Player 2 Vs The Game Awards 2016
Another year has gone and that means that “The Game Awards” have once again taken place. An event of such pomp and ceremony cannot be ignored so Player 2 writers Matt and Paul sat down to share their thoughts on how the whole shindig went down.
The Guests & Performances:
Matt: So we made it to the 30-minute mark without some dodgy product placement. It was so bad too. But that Doom performance sure made up for it. That is my cup-o-headbanging-tea. I am always happy to see more metal in gaming and Doom brought the grunt. The Doom soundtrack sounded great live and the guitarist was impressive. But all the other performances on show I could take or leave, it seemed the crowd felt that way too.
Paul: So Run the Jewels – not necessarily my type of music, but they put on a wonderful showing, one that I quite enjoyed. They were immediately followed however by of Nate and co. from Uncharted 4… or their voices anyway – all in time to announce some awards and disappear. WHAT A DOOM SHOW THOUGH!!
Whilst there are some many exciting factors that make The Game Awards a must watch for fans of the gaming industry, there are of course the awards that underpin the event, a moment where the press and gamers unite to reward the best teams/people in the industry. Here’s our take on a few of the major awards given out.
Trending Gamer – Boogie2988
M: If there is one category I don’t like… it is this one. Not because the nominees are bad people or anything like that, more that I feel it is kind of a superfluous award. Do you know what…. I really can’t get behind this award at all, but it seems the way the industry is headed, which I think is a little sad. But enough of cranky old Hewso what do you think Paul?
P: There’s a place for the Trending Gamer, but not in the way some want it to be. I’m not a fan of Let’s Play culture, there’s far too much screaming into microphones and self-indulgent behaviour that detracts from the wonderful experience of playing a video game. Those who deserve to be acknowledged are those who inform, educate and inspire – Greg Miller won in 2015, and was wonderfully gracious, and while I would have rathered see Danny O’Dwyer win for his fantastic Video Game documentaries, I was okay with Boogie2988 winning. He and Danny both aim to do the things I mentioned above and wish to have intelligent conversations with their respective audiences. If we have more people in the industry like the three I’ve mentioned, then this industry will be a much better place.
Most Anticipated – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
M: Zelda huh…. I kind of thought that people might be a little wary but I guess not. There is no doubt that it is going to be a great game though so it is well deserved. Personally, it would be Mass Effect but I can’t deny the Link appeal.
P: Of course it was going to be Zelda – there are some massively hyped games on the nomination list, but the power of the Nintendo fan cannot be understated, and as such The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild gets the gong. I can’t wait to see more from the game.
Game of the Year – Overwatch
M: Overwatch, while it wasn’t my choice (Xcom 2 wasn’t even nominated, jerks) it is impossible to argue that this was a game that captured gamers like no other this year. Blizzard took the Team Fortress template and evolved it into something new altogether, in the process creating one of the most addictive, entertaining and accessible shooters ever. Well done.
P: I saw this coming. While it’s as obvious as the day is long that Uncharted 4 is the premiere game of 2016, Overwatch has been a juggernaut all year long, one that was going to be nearly impossible to stop. For good reason though, Overwatch is a blast to play, and when the studio developing it is of the pedigree that Blizzard is, then you’re three-quarters of the way there already. Congratulations to both Blizzard and Overwatch.
Best Studio/Game Direction – Blizzard
M: Can’t argue with the house of Warcraft winning this one. Basically, anything these guys put out is rock solid gold. Betting on Blizzard to make a great game is like betting on Pauline Hanson saying something racist. It is a sure thing. Add to that the fact that Overwatch consumed more lives than the black plague and they were a lock for this award.
P: I was surprised that Blizzard came out on top here. While I expected them to pick up the top gong this year, quite often the judges select a different game to give them a moment in the spotlight. I expected, given the enormity of what they achieved as such a small team, that Playdead might be the recipients of this award for their fantastic work on Inside – but it wasn’t to be… well done again Blizzard – you’re considered one of the premiere developers in the business for a reason.
Industry Icon Award – Hideo Kojima
M: Wonderful to see Kojima, free of Konami’s strings, get a some well-deserved recognition. I will never understand what was going through Konami’s heads when they blocked Hideo last year. In fact, why didn’t Konami just give Kojima everything he wanted? Now they are making dodgy pachinko machines, bad MGS spin-offs, and Pro Evo. But enough about stupid business choices and onto the man at hand. Hideo Kojima, the legend, deserves every plaudit he receives and for mine, he is the single most important individual developer in the world today. My hat is off to you. It is clear that Kojima was pretty happy, proud and thankful for the respect and love he receives.
