Celebrating new developments in gaming

Danial Norjidi

The 2020 edition of Gamescom, held from August 27-30, put the spotlight on some of the latest developments in the video game industry. Organised by Koelnmesse and the German Games Industry Association, it was held in digital format due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the highlights of the annual event is the Gamescom Awards, featuring a celebration of the biggest and most impressive new developments the video game industry has to offer, as well as the upcoming games you are most excited about.

Awards were presented across 26 categories, while the jury was formed of German and international game journalists, well-known YouTubers and other experts.

In addition to the jury categories, there were also fan categories of Best Show and Best Streamer in which Gamescom fans were able to vote for their favourites.

Fans also got to vote for the winner of Most Wanted Consumer Award among the nominated games in the event.

Emerging as a big winner with five awards overall was Polish studio CD Project Red’s upcoming role-playing game Cyberpunk 2077, an open-world, action-adventure set in the futuristic megalopolis of Night City.

Cyberpunk 2077. PHOTO: CD PROJEKT RED

The game, set to release in November, won the coveted Best of Gamescom award, Best Sony PlayStation Game, Best PC Game and Best Role-Playing Game. Fans also voted Cyberpunk 2077 as the highly anticipated of all the games nominated, garnering it the Most Wanted Award.

Tarsier Studios’ suspense-adventure title Little Nightmares 2, scheduled for release in February next year, won two awards – Best Nintendo Switch Game and Best Presentation/Trailer.

Winning the award for Best Family Game was KeyWe, “a cooperative postal puzzler” with a 2021 release date in which two small kiwi birds work in a whimsical post office. Another winner was Borderlands 3, which won Best Ongoing Game, while Codemasters’ off-road racing title DIRT 5 drove home with the award for Best Racing Game.

The award for Best Remaster went to Mafia: Definitive Edition, which will be released on September 25 and is described as “a total remake of the classic drama set during the Prohibition Era”.

Best Simulation went to racing game Project CARS 3, while skateboarding title Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 won Best Sports Game and historical turn-based strategy title Humankind took home Best Strategy Game.

The award for Most Original Game went to Voidtrain, a game in which you become a crew member of an inter-dimensional train and discover a mysterious new world.

The upcoming third installment in Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs series, Watch Dogs: Legion, earned the Best Action Adventure Game award, while Electronic Arts’ starfighter combat title Star Wars: Squadrons won Best Action Game.

Winning the award for Best Indie Game was Curious Expedition 2, a rogue-like expedition simulation set in the 19th Century, while espionage-themed cooperative adventure Operation: Tango won Best Multiplayer Game and narrative adventure title Tell Me Why won Best Microsoft Xbox Game.

Another award recipient was Microsoft’s upcoming next-gen console, the Xbox Series X, which won the accolade for Most Wanted Hardware/Technology.

Reflector Entertainment’s upcoming action-adventure game Unknown 9: Awakening won Best Announcement, while Bandai Namco Entertainment won Best Lineup and the World of Tanks Blitz Gamescom stream by Wargaming won the Best Show award, while Erik ‘Gronkh’ Range won Best Streamer.

Also presented was the Heart of Gaming Award, a special jury prize. Considered for the award were not only games, expansions, products, technologies and similar, but also persons, organisations, companies, concepts and terms.

This year’s Heart of Gaming Award recipient was the all-digital Indie Arena Booth, a virtual walk-through MMO designed by Super Crowd Entertainment within a few months.

In a press release, organisers Koelnmesse said that Gamescom was pioneering in many respects in 2020, noting that as it took place purely digital for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic, “the world’s largest event revolving around computer and video games set new standards this year in terms of the concept, content, and with regard to reach”.

“Many new shows and offerings from 370 partners and supporting events captivated millions of gamers from more than 180 countries in front of their screens. More than two million simultaneous spectators alone followed this year’s Gamescom: Opening Night Live, the opening show with and by Geoff Keighley. The show is thus the most-watched digital event of the trade fair industry worldwide and among the top three of this year’s international event live streams of the games industry.”

The organisers have also announced that in 2021, Gamescom will take place from August 25-29 in Cologne and online as a hybrid event.