The Game Awards has come a long way since their most direct predecessor in the The Spike Game Awards. The VGA’s had always been a bit of a cluster-fuck as they tried to get the MTV-ish crowd while trying to legitimize their awards, taking their awards seriously. Since then, they’ve got very serious but still had a relaxed tone. Although it does fall in to the areas of self-congratulation just like other industry awards like the Oscars. Anyway, lets go through this chronologically. To be really experimental, here’s my thoughts on the show in a not-liveblog style as I watched it.
The re-run I watched was the recorded IGN YouTube stream but it’s the same as every other stream so it hardly matters were you see it. Go find your preferred stream and have a read through. As it’s not-live, I go into more detail so keep an eye for the pause button.
They opened up with a look into “Zelda: Breath of the Wild”. The game still looks amazing. The WiiU time for Nintendo has been a rough patch. Even I was pretty sold on the Wii but the WiiU just seemed like catch-up, getting the the hardware that Sony and Xbox had been using. I still have some hope in the Switch will be good but, even from the developers I’ve talked to at shows, Nintendo has been very quiet on it so I can’t shake that ‘PR pessimism’ just yet. Zelda looks great and always seemed a lot of fun but it’s Nintendo only so the Switch is what is going to sell it. They can only be quiet on that front for so long until it starts to damage their potential sales.
The first award: Best Mobile Game goes to “Pokemon GO”. Well that was going to happen. The cult that is Pokemon moved to mobile devices and stayed a cult. Declining numbers or not, it still was one of, if not the most popular game of the year. Well done Niantic. It also acted as a big sign to Nintendo that they shouldn’t be afraid of mobile devices as they have in the past. Maybe DeNA will be a recipient soon as well.
A few world premieres: a new Rocket League arena. Still going strong with free updates. It’s a new arena this time in space. What else is there really to say. The announcement of Gearbox Publishing (not against that but one of the recent games they had their name on it was Colonial Marines so don’t do those) showing their first published title by People Can Fly. PCF has been pretty reliable so good to see them again. “BulletStorm: Full Clip Edition” for PS4, XBox One and PC due April 7. Pre-order now and get Duke Nukem VO’s. Think that’s because The Duke isn’t that likely to get his own game any time soon. After Forever I think they’d need to move into self parody to make the relic relevant again. And it’s a remaster. Again, what else can I say.
Wow! Talk about getting stuff over with. A least the Oscars and Emmys have separate full shows for the technical and smaller awards rather then just list them off in the pre-show. Add them to the show, have two, or have a longer show or not mention them. Listing them off comes across as not caring and kind of disrespectful.
So Best Fighting Games goes to Street Fighter V. Can’t really argue with that. Best VR Game goes to REZ Infinite. Seems ok but it’s a PSVR only game and PSVR isn’t very good. The Most Anticipated fan Award goes to Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I’ll go with that. But like I said earlier, the Switch will have a big impact on how it does so while the game looks great, I hope the Switch can cope.
To end the pre-show, the host Geoff Keighley talks about what with happen in the show proper. With this being a not-live-post commentary I still have no idea what’s going to happen. From what he said was going to happen, all I have to say is be Emmys or be E3. Not both. Considering you just rattled off 3 awards, maybe being less commercialised and having a few less of those ‘world firsts’ you seem so proud off may mean you can actually present the awards.
Well that ends the pre-show. How long is left? 2 hours 10-ish. This is going to be a long one. Overall thoughts so far? Awarding awards in the pre-show is dick move. Move the ‘first looks’ to the pre-shows and spend the awards show awarding awards. No, I will not let that go. You want to be taken seriously as ‘the game version of the Oscars’? Then act like it.
That opening showed the power and breath of gaming not just individually but as a collective and as an industry. Be like that! The pre-show just felt like E3. Be like that trailer and bring everyone in to celebrate gaming. It’s ok to be a little self-congratulatory. It’s an awards show. That’s the point!
Err… “Biggest night of the year”? I think Gamescom, E3, the Emmys, the Oscars and the holidays dedicated to street drinking have a few choice words for you.
Err… “…around the world, even in China…”? Not sure how to take that. It’s the largest game market in the world with a worth around $24 Billion. Just shy of the $25 Billion that is all of North America. Yes, that includes Canada. Western consoles have only been able to be sold there since the summer but that just means the market is mostly PC and online games. The softening stance of the Chinese government towards some aspects of media in the last year or so is interesting (if you find it interesting) but thinking China is going to get all involved or is an untapped market is a bit wrong. The Chinese government actively prompts native developers and has very strict controls on the industry through censorship. So the popularity of the western games industry, especially consoles, has always been very small within China. They said China was a big boost to their numbers but what they said was “…nearly a million additional live viewers.” I think the most operative part of that sentence is “nearly”. Nearly a million is not a million and can sometimes be a far bit off when considering view numbers. And considering some people were do doing pieces with mad titles like “The Game Awards just found an extra 1.5B viewers” (the 1.5 Billion being the entire population of China) the nearly a million feels small by comparison.
A speech to the home crowd. Then a bit of a reference to last year. If your not up to speed, Konami (in their infinite wisdom) barred Hideo Kojima from going to the show last year to get his award for Action Adventure Game of the Year for “Metal Gear Sold V” as they were going through their ‘burn everything’ mode to… I don’t know. Destroy the company? Anyway, it was the dickist of dick moves so they took the chance early on to give Kojima the award for Industry Icon award (basically lifetime achievement). Very well deserved. And #FucKonami.
As a treat, Kojima introduced a new trailer for “Death Stranding”. I have no idea what the hell was going on but that looked amazing!
Now to cash another cheque with a segment on “Warframe”. Then into the trailer that’s been all over YouTube for “The Last Guardian”. Then into a trimmed trailer for “Gears of War 4”. Then into a sponsored section for the “Assassin’s Creed” movie. May I remind you, this is an awards show. Not a press briefing.
Right, now back to the awards show. We’re having a musical act first? Who? Run The Jewels? Connection? They’re DLC for Gear of War 4. So does this count as cashing another cheque or a interlude. We’re at the same amount of time as the pre-show and they’ve presented one award. That award listing in the pre-show is looking more like a dick move. Their on to song two? Ok I’ll split the post there. Seems like they just signed off so I will as well.
Check out Part Two here or, if your feel extra fancy, you can see part three here.