P: You could see the love that Geoff Keighley has of Hideo Kojima. Geoff told the masses of Kojima’s story, and how he had regularly attempted to pass on the award on to him, but as a true gentleman, he refused. Unfortunately for Kojima, he couldn’t avoid this one, so as well as being recognised as the Industry Icon, he also got to accept his award for the sensational Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
It was advertised that we were going to be getting ten different game announcements/reveals, but one could not have expected all that followed.
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier
P: Going into this reveal, we already knew that The Walking Dead’s third season was to be released on December 20th, so Telltale wheeled out an extended look at what was coming. We’re getting the backstory of the new male key cast member who was introduced back at E3 2016, and it seems as though plenty of flashbacks will fill in the time gap between the outbreak and his meeting of a much older Clementine. A very safe trailer that hits on a number of typical zombie tropes, Season 3 is coming, I’ll buy it, I’ll love it, but this trailer doesn’t effectively sell how fantastic Telltale’s Walking Dead series is.
M: Well it sure looks like a Telltale Walking Dead Game. That is not a slight on their games, I love them, but at this point in time I am pretty sure people don’t actually need a trailer for these games. People that are going to buy this are already convinced and people that don’t want to buy it won’t change their mind. This game will be a success based on its story and a trailer can’t convey that. The setup seems to be covering some classic Zombie territory though, so that should keep genre fans happy.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
P: The story around Zelda: Breath of the Wild is growing in length and will soon rival the likes of Final Fantasy XV and The Last Guardian, but the TGA’s this year delivered us two Zelda gifts, a new trailer for Breath of Wild as well as another Let’s Play styled gameplay demo. Both looked gorgeous, and make it impossibly hard to commit to my goal of a media blackout on the game. Elements of the combat looked quite Demon’s/Dark Souls inspired, which was interesting, but that along with a host of other inclusions look to ensure that this Zelda will be one to remember… if only they could commit to a release date!
M: So is it just me or did it seem like Zelda, as in the character, was playable? That would be awesome. That art-style however, has me hooked. My favourite Zelda game is Wind Waker so I am glad that Ninty is taking an artistic approach to the graphic style once again. The second trailer came during the show proper and it was a nice big chunk of gameplay footage. A hefty inventory, some well-designed enemies and some interesting climbing mechanics were my highlights. I am a little worried about melee combat, it seems a little clunky but that could simply be the video. I will reserve judgment until it is in my hot little hands.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
P: After a month of Mass Effect news slowly trickling out courtesy of GameInformer, the doors were finally blown wide open on Mass Effect: Andromeda, where we finally saw gameplay! I love me some Zelda, but it was Mass Effect that I was waiting for. What makes me equal parts happy and concerned is the fact that it looked very familiar. A few nifty inclusions like scanners and crafting look great, but the trailer ended disappointingly without a release date. For a game that’s been long gestating and was initially projected to release this holiday, it’s a little sad that Bioware is yet to lock in a date outside of the open-ended Autumn 2017 window.
M: No matter how cheesy the awards show got it was worth it all to see some Mass Effect gameplay. The first thing that struck me is that the world seems more alive and more detailed. There also appears to be more gameplay that is not based around combat. It has taken a few queues from Batman with some investigative options. Combat is a lot more mobile as well with cover seemingly not as important. Perhaps the biggest thing I took from the demo is the game seems to be more RPG than Action. There is crafting, exploration and multiple paths. In all my hype levels rose a few more levels, and I didn’t think that was possible.
P: It wasn’t all that long ago that we saw the reveal of the rebooted Prey franchise. I was keen to see more, but I was disappointed to see that this reboot reminded me far too much of Dishonored. Perhaps I was foolish for expecting anything else given that it’s coming from Arkane, the developers of Dishonored, but I expected something else… and my enthusiasm fro Prey has simmered as a result.
M: Well it certainly looks like Dishonored in Space…perhaps by way of Bioshock. Not sure why it is called Prey though as it appears to have little in common with the first game. But that said, I am keen. It looks great and will hopefully touch on some of the more horror styled gameplay that the setting lends itself too.
Gearbox Publishing – Bulletstorm: Full Clip
P: It was interesting to see Randy Pitchford roll out and tease Borderlands a few times, before ultimately announcing a remaster of Bulletstorm with Duke Nukem thrown in for good measure… it didn’t really hit the mark with me, so perhaps he should have stuck with just teasing Borderlands 3… that’s something I can certainly get around
M: I am happy, I loved Bulletstorm so I am keen for this. I think it was a criminally underplayed game upon release and with the recent resurgence of the action shooter (thanks Doom), It seems like the perfect time for a re-release. Not so sure about being able to play as Duke though. Surely that ship has sailed. Also, I think that Gearbox moving into publishing is a smart move from them and will hopefully help some indie stuff get a big boost.
