

Leading up to this year’s Game Awards, a bit of controversy was stirring up due to the state of Activision Blizzard and the events going on in their offices, which we’ll talk about a bit later. Despite that and one exclusion of said company, gamers worldwide turned their eyes to see who would take home the industry’s most coveted award.

Today’s post is going to be a recap (surprise right?) of the event: from news, to reveals, to the winners of awards. I will discuss the winner of Game of the Year, and I expect to have my own post up by the end of this week discussing my personal Game of the Year!

Without further ado, let’s talk about the TGA.

Deathloop was the new Death Stranding

To be fair, this game is pretty damn good.

I don’t know if you remember but back in 2019, when Death Stranding came out, it was nominated for almost every single category at the 2019 Game Awards. The game was pretty divisive as you either loved it or hated it, but at the 2019 TGA it was nominated for everything and won a few awards

History seemed to repeat itself as Arkane Studios’ Deathloop was again nominated for a lot of the major categories during the event, bringing home Best Art Direction and Best Game Direction in what were pretty stacked categories with the likes of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Kena: Bridge of Spirits, Returnal, Psychonauts 2, and The Artful Escape.

This is no targeted hate. I have Deathloop (I swear I almost typed Death Stranding), I really enjoy Deathloop, but in regards to winning Best Art Direction I think the other titles in the category should’ve had a higher chance of winning especially Psychonauts 2 (working on a review for this) and Kena: Bridge of Spirits. Best Game Direction is a harder category to argue, since I don’t exactly know the qualifications, but I imagine it won due to its unique style of play with the concept of time looping.

I saw a few reactions, and people were confused, but I respect the choices nonetheless. I want to applaud the team at Arkane because Deathloop is pretty darn good.

A few noticeable W’s

Besides the Game of the Year, there were obviously many more categories and winners. Here’s a few that I picked out that were very cool to see!

  • Best Independent Game and Best Indie Debut Game: Kena: Bridge of Spirits (I screamed when I saw this)
  • Best Esports player: S1mple (dude is on another level)
  • Best Esports team: Natus Vincere (S1mple is on that team. Just kidding that team is dominant)
  • Best Narrative: Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (this game is really good, write up on it coming in the future! Also check out this wholesome tweet from them)
  • Best Performance: Maggie Robertson as Lady Dimitrescu from Resident Evil Village (I was shocked to realize how much she looks like her in game character)
  • Best Community Support: Final Fantasy XIV (I haven’t played this, but I’ve heard enough to be happy for Square Enix and this W)
  • Best Action Game: Returnal (What an absolute W for Housemarque and their first game since 2017!! This game is good)

Reveals and Trailers Galore

It wouldn’t be a gaming event if we didn’t get a couple of trailers. The trailers were actually pretty good; here are some of my favorites/more noticeable reveals.

This one I think caught a lot of people off guard. A Wonder Woman game seemed to completely come out of left field, and I honestly hope it turns out good so that we can get more titles with other heroes instead of Batman and Spider-Man (no offense to those guys).

If the dev team sounds familiar, Monolith Productions, it’s because they made the damn good Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Middle-earth: Shadow of War games from a few years ago. Not much is known about their upcoming title, but they did give us a bit of info in regards to this being a single player open world title and how they look to bring the Nemesis System back from the Middle-earth games (the system that allowed for relations and conflicts with friend and foes).

I’m interested!

Alan Wake 2: Electric Boogaloo

I never got around to playing Alan Wake since it was an Xbox exclusive when it first launched back in 2010. Fast forward to 2021, and they got around to remastering Alan Wake and releasing it on multiple platforms so now I have no excuse to not play it.

This game is real, and I think what really got me interested was the focus on survival horror chief director Sam Lake mentioned. It made me think of The Evil Within 2, and if it’s anything like that, I’m down to give it a shot.

P.s. That’s not the real title.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

Okay this was pretty sick.

We finally got some gameplay from Rocksteady Studios’ next title, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, and it looked good. It looked familiar in a sense (some people were saying familiar to Sunset Overdrive), and I liked what I saw in regards to how the different villains turned allies work together and some of their abilities. I’m interested to get more information in regards to an official launch date and what to expect from the full title.

Rocksteady reinvented the hero genre back when Batman: Arkham Asylum came out with combat that developers get inspiration from to this very day so I know combat wouldn’t be an issue. My wonder is how does this connect since this is the game that is connected to their Batman universe, not Gotham Knights.

Hellblade II: Senua’s Saga

I really enjoyed Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice when it released back in 2017 due to the quality of the product Ninja Theory, and independent studio at the time, assembled. The visuals and overall feel of the game was phenomenal: head and shoulders over what came out at that time, while the gameplay did leave a bit to be desired. When the announcement came that they were working on a sequel, my excitement levels were through the roof.

