The Game Awards were held in Los Angeles on Thursday, to recognize the best achievements in the video game industry this year. 2017 has been a golden year for gaming, so there is a lot to acknowledge and potentially even more to look ahead to for 2018 and beyond.
The Game Awards have always been a two-part event, at one time seriously considering the design and creativity of developers around the world, while, at another, serving as a late year marketing blow-out for publishers as well. To recap the entirety of the night’s events, we’ve separated the big bombastic announcements from the list of award winners, and we’ve tried to condense things to make the whole thing as digestible as possible.
Here’s our breakdown of the 2017 Game Awards.
There was a 15-minute pre-show that warmed up the festivities before The Game Awards formally began, but it barely felt any different from the mainline presentation. Producer and host Geoff Keighley ran the pre-show from a mini-stage in the Microsoft theater, announcing a handful of awards and premieres.
World War Z
The pre-show kicked off with a reveal of World War Z, a curiously-timed adaptation of the 2013 film (or original novel). World War Z is a four-player co-op survival shooter. There’s no release date yet, but it’s being developed for PS4, Steam and Xbox One by Saber Interactive.
Following World War Z and a couple of early awards, Owlchemy Labs debuted a new VR game titled Vacation Simulator. It’s a colorful island world with at least a handful of activities to participate in. Owlchemy’s targeted a 2018 launch date, and it’ll be available on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PSVR:
Smith & Smitherson’s Accounting+
Justin Roiland (Rick and Morty) and William Pugh from Squanch Games and Crows Crows Crows revealed Smith & Smitherson’s Accounting+, an expanded version of The Accounting, a very Adult Swim-looking VR title. Accounting+ is a self-described Nightmare Adventure Comedy, which is a perfectly understandable genre if you’re familiar with Roiland’s body of work. It’ll launch December 19th, and appears to be a timed exclusive for PSVR.
Untitled FromSoftware Game
Just before the pre-show transitioned into the full-on awards presentation, FromSoftware snuck in a 30-second teaser for what we have to assume is either Bloodborne 2 or something brand new, featuring some kind of bloody device snapping into place and the text “Shadows die twice.”
It’s a safe bet that whatever this is, it’ll be formally introduced at PSX (and stay tuned for a similar article to follow covering that event). This was the first big gut punch of the night.
In the Valley of Gods
Following FromSoftware’s enigmatic teaser, The Game Awards Orchestra officially opened the night with a medley of some of the industry’s most familiar and beloved songs before TGA’s host and producer Geoff Keighley jumped straight into the first stage-presented award, and the first stage-presented premiere:
Campo Santo, who previously developed Firewatch, announced their next game In the Valley of Gods. It looks very much like an expanded version of Firewatch‘s gameplay and art style (which was designed by Olly Moss), but its scope seems much bigger and we’re digging the Egyptian setting. The game won’t be out until 2019.
The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild – The Champions’ Ballad
The second big impact moment for The Game Awards came with the surprise release of The Champions’ Ballad, the long-awaited second DLC for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Nintendo had confirmed we’d get the DLC before the end of 2017, but we would never have expected Nintendo to announce it and release it at the same time. Eiji Aonuma and Hidemaro Fujibayashi threw to a trailer for The Champions’ Ballad before announcing that it was available for download starting right then and there.
The Champions’ Ballad takes place 100 years before Breath of the Wild and focuses on each of the Champions that Link encounters in spirit form during the main campaign.
The Industry Icon Award
A few award handouts later, the Industry Icon Award was presented to Carol Shaw, a pioneer of game design at Atari who was one of the first prominent women in the video games industry 35 years ago. Shaw gave an endearing albeit awkward speech about the difference in game design from the ’80s to today. It was a wholesome moment, seeing Ms. Shaw on stage amidst the hyper-produced commercial trailers and slick industry executives that preceded and followed.
Soul Calibur VI
Katsuhiro Harada and Motohiro Okubo from the Tekken 7 team were next up on stage and revealed Soul Calibur 6, the first game from the fighting series since 2012. The next installment has a 2018 launch window.
Fade to Silence
THQ Nordiq put out a trailer announcing Fade to Silence, a survival game that focuses heavily on protection from harsh weather, in addition to monsters that look half-way between H.P Lovecraft and John Carpenter’s The Thing. Fade to Silence is a PC title, coming to Early Access December 14, 2017.
Another huge moment came when Nintendo cut to a trailer of Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2 running on the Nintendo Switch. Bayonetta 2 will arrive on the new Nintendo system February 16, 2018, and come packaged with a free download of the original. But that’s not all – Nintendo of America’s Reggie Fils-Aime spoke with Geoff Keighley about the Bayonetta series briefly before surprising the world with the announcement of Bayonetta 3. There’s no launch window for the game just yet, so it’ll probably be a decent wait before it launches exclusively on the Switch.
Here’s what we all knew was coming but still were not prepared for – new footage from Hideo Kojima’s brain-melting Death Stranding, starring Norman Reedus and Mads Mikkelsen. Kojima unveiled an eight-minute long…trailer? Short film? Fever dream? It’s hard to say what it is. All we can say for sure is we understand even less than before about what Death Stranding is. But it looks incredible.
We have some guesses as to what’s meant to be literal and what is likely imagery here, but it’s hard to pin down exactly where the lines of separation are between them. It’s Stranger Things meets The Mist meets Metal Gear Solid. Of course, Kojima came on stage afterward, probably to gloat about how confused he’d made us all, but he brought Norman Reedus with him to share in the fun. We give it two esophagus baby thumbs up.
We’re not sure if our surprise for Witchfire is pleasant or unpleasant. It looks haunting and gorgeous, and when we saw “from the creators of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter” we perked up immediately. But then the player-character pulls out a shotgun.