Halo Wars 2
P: I was a massive fan of the original Halo Wars, but never got around to finishing it. Given how great the sequel is looking I really need to create some time to get back to finishing the fight (geddit, Halo joke?). Good thing they’re giving us a remaster of the original as well then!
M: Being a big RTS fan and a bit of a Master Chief fanboy I am pretty pumped for this one. So glad that playing with a mouse is now an option, though. RTS is a mouse game, not a controller game. The trailer on show introduced us to the principle baddie for the game and he seems appropriately menacing. I also like that they are redoing the original Halo Wars for PC, It should be a nice warm up for the sequel.
M: Bringing the free new arena to the masses. I like, but honestly what isn’t to like about free stuff for Rocket League? It is hitting on 7th of December so next week!
P: More Rocket League. Love the game, and love having more excuses to go back to it. The fact that it’s coming in mere days is the cherry on top of the cake.
M: Wow, some sort of Lovecraftian invasion with what appears to be Guillermo del Toro (though not confirmed) playing a part, Mads Mikkelsen also made an appearance as a creepy soldier type. I still have no idea what this game is about but I am sure as hell interested. Sign me up for the insanity!
P: Insanity is spot on! Death Stranding looks to be a fantastic game, and it’s one that I’m super interested in, but the game is so far away that I wish Kojima would just disappear into the shadows for a while and keep busily working on it. We’ll be lucky if the game hits before 2019 at this current rate, which is fine, but it means that just like Evolve which also had a lot of coverage over a long period that we may know too much before the final product even arrives. Wouldn’t be surprised if we see an extended cut of this trailer this weekend at PSX though.
Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy
P: Well, Telltale told us very little – but one can assume that this is the Marvel game that they mentioned a few years ago – I can get around the idea, and given that Guardians was known for its sensational cast of characters… it becomes the perfect fit for a Telltale game.
M: Two things this needs. 1) Killer Soundtrack 2) Great voicework (getting the movie cast would be amazing). Add that to the Telltale blueprint and it is a win.
M: So a new game announcement for yet another 4 player free to play game. Not sure what to think, to be honest as it was only a cinematic trailer. I certainly got some Fable Legends vibes and I did like the art style.
P: Phoenix Labs is not a studio I was familiar with prior to the TGA’s, and it took some research before I realised that they’d not released a game before as a studio. The studio today pulled back the curtain on Dauntless, a free-to-play PC game that washed over me with nary a shrug of the shoulders. The game looked nice, giving off the Fable Legends vibe you spoke about Matt but failed to really resonate with me at all.
M: Well this looks like the type of game I would love to be good at but never will be. Movement seems to be key. I worry though that this sort of release could be lost in the shooter crowd, no matter how good it is. After all look at what happened with Titanfall 2.
P: Lawbreakers has style – I like style, and so I like the look of Lawbreakers. It gives off an Overwatch X Titanfall vibe with a slightly more visceral edge, and with Cliff Bleszinski at the helm, it’s probably going to find itself a community of fans quite quickly. Hopefully, it continues to impress me and maybe I’ll be among them.
Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment
P: Yacht Club won’t be satisfied until they’ve bled every last drop from the corpse of the original Shovel Knight, and that’s okay because it was a sensational game! Specter of Torment is a prequel to the original gem, and I look forward to playing it… but can you guys get on with developing a true sequel please?
M: More Shovel Knight…. need I say more?
The Best Moment:
P: It’s hard to go past Nolan North’s speech when he accepted his award for Best Performance. After taking some time to give credit to his family and friends he leveraged his position on the stage to address a major topic in the industry at present – the state of play in the Voice Actors pay dispute. But rather than beat up on the publishers for the way they’re treating
M: For me, it was the speech by Ryan Green, developer of That Dragon Cancer. As I am sure you are all aware this is a game about his son dying from cancer and the speech he gave was truly gut wrenching. As a parent, I can only imagine what he and his wife went through but to then put it together into a game, well that must have taken a superhuman effort. Heartbreaking stuff.
So that brings us to the closure of another episode of the Game Awards. Overall a solid show with only a little corporate pandering, which was nice. This ceremony appears to improve each year so we are sure it will come again in 2017.