The Game Awards: Optimistic Thoughts

What an incredible year in gaming. This was, personally, probably my favorite year in games that I can remember. The Game Awards this year were a somewhat emotional experience for me, as I got to watch moments in gaming, moments that touched me personally, be highlighted and celebrated.

There was a lot going on this year, and a lot of it was stuff that falls outside of my knowledge base, so I’m going to try to keep it to things that I personally found noteworthy, including game reveals.

Trailers

World War Z

Well, another zombie game feels like a weird way to start off a show. It feels like zombies have passed “overwrought” into “beating a dead horse.” Well, still, it seems like they’re basing it on the book series, which is great, since the movie didn’t capture what made the book great in the first place. A video game seems to be a good place to tell that story. I’m interested, but I’ll have to know way more to be properly hyped.

No release date as of yet.

 

 

New game from From Software

Woohoo? This was a surprising announcement. I think there had been some buzz about a potential From Software announcement, but it feels like there always is. It was barely anything at all. It’s good to know they have something coming, but I need more info before I get properly hyped. Oh, who am I kidding, I’ll buy into anything they do. My first guess is Bloodborne 2, but it’s too soon to tell.

No release date as of yet.

 

In the Valley of Gods

This game, from the creators of Firewatch, looks beautiful. They chose an excellent song to accompany it. Firewatch was an incredible storytelling experience. I know that a lot of people had issues with its pacing, but I thought it was brilliant; it was a character piece, and in that respect it excelled. It looks like this one will have more direct character interactions, and that excites me. I can’t wait to see what this studio has in store.

Due out in 2019.

 

Zelda: Breath of the Wild: The Champion’s Ballad

Well, Breath of the Wild’s second and most content-rich DLC was finally revealed. It seems like it’s the same map as the base game, which is somewhat disappointing. I suppose when you really think about the amount of work went into that map it makes sense that they would want to/could get more mileage out of it.

It seems like it’s about Link remembering the stories of the guardians that once protected Hyrule. Along the way he’ll get all sorts of new gear, like a fucking motorcycle. I love Breath of the Wild, so I’ll definitely be getting this DLC, but first I think I ought to finish the game.

Oh, and it’s out now.

 

Soul Calibur VI

I don’t know a whole lot about this yet, other than it is unbelievably beautiful, and it’s being developed by the dude responsible for the most recent Tekken game. I’m not a fighting game guy, but by all accounts Tekken 7 was super good, so I’m pretty hyped for this.

I grew up playing Soul Calibur, and was recently pining for a new entry in the franchise. Well, here it is, and it looks glorious.

Due out in 2018.

 

Fade to Silence

Let’s just say this: in going through my notes, I realized that I barely remembered this reveal. It’s a survival game from THQ Nordic, and it looks like every other survival game that has ever come out. Oh, and to top it all off, it’s early access. Yeesh.

It goes into early access next week, 12/14 (even though the trailer weirdly says it’s available now). Check out the trailer if you’re interested.

 

Bayonetta 1 and 2 coming to Switch

Hey, this is cool! I haven’t played either of these, but I love Platinum Games and I have heard great things. The Switch seems like an excellent platform for these games. I’m stoked to finally play them.

Available February 16, 2018.

 

Bayonetta 3

Reggie, you sly dog. We thought the Nintendo announcement would just be a new release of an old game (classic Nintendo), but you had another trick up your sleeve: Bayonetta 3, a Switch exclusive!

I don’t have much to say other than I’m glad they’re sticking with this franchise. It seems like its slowly gathering steam.

No release date as of yet.

 

Death Stranding

I don’t really know what to say here. I like to be subjective and analytical and, as cool as these Death Stranding trailers are, they give me fuck-all to work with. They have yet to show any gameplay whatsoever. I almost wish they would pull a CD Projekt RED and just say “Hey, we’re still working on this. Talk to you in a few years.”

Still, the trailers are worth watching, just to see how incredibly bizarre, inventive, and disturbing they are. This new trailer is eight minutes long.

No release date, damnit.

 

Witchfire

This was my favorite trailer in the whole show. In fact, before I go on, you should watch it:

I love the fact that it’s such a perfect fakeout. They make you think it’s a walking-simulator from the developers of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter… and then the character pulls out a gun, and it says “But also Painkiller and Bulletstorm.”

I’m pretty sold on this already, just from that trailer. The game looks beautiful visually, and I’ve heard that Painkiller and Bulletstorm are solid shooters.

No release date as of yet.

Dreams

Wow, I was blown away by this one. What a striking, surreal art style. This is from Media Molecule, the developers of LittleBigPlanet, and so far as I can tell it’s in a similar vein to those games, but… more. They’ve improved the art style and expanded their ambition, if this trailer is any indication. I didn’t love LittleBigPlanet, but I’m very intrigued by this. Check out the trailer to see what I mean.

Due out in 2018.

 

GTFO

What a terrible name. Oh well. From the devs who brought you Payday 2 comes a 4 player co-op survival horror game. I feel like “co-op” and “horror” can’t really be utterred in the same breath, because horror by its very nature is generally a solitary experience, and having your friends goof off over the mic seems like it would eliminate any tension the atmosphere creates. Also, we’ve got to stop trying to emulate “gamerspeak” in trailers. It’s cringeworthy and never comes off well.

And more zombies, too. The visual designs are pretty cool, I will say, but I have zero interest in this. I know the devs have been wrapped in some controversy, too. Here’s the trailer, if you’re curious.

No release date as of yet.