Fast forward to 2021, and Ninja Theory has been acquired by Microsoft Studios meaning they have the financial support to create an even more throughly developed title.

I believe the trailer was a blend of gameplay and cinematic, but it was so hard to tell (which is a compliment by the way).

Sonic Frontiers

I saw grass so this must be like Breath of the Wild.

I haven’t played a Sonic game in years, and I still haven’t seen the Sonic movie. That being said with the announcement of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and this new title coming out next year, Sonic fans are eating good in 2022.

This has been confirmed to be an open world title, and I think that’s going to be cool to see how it all comes together with this monumental change in the formula.

There were a ton of trailers that I didn’t mention such as:

Be sure to check out a full list here.

The more celebs, the better

I will never stop talking about this, but ever since Keanu Reeves showed up at E3 2019, all I can think about is celebrities showing up to gaming events. I think it’s so freaking cool since it’s a hobby that brings us all together. Not to mention, it’s not as nerdy as it seemed when I was 15 years old in high school telling girls (who am I kidding) I was reading a book instead of telling them I was playing Modern Warfare 2 because I didn’t want to be judged.

This year’s show brought us a few new faces, and some returning, as we received appearances by:

  • Jim Carrey (Doctorr Robotnik in the Sonic movie)
  • Ben Schwartz (Sonic’s voice actor in the movie)
  • Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers forward)
  • Simu Liu (star of Shang-Chi)
  • Lil Dicky (rapper) although in the PC Game Pass commercial
  • Keanu Reeves and Carrie Anne-Moss (actors from The Matrix)
  • Aerial Powers (WNBA Minnesota Lynx forward) although she was in a weird ad with Nate Hill that would not stop playing

Those were most of the big names that I remember seeing, and boy was it so cool. I have a strong admiration for Jim Carrey and all of the work he’s done in the industry, and Keanu Reeves is just so damn cool. Keanu definitely shows up high to these events though.

If anybody ever tries to tell you gaming isn’t cool, show them this section and tell them to bring it up to these celebs.

In case you missed it, with The Matrix Resurrections hitting theaters on December 22nd Keanu Reeves and Carrie Anne-Moss spoke about the new tech demo called The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal 5 Experience which has gotten good reviews. It’s free and available now so check it out.

Activision Blizzard

In case you’ve been living under a rock, are super busy, just don’t care or all of the above, Activision Blizzard has been in some nasty headlines as of late. Back in July 2021, a lawsuit was opened based off of the conditions of the workplace and how the CEO, Bobby Kotick, basically is a piece of garbage.

Leading up to the TGA, folks were inquiring about what host Geoff Keighley would say about the event. Geoff took the stance of no stance, and that rubbed some people the wrong way given the fact that Geoff was very vocal about his support for Video Kojima during his saga with Konami back in 2015.

Keighley went on to update his stance by announcing that Activision Blizzard would not make an appearance at the event, although that was kind of a lie because Call of Duty: Warzone was nominated for two awards.

During the event, Keighley went on to condemn studios who harass and create a hazardous environment (although he did not name anybody in particular) and put up a graphic for resources in case anybody is in a situation of harassment. While that was nice, it left a lot to be desired, at least in my opinion. Not to mention right after, they showed a trailer for the new Star Wars: Eclipse game developed by Quantic Dreams who in the past have been in trouble with issues along the lines of unsafe work spaces.

Game of the Year winner is….

I have yet to play this game, probably because I don’t have anybody to play it with, but It Takes Two took home game of the year. In a time where single player is declared “dead” and solid co-op experiences are locked behind paywalls/treated as live services, this game broke the mold as a good co-op experience with consumer friendly practices (offering a free pass for a friend to play). I guess the general consensus about this game has been pretty high, and I will definitely give it a chance when I find somebody to play it with!

Also Josef Fares, one of the writers behind the title, seems pretty passionate about his team’s work so double kudos to them on the big win!

Final Notes

The orchestra had to be the best part of the whole show and typically is. As I’ve grown older, I’ve started to appreciate sounds and visuals more than gameplay, and this was a sound to behold. Seeing how they managed to blend all of the sounds from the different nominees and make it one single theme was really powerful. Also, the woman playing the guitar started trending on Twitter.

I saw another interesting point about people being upset with the speed of the show. I personally feel like the show is too long, as it started at 7:30 pm my time and ended at 11:30 pm. Some categories were blown through pretty quickly in respect to time, so fans of the winners felt hurt. I don’t know how the TGA should handle this moving forward, but it is a good point.

That wraps up The Game Awards 2021, and to be fair, I’m surprised at how competitive it felt. 2021 brought us some damn good games; here’s hoping 2022 can bring the heat.

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