We love a good shooter but after the contemplative, immersive story of Ethan Carter, we can’t help but feel that surviving Witchfire would be a lot more exhilarating without an arsenal of firepower. Nonetheless, The Astronauts have the pedigree to suit a new first-person shooter with Painkiller and Bulletstorm under their belts. The game’s still a long way off, but we’ll be interested to see the finished product.
A Way Out
You may remember Josef Fares from E3 earlier this year. He gave a boisterous, cocky presentation on the E3 stage while debuting his co-op prison break adventure, A Way Out. Fares’ stage presence drew a lot of attention then, and a lot of it was positive; here was a guy who is legitimately passionate about his work, even if he came across a little loud and self-important. Well, Fares made his second stage appearance during The Game Awards, and he one-upped himself, throwing out a “F**k the Oscars,” comment or two and going more than a little over his time.
…A Way Out still looks great though.
Media Molecule re-introduced Dreams, their ambitious player creation platform that wants PS4 owners to create pretty much anything they want using a sweeping array of tools. No two scenes from Dreams look anything alike, so there’s definitely an impressive amount of depth to be had, but we still can’t get a clear picture of how players select and combine the various design elements available. We’ve always appreciated Media Molecule’s creativity, but we’re still really unsure what we’re looking at with this one. Dreams has resurfaced with a 2018 release date.
The developers of Payday: The Heist are bringing their skillset for teamwork-focused, co-op gameplay to the horror genre with the hilariously named GTFO.
Just like Payday, a team of four players collaborates to set traps, hunker down and work together to shoot their way through a series of encounters, but this time instead of robbing a bank, players are surviving a Prometheus-looking alien world filled with monsters.
Metro Exodus was announced at E3 earlier this year, and days before The Game Awards Geoff Keighley confirmed it would have a spot during the big show. Unfortunately, we got another CG-only trailer, no gameplay just yet. We did get a great look at a grotesque monster with chameleon-like eyes, though.
- Trending Gamer Winner: Dr. Disrespect
Other nominees: Steven Spohn, Shroud, Clint Lexa, Andrea Rene
- Best Score/Music Winner: Nier: Automata
Other nominees: Cuphead, Destiny 2, Persona 5, Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Best Mobile Game Winner: Monument Valley 2
Other nominees: Fire Emblem Heroes, Super Mario Run, Old Man’s Journey, Hidden Folks
- Best Sports/Racing Game Winner: Forza Motorsport 7
Other nominees: Project Cars 2, Pro Evolution Soccer 2018, NBA 2K18, GT Sport, FIFA 18
- Best VR/AR Game Winner: Resident Evil 7
Other nominees: Superhot VR, Star Trek: Bridge Crew, Lone Echo/Echo Arena, Farpoint
- Best Handheld Game Winner: Metroid: Samus Returns
Other nominees: Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World, Monster Hunter Stories, Ever Oasis, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadow of Valentia
- Best Chinese Game Winner: Jx3 HD
Other nominees: Monument Valley 2, Gumballs, ICEY, King of Glory
- Best Narrative Winner: What Remains of Edith Finch (our review)
Other nominees: NieR: Automata, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Horizon Zero Dawn
- Best Action Game Winner: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Other nominees: Prey, Nioh, Destiny 2, Cuphead
- Best Art Direction Winner: Cuphead
Other nominees: Destiny 2, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Persona 5, Horizon Zero Dawn
- Best Roleplaying Game Winner: Persona 5
Other nominees: South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Final Fantasy XV, Divinity: Original Sin 2, NieR: Automata
- Best Strategy Game Winner: Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Other nominees: XCOM 2: War of the Chosen, Tooth and Tail, Total War: Warhammer II, Halo Wars 2
- Most Anticipated Game Winner: The Last of Us Part II
Other nominees: Red Dead Redemption II, Monster Hunter: World, Marvel’s Spider-Man, God of War
- Best Family Game Winner: Super Mario Odyssey
Other nominees: Splatoon 2, Sonic Mania, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
- Best eSports Team Winner: Cloud 9
Other nominees: Team Liquid, SK Telecom 1, Lunatic-Hai, FaZe Clan
- Best Debut Indie Game Winner: Cuphead
Other nominees: Slime Rancher, Mr. Shifty, Hollow Knight, Golf Story
- Best Ongoing Game Winner: Overwatch
Other nominees: Warframe, Rainbow Six: Siege, Grand Theft Auto Online, Destiny 2, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
- Best eSports Player Winner: Lee sang-hyeok “Faker”
Other nominees: Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi, Je-hong “ryujehong” Ryu, Nikola ‘NiKo’ Kovac, Marcelo ‘coldzera’ David
- Best Student Game Winner: Level Squared
Other nominees: Meaning, Impulsion, Falling Sky, Hollowed, From Light
- Games For Impact Winner: Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Other nominees: Please Knock on My Door, Night in the Woods, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, Bury Me, My Love, What Remains of Edith Finch
- Best Performance Winner: Melina Juergens (Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice)
Other nominees: Laura Bailey (Uncharted: The Lost Legacy), Claudia Black (Uncharted: The Lost Legacy), Brian Bloom (Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus), Ashly Burch (Horizon Zero Dawn)
- Best Game Direction Winner: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Other nominees: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Super Mario Odyssey, Horizon Zero Dawn
- Game of the Year Winner: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Other nominees: Super Mario Odyssey, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Persona 5, Horizon Zero Dawn
Images: FromSoftware, Campo Santo, Nintendo, Bandai Namco, THQ Nordiq, Platinum Games, Kojima Productions, The Astronauts, Media Molecule, After Impact, 4A Games, Square Enix Giant Sparrow, Ninja Theory