Celebrating game makers’ ingenuity

Danial Norjidi

The Game Awards 2020 put the spotlight on creative and technical excellence in the world of video games on December 10.

Speaking at the event, which took place virtually, Geoff Keighley, creator, producer and host of The Game Awards said, “This year will be a little bit different. It’s been a tough year for everyone. Tonight we can connect around games, something that we all love. Games connect us.”

In addition to the awards and various video game trailers and announcements, the event featured appearances by Brie Larson, Gal Gadot, Keanu Reeves, Christopher Nolan, Tom Holland, Nolan North, Troy Baker, Stephen A Smith, Reggie Fils-Aime and the Muppets, as well as performances by Eddie Vedder and the London Philharmonic conducted by Lorne Balfe.

Emerging as the biggest winner at this year’s edition was PlayStation 4 title The Last of Us: Part II, which took home a total of seven awards, including the event’s most prestigious accolade – Game of the Year, which recognises a game that delivers the best experience across all creative and technical fields.

It also won Best Performance, which went to Laura Bailey for her role as Abby in the game, as well as Best Game Direction, Best Sound Design, Best Narrative, Best Action/Adventure Game and Innovation in Accessibility.

Developed by Naughty Dog, The Last of Us: Part II is set in a post-apocalyptic United States five years after the first game, and continues the story of protagonists Ellie and Joel. Upon winning Game of the Year, Naughty Dog Co-President and The Last of Us: Part II Creative Director Neil Druckmann said, “I want to thank everyone who worked on this game.” He also thanked their partners at Sony by saying, “Your support and trust in us means the world. More than anything, and I know that I speak for the whole team when I say this – we’d like to thank our friends and family that stood by us and supported us throughout the making of this game. You inspire us not only to make better, meaningful games but to improve how we make games.”

Final Fantasy VII Remake. PHOTO: SQUARE ENIX

Another Sony exclusive, open-world action adventure game Ghost of Tsushima, won two awards, bringing the publisher’s overall haul to a total of nine awards. Developed by Sucker Punch Productions, Ghost of Tsushima won Best Art Direction and the Player’s Voice awards.

Square Enix’s epic action role-playing game Final Fantasy VII Remake was another to garner two awards. Remake, which is a re-imagining of the iconic Final Fantasy VII that first released in 1997, won the accolades for Best Role Playing Game as well as Best Score and Music.

Two awards also went to Supergiant Games’ rogue-like dungeon crawler Hades, which won in the categories for Action Game and Indie Game.

Another game that took home two awards was online multi-player social deduction title Among Us, which won Best Mobile Game and Best Multiplayer Game.

The award for Most Anticipated Game went to Elden Ring, an upcoming action role-playing game by From Software and Bandai Namco that sees a notable collaboration between acclaimed game director Hidetaka Miyakazi and renowned fantasy novelist George RR Martin.

The award for Best Ongoing Game went to space exploration and survival title No Man’s Sky, while Microsoft Flight Simulator won Best Sim/Strategy Game and Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate won Best Fighting Game.

The Games for Impact award, which is for a thought-provoking game with a pro-social meaning or message, went to Tell Me Why, a narrative adventure game that follows the story of reunited twins who use their supernatural bond to unravel the memories of their loving but troubled childhood.

The award for Best Family Game went to life simulation title Animal Crossing: New Horizons, one of Nintendo’s most popular games this year, while skateboarding title Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 kickflipped its way to the top in the Best Sports/Racing Game category.

Indie co-op psychological horror title Phasmophobia won the award for Best Debut Game, while first-person shooter Half-Life: Alyx won for Best VR/AR game and platformer battle royale title Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout won the award for Best Community Support. The event also saw Valkyrae named as the winner of the Content Creator of the Year award, which is for a streamer or content creator who has made a positive impact on the community in 2020.

The event also put the spotlight on the world of e-sports with several award categories. Heo ‘Showmaker’ Su won Best Esports Athlete; Danny ‘Zonic’ Sorenson won Best Esports Coach; League of Legends World Championship 2020 won Best Esports Event; League of Legends won Best Esports Game; Eefje ‘Sjokz’ Depoortere won Best Esports Host; and G2 Esports won Best Esports Team.

Speaking at the end of the event, Keighley said, “Congratulations to all our winners and nominees. Next year hopefully we will all be back together in person, but in the meantime there will be plenty of games to play.”