 

Metro Exodus 

These games are pretty cool. I’m really into atmospheric, solitary gaming experiences, and that’s exactly what this looks like. I’m on board. Also, what a cool setting. Post apocalyptic Russia is unique and interesting. And at the end of the trailer it seems like the may be hinting at a new location. That seems like it may be counter to the tone of the franchise, but I’m not totally opposed.

Due out in fall of 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

Awards

Best Score

My Prediction: Persona 5

Winner: Nier Automata

I would have gone with Persona 5, but Nier’s soundtrack is also incredible. It adds a layer to the game, enhancing what is already an eerie, emotional experience.

Best Action Game

My Prediction: Cuphead

Winner: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Wolfenstein II is a great game. I would even dare to say that it tells one of the best stories in any game I have ever played. HoweverAction is where the Wolfenstein franchise falls severely short. Look at my weekly update from 11/28 to see a more complete summary, but for now I’ll leave it at this: Wolfenstein is an action game, but the action is the most lacking of its many facets. It tells an excellent story, but just isn’t all that fun to play. This is the one category where I completely disagree with their choice. Cuphead should have won this. It is an excellent action-platformer, one that requires skill and perseverance and, most importantly, is fun to play.

Best Art Direction

My Prediction: Persona 5 or Cuphead

Winner: Cuphead

I mean, yeah. Well deserved. They spent a long, long time making the game look the way it does. And it looks incredible. If you haven’t seen it, go play it or watch it right now. The developers mortgaged their homes to make their dream happen, and here they are on a huge stage winning in categories up against behemoths in a massive, cutthroat industry. They deserve all the success in the world, and seeing them on stage was emotional.

Best Debut Indie Game

My Prediction: Cuphead

Winner: Cuphead

Good for them. Holy cow. They have made a name for themselves, and it is well-deserved. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.

Best Ongoing Game

My Prediction: Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds

Winner: Overwatch

This surprised me a bit. Overwatch remains wildly popular, but in my mind PUBG is much more in the zeitgeist right now. It was even nominated for game of the year.

What can I say. This isn’t really my genre. But Overwatch is an incredible game, and continues to develop as time goes by. As far as I’m aware, it has maintained an incredibly large player base. This award makes sense to me.

Student Game Award 

My Prediction: Dunno!

Winner: Level Squared

I haven’t played any of these games, but I should. In fact, I’m going to make it a point to cover these games. Future developers deserve recognition, and I’m the perfect platform to give it to them.

Here are the other games listed in this category. Look them up:

  • Hollowed (Erin Marek, Jerrick Flores, Charley Choucard / University of Central Florida)
  • Falling Sky (Jonathan Nielssen, Nikolay Savoy, Mohsen Shah / National Film & TV School)
  • From Light (Alejandro Grossman, Steven Li, Sherveen Uduwana / USC)
  • Impulsion (Hugo Verger, Remi Bertrand, Maxime Lupinski / IIM)
  • Level Squared (Kip Brennan, Stephen Scoglio, Dane Perry Svendsen / Swinburne University)
  • Meaning (Hariz Yet / DigiPen Institute of Technology Singapore)

 

Best Performance 

My Prediction: Melina Juergens, Hellblade (Senua)

Winner: Melina Juergens, Hellblade (Senua)

As a trained actor, I have a deep respect for the amount of work and talent that goes into creating these characters, so my hat is off for all of the nominees. I haven’t played Hellblade (I really ought to), but by all accounts it is a respectful and nuanced depiction of mental illness. That is really fucking hard to pull off, as an actor and a human being, and I commend Melina Juergens for her amazing accomplishment.

In her speech she said she wasn’t an actor, but I have one thing to say: yes you are.

Game of the Year 

My Prediction: Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Winner: Zelda: Breath of the Wild

I think we all saw this coming, but still, it deserves this spot. It is a stupendous game, a really incredible achievement that will rest in its place among the all-time greats. It is one of my fondest gaming memories, a truly breathtaking experience. I can’t wait to dive back in, finish it, and then complete the DLC, as well.

Random Thoughts

  • Warframe seems pretty alright. Maybe I should give it a shot.
  • GTA V is an excellent game, but it needs to die.
  • I would pay money to see a sitcom about Guillermo Del Toro and Hideo Kojima being best buds.
  • Bethesda’s ad campaign directed at single player experiences was brilliant, a very solid marketing strategy. I love to hate them and hate to love them.
  • Conan is a funny man.
  • Fortnight crossplay! That’s insane! It’s almost definitely only between PC and Xbox, but still, that’s a huge deal. Someone pushed the button on that early, mistakenly, it would seem, a few months ago.

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Each year it seems like the game awards get bigger and bigger, and I’m glad we get such a wonderful celebration of the medium. The last things I would like to say are that the orchestra was incredible, Josef Fares was drunk as hell, and Zachary Levi is as charming as ever. That’s all I got, folks! Let me know what you thought of the Game Awards this year in the comments below. Thanks for reading, and Stay Optimistic.

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Writing a blog takes time and video games are expensive. I do this purely for fun, but if you want to see me do more live content or game capture, head over to my slightly revamped Patreon page and shoot me some support. For only $3 a month you gain access to my Discord channel where you can directly influence what sort of material I write, such as suggesting games for me to play or game-related topics for me to write about. You’ll also get access to regular pictures and videos of my adorable cat, Meelo. And you’ll also, of course, receive a big shoutout on my next blog post, or whichever post you influence. Any money you give me will go directly to paying for capture equipment such as microphones, capture cards or cameras that I will use to generate more content for my blog. I appreciate you and all your feedback so much.

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