This yr’s Game Awards aired on Thursday night time by way of livestreaming platforms, and as normal, it was primarily devoted to a three-hour-long showcase of recent and upcoming video video games. A number of massive initiatives from the Pacific Northwest made their public debut at the present, together with a virtual-reality model of Amongst Us, a Surprise Girl recreation in growth from Monolith Productions, and a brand new gameplay trailer for the Xbox-exclusive Hellblade 2.
Broadcast from the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles, the Game Awards have been working since 2014. After final yr’s digital efficiency, the 2021 Game Awards was a return to holding in-person occasions, with an all-star forged of each Hollywood celebrities and high-profile figures from the online game business.
It was additionally, as normal, primarily about the hype. The Game Awards are arguably misnamed, as the complete present is a skinny justification to placed on the final massive shopper showcase on the video games business’s calendar. The precise awards have more and more been handled as an afterthought, to an extent that’s beginning to get embarrassing. For what’s ostensibly an awards ceremony, the 2021 Game Awards was considered one of the most unceremonious issues I’ve ever seen.
The Game Awards selects its nominees each year by compiling a listing of nominees from a ballot of over 100 international media retailers, which incorporates influencers, then deciding on the video games with the most nominations for open voting. The identical retailers that offered the preliminary listing are added to a jury, which then votes for the closing nominees. Whereas the public can vote for its favourite video games by way of social media in the weeks main up to the Game Awards, the public vote solely accounts for 10% of a recreation’s closing tally in most of the out there classes. The jury’s votes make up the different 90%.
Right here’s a full rundown of the winners and video games introduced at this yr’s present.
Xbox Game Studios went into the 2021 Game Awards as the developer to beat, with a complete of 13 award nominations between 4 titles: Forza Horizon 5, Psychonauts 2, Age of Empires IV, and the newest version of Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Halo Infinite‘s campaign mode got here out too late in the yr to be included in the 2021 Game Awards, because it was solely launched on Wednesday and nominated video games should have come out no later than November. Nevertheless, Infinite nonetheless managed to stroll away with the award for Participant’s Alternative, which is completely decided by public voting.
Of the Xbox video games up for awards, Forza 5 was the massive winner, taking residence trophies for Finest Audio Design, Innovation in Accessibility, and Finest Sports activities/Racing Game. Age of Empires IV beat out Microsoft Flight Simulator for Finest Sim/Technique, whereas Psychonauts 2 bought 5 nominations, together with Game of the Yr, however gained none of them.
Recent Microsoft acquisition Bethesda Softworks additionally had a giant night time. Its time-bending motion recreation Deathloop bought 9 nominations, greater than every other recreation at the present, however solely gained two: Finest Game Route and Finest Artwork Route.
Sony, which ran the tables at the 2020 Game Awards with The Final of Us Half II, had a quiet 2021 and solely launched one recreation of word. That recreation, the PlayStation 5 unique Returnal, picked up the trophy for Finest Motion Game.
Nintendo was equally low-key. Metroid Dread took residence its solely trophy for the night time, Finest Motion/Journey Game, with Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser taking the stage to settle for the award.
In a shock upset, Nintendo didn’t win Finest Household Game regardless of having revealed 4 of the 5 video games — Mario Get together Superstars, New Pokemon Snap, Tremendous Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury, and WarioWare: Get It Collectively — that had been up for nomination.
As a substitute, Electronic Arts and Hazelight Studios’ It Takes Two, a cooperative puzzle/journey recreation a couple of couple on the verge of divorce who get reworked into toys (it makes a little extra sense in context), took residence Finest Household Game. It Takes Two additionally nabbed the Game of the Yr award, beating out main hits like Metroid Dread, Psychonauts 2, Deathloop, and Capcom’s survival-horror recreation Resident Evil Village.
Host Geoff Keighley promised that this yr’s Game Awards ceremony would function a ton of massive reveals from throughout the world, which ranged from indies to imminent blockbusters. In consequence, the present lasted three hours, plus a 30-minute pre-show hosted by Sydnee Goodman, with a brand new world premiere or massive announcement each couple of minutes. It truly rushed by means of perhaps a dozen of the main awards, like Most Anticipated Game, to make extra time for trailers.
The largest information out of the Pacific Northwest at the Game Awards was arguably Surprise Girl, a brand new challenge from Monolith Productions in Kirkland, Wash. Regardless of Surprise Girl’s standing as considered one of the main superheroes in the DC Universe and her two current Hollywood films, this will probably be the first time she stars as the primary character in a online game; in all of “Wondy’s” earlier recreation appearances, resembling Injustice, she’s been one half of a giant roster of selectable characters.
