Last night Geoff Keighley brought us The Game Awards 2015. With each passing year, the quality of the awards show itself seems to improve, however this year, there were some strangely awkward moments, and that’s not including the Kojima/Konami situation.
First off, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt took the top prize, and CD Projekt Red also won the award for Best Developer. I know I shouldn’t be biased here, but I was truly glad to see them win in these two categories. The more I learn about CD Projekt Red, the more I respect and admire their philosophy on game design. I’m happy the industry recognizes their efforts.
With that being said, a strong case could have been made for any one of the Game of the Year contenders.
As much as I (mostly) enjoyed Her Story, I was surprised to see it win two awards (Best Narrative and Best Performance). The competition was strong in both categories and I thought it was going to go differently. Therein is the excitement of awards shows: you never quite know how the chips will fall until the envelope is opened and the winner is read aloud.
Another surprise (for me, at any rate) was Splatoon winning for Best Multiplayer, and later finding out it also won for Best Shooter. Again, I thought I saw those two categories going a different direction, yet Nintendo took both.
With all the attention (and enjoyment) Rocket League received this year, I was both surprised and excited for Psyonix to take home the Best Independent Game award. I, like many others, had thought Undertale was a slam dunk for this category.
Don’t it go to show you never know!
(Sorry, those are my musical theatre roots coming out there. Little Shop for the win.)
Best Art Direction going to Ori and the Blind Forest seemed quite appropriate, but I wouldn’t have been surprised had it gone to Bloodborne.
I was genuinely pleased Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain won for Best Action/Adventure Game. I had read previously that Kojima would be in attendance and was surprised (how many times have I used that word now?) when Kiefer Sutherland took the stage to accept the award instead. I was wondering what was going on when Geoff Keighley started to explain, and I have to say, I have a lot of respect for him telling it like it was and explaining exactly why Kojima wasn’t allowed to attend. There have been a significant number of things Konami has puzzled me on in the past year, but this felt so terribly petty. To keep Kojima (legally no less) from accepting an award for a game he put so much time and effort into felt so small of Konami. Provided everything was as we were told, I found it to be in terribly poor form. Hopefully Kojima will be better off on his own in the future, as I can’t imagine he will be left wanting for people to work with him.
Another oddity of the evening was award presenter Jade Raymond. She made a sideways remark about David Hayter and for the duration of her time onstage, it seemed like she wasn’t sure what she should be saying. Whatever was happening, it felt awkward.
And speaking of awkward, even though The Game Awards continues to find its footing, there are moments where it feels like they don’t know what tone they are reaching for. There are times when the show feels too casual, and times when it approaches formality. Why some awards are presented onstage and others are not feels odd. I’d far prefer a uniform presenting format, as it would be nice to see all the recipients given time to make a speech however they see fit.
It would also be nice if all the awards were…well…awarded during the show. At the end of last night’s broadcast, there were two fairly major awards left up in the air (Best Shooter and Best RPG) until well after the end of the show. Perhaps these types of things will be ironed out in future years.
I’m grateful Geoff Keighley works so hard to bring The Game Awards to us each year. With and without the surprises, I love seeing the amazing people in this industry awarded for their contributions.
How did you feel about the show? Were you surprised at the winners or did you accurately predict the outcomes of most categories? What were you most hoping for that did or didn’t happen?