VGA

That meant something different when I was younger. But here we’re talking about the Video Game Awards. The thing that Geoff Keighly has somehow managed to both create and monopolize to a degree I didn’t think possible. I’m amazed that the geek/fanboy in him still exists and that corporate culture has not crushed that into a robot mess (Hi Zuck!). That the VGA are able to recognize achievement in a genre that’s often put to the side is great. People put in a lot of time and love into creating these games.

This year went ahead with COVID around, so entirely virtual. Another cool bit is that there are no cable deals here, full stream to everyone. It recognizes that the audience is not 65. Awards interspersed with trailers for upcoming games. Imagine watching the Oscars and you had trailers for new movies? Somehow that works here. Again smart in that attention span stuff, people watch the awards themselves AND get to see new stuff. Their retention must be quite high.

Announcements

Some interesting bits here (Videos in link).

  • Perfect Dark has a sequel, which is neat. I played MORE of that than I did GoldenEye, mostly due to the crazy weapons and decent bot AI. 2 player games were awesome/
  • Dragon Age 4 had a trailer. As per a previous post, I am not bullish on BioWare pulling this off. I don’t get why you think setting has any bearing on this series… people have spent hundreds of hours there. They get it. Halo ads aren’t focused on trees or walls.
  • Sephiroth is going to be in Smash Brothers. I wish I understood fighting game’s fascination with adding weird characters. MK11 is certainly in this boat.
  • There’s a new Mass Effect, which seems to be set just after ME3. I am hopeful they learn that this story has to focus on characters rather than the world, like all good sci-fi does.
  • ARK2 has a voice cast?!? I don’t get it.
  • Back4Blood is from the Left4Dead team, and a modern take on it. This should be neat.
  • Open Roads looks to be an exploration game, sort of in the frame of KR Zero, or Edith Finch. A lot of games try this genre, not many succeed. Fingers crossed here!
  • Returnal seems an interesting mix. Groundhog Day (the Bill Murray flick) is often seen as a psychological horror movie (he’s in the loop for like 100 years), so throw some sci-fi and there ya go!
  • A few games are getting big updates (or sequels, like meatboy 2) in the next few weeks!

So nothing terribly earth shattering in this space, in particular in the AAA space. We knew they were being worked on, either officially or not. None of them have timeframes.

Awards

Last of Us Part 2 won game of the year, which is less important to me than the list of candidates. Hades, Ghost of Tsushima are also on the list and NOT sequels.

The other categories are filled with sequels. Doom, Animal Crossing, FF7 remake, Half-life, Ori, Resident Evil. All amazing games, and when you have the IP down pat, then you can focus on polish. There are 3 PS exclusives (Last of Us, Ghosts of Tsushima and Miles Morales), which continues the trend of quality from that shop. If ever there was a motivation for XBOX to buy dev shops, this should be a clear indicator.

I love how a 20 year old remake (THPS 1+2) won. How messed up is the sports genre that this happened? Among Us won 2 categories, even though it launched in June 2018. And somehow Halo Infinite was on the list for most anticipated… considering it was supposed to launch a month ago, that’s odd. Could almost make a joke about Cyberpunk here…

Solid shout outs to the smaller games, like Kentucky Route Zero, Spiritfarer, Tell Me Why… These games rarely get much exposure (well… KRZ certainly is on a bunch of must play lists) and they can be a challenge to find. Steam’s content quality issues (9,400 games launched so far this year!) make is all but impossible for a person to sort through, making everyone reliant on curators. The VGA are able to highlight some diamonds in the mess of muck out there.

All told, a good event that recognizes some very hard working individuals to get stuff in front of our eyeballs, and engage us for hours, if not days. While I’d love to see less AAA on these lists and more indie games here, that’s an industry growth issue.

And if my dozens of posts on the subject were not enough, then knowing that Hades had multiple nominations and wins should scream – GO PLAY IT!

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