Whereas nothing was proven of Monolith’s Surprise Girl moreover a brief teaser (above), Monolith has constructed a status over the final decade with sprawling open-ended motion video games set in the Lord of the Rings universe, resembling Shadow of Mordor. If Monolith is simply making one other recreation in that vein, however with Surprise Girl, it looks as if a simple slam dunk.
The Bellevue, Wash.-based Bungie, makers of Future 2, launched a brand new trailer for its forthcoming growth The Witch Queen. Deliberate for launch on February, Witch Queen options the return of Savathûn, a significant antagonist from the unique Future. As well as to including new dungeons, a brand new weapon, and a brand new Legendary issue setting for single-player content material, The Witch Queen will increase on the Darkness powers for gamers that had been launched in Beyond Light.
Bungie can also be celebrating its 30th anniversary as of Dec. 9, and has opened up a variety of free rewards for present Future 2 gamers. This consists of two new legendary weapons, a shotgun and grenade launcher, that are designed after two of Bungie’s earliest video games, Marathon (the direct predecessor to Halo, type of; it’s complicated) and Pathways into Darkness. (Now give me the belt-fed machine gun from Oni.)
In game-adjacent information, the Game Awards noticed the debut of a first-look trailer for the TV adaptation of Halo, starring Pablo Schreiber (Orange is the New Black) as the Grasp Chief. Whereas the trailer gives little greater than a glimpse of the present’s units and characters, it does showcase a number of recognizable components of the Halo universe, together with a surprisingly devoted rendition of the Grasp Chief’s trademark armor.
Halo will air on the Paramount+ streaming community sooner or later subsequent yr. 343 Industries’ Bonnie Ross, Kiki Wolfkill, and Frank O’Connor are hooked up as govt producers, alongside Steven Spielberg.
One other shock got here from Innersloth, headquartered in Redmond, Wash., makers of the social deduction recreation Amongst Us. In a brief trailer, Innersloth revealed that it’s teamed up with the Pittsburgh-based AR/VR firm Schell Games (I Anticipate You to Die) to create Among Us VR for PlayStation VR and the newly-rebranded Meta Quest 2.
The VR adaptation of Amongst Us, in accordance to its official web site, guarantees on-line play for 4 to 10 individuals, with all the mechanics of the cellular and desktop variations of the recreation. In Amongst Us, gamers are Crewmates, spacesuited explorers attempting to maintain their ship in a single piece, however at the very least considered one of them is secretly an alien Impostor who’s out to stealthily eradicate everybody else.
In a quieter Amongst Us announcement from simply earlier than the Game Awards, the builders of the fast-paced indie combating recreation Samurai Gunn 2 revealed that the Crewmate would join its roster as a crossover character. Debuting on Dec. 16, the Crewmate brings a number of Amongst Us mechanics to SG2. This consists of throwing trash at individuals, ducking into vents, and in the event that they’re in a position to accomplish a set variety of duties, mutating right into a a lot extra harmful Impostor.
A brand new trailer for an Xbox unique got here courtesy of the Microsoft-owned studio Ninja Principle, which confirmed off the first gameplay from its upcoming psychological motion/horror recreation, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II.
The unique Hellblade gained a number of awards, together with 5 gaming BAFTAs in 2018, for its portrayal of Senua, a Pictish warrior who’s both on a journey to save her lifeless lover or going insane with grief, presumably each. Fairly than being a easy fantasy hack-and-slash, Ninja Principle went effectively out of its approach to painting Senua as realistically suffering from mental illness, which drew widespread vital acclaim.
Hellblade II as soon as once more options Senua, in a narrative that’s being stored firmly beneath wraps, and is being inbuilt the latest model of Epic’s Unreal Engine for Xbox and Home windows. Going by the particulars of the unique Hellblade, it looks as if Hellblade II is a comparatively new idea: it’s the online game equal of “Oscar bait.”
In a brief trailer throughout the present, Bethesda govt Pete Hines made an look to announce that the firm is hiring throughout all of its varied satellite tv for pc studios, resembling Arkane (Deathloop), id Software program (Doom), Tango Gameworks (Ghostwire: Tokyo), and Bethesda Game Studios (The Elder Scrolls On-line). Since Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda, these are all additionally a part of the Xbox Game Studios community. candidates are inspired to take a look at Zenimax Media’s official jobs site.
Different massive bulletins from the 2021 Game Awards included: