The Japan Game Awards 2022 recently took place, putting the focus on excellence in games that have already been released as well as some upcoming titles featured at the Tokyo Game Show 2022.
Organised by the Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association (CESA), the awards ceremony took place on September 15, with awards given to titles released in Japan between April 2021 and the end of March 2022.
Emerging as the winner of the Grand Award and an Award for Excellence was Elden Ring.
Developed by FromSoftware, Elden Ring is an action role-playing game set in a new fantasy world created by Hidetaka Miyazaki, creator of the influential Dark Souls video game series, and George R R Martin, author of the best-selling fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire.
According to the organisers, “This game, which depicts a dark fantasy world with overwhelming volume and quality, has gained tremendous support from many players and was selected as the winner of the Grand Award in the general voting, with enthusiastic comments such as, ‘Everything about this game is perfect’.”
Miyazaki was also selected as the winner of the Japan Game Awards 2022 Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Award, which honours individuals or organisations that have made significant contributions to the growth and development of the computer entertainment software industry in Japan based on the achievements of works created and published in recent years.
As a press statement explained, Miyazaki “has established an unparalleled dark fantasy world with his Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls series, as well as Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and other hit titles in recent years. His latest title Elden Ring, the culmination of a unique genre of entertainment from Japan, has attracted many game fans domestically and overseas with its excellent storyline, overwhelming volume and high quality”.
The statement noted that the award was given in recognition of Miyazaki’s significant contribution to the development of the computer entertainment industry in Japan, including the huge success of the game around the world.
Awards for Excellence were also given to various standout titles, one of which was massively multi-player online role-playing game (MMORPG) Final Fantasy XIV by Square Enix.
According to the press statement, “As the culmination of the series, the game features a cast of major characters who have appeared in past scenarios and played important roles in the series and was chosen as the winner of the award because of the support it has received from long-time players.”
Another Award for Excellence recipient was Ghostwire: Tokyo by Bethesda Softworks. This action-adventure title set in a distorted version of Tokyo was awarded “in recognition of the game’s excellent story line, breathtaking graphics and unique worldview”.
A fellow recipient was action-adventure title Horizon Forbidden West, a sequel to 2017’s Horizon Zero Dawn, from Sony Interactive Entertainment.
“In the general vote, the game was highly acclaimed as having an amazing worldview, storyline, combat and graphics, all of which ‘surpassed the previous title’.”
Nintendo’s platform adventure title Kirby and the Forgotten Land was also awarded.
“In the general vote, the game received votes from various users ranging from two to 68 years old, with comments such as ‘it’s fun to play with my friends, siblings, parents and children’, and ‘it’s also fun to play with my grandchildren’, making it the winner of the award with the support of many users.”
Action-adventure Lost Judgment by Sega was also among the recipients. “The game was immensely popular among users and was given the award for its thrilling action and rich story line that asked the question, ‘What is justice?’.”
Pokémon Legends Arceus, the most recent entry in the Pokémon series by The Pokémon Company, was another Award for Excellence recipient.
“With a completely new way to enjoy Pokémon, this game received a lot of support from not only adult fans of the series, but also from children who played this game for the first time.”
Capcom’s survival horror title Resident Evil Village joined the list of awardees at the ceremony. “In the general voting, comments such as, ‘The shocking development of the last scene brought tears to my eyes’, were received by many users, who chose the game for its spectacular story line that transcended the category of horror games.”
Also among the winners was Sky: Children of the Light, a social adventure game by thatgamecompany. “The game was selected as the winner of the award in the general vote, with overwhelming support from teenage female users who enjoyed the fun of interacting with players from around the world and the heartwarming experience of caring, friendship, and bonding with others.”
Lastly on the list of Award for Excellence recipients was Tales of Arise by Bandai Namco Entertainment, the latest entry in the long running tales of series of role-playing games.
“The game successfully met the expectations of users who had been eagerly awaiting the release of the new title, and was chosen as a winner with the general vote, with many people saying that ‘the story, graphics, characters, and combat are all top-notch’ and that ‘it is a classic role-playing game’.”
Meanwhile, the Best Sales Award and Global Award/Japanese Product both went to Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl, which are remakes that provide a re-imagining of the adventure first embarked upon in the original Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl in 2006.
“This title, which was very popular among children and their parents, won the award by recording the highest number of units sold in Japan during the period covered,” said the press statement.
“Since it was released on November 19, 2021, it recorded cumulative worldwide sales of approximately 14.79 million units through June 30 of this year. It also received the Global Award/Japanese Product due to the support of many fans not only in Japan but also in overseas markets.”
The Global Award/Foreign Product was won by Call of Duty: Vanguard by Activision, Sledgehammer Games and Treyarch.
Vanguard is the latest release in the ever popular Call of Duty series of first-person shooter games, and “was chosen for the award thanks to the immense support from enthusiastic fans from around the world”.
Another accolade presented was the Game Designers Award 2022, which went to rogue-like deck-building title Inscryption by Daniel Mullins Games.
President of Sora Ltd Masahiro Sakurai said, “It is an extremely unique work, and I hesitate to describe the characteristics of the game.
The genre is a card game, but the story takes unexpected turns due to the setting, atmosphere creation, and strange metafiction. It is definitely a game that gives off a unique character, and yet it is very enjoyable to play. The award received much support from the panel of judges.”
In addition, 10 unreleased titles among those exhibited at Tokyo Game Show 2022 were selected as winners of the Japan Game Awards 2022 Future Division through user online voting.
Among the Future Division winners were: slice-of-life adventure game A Space for the Unbound from Chorus Worldwide; role-playing games Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key and Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty from Koei Tecmo Games; role-playing games Final Fantasy XVI and Forspoken from Square Enix; action game Exoprimal, classic compilation Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection and fighting game Street Fighter 6 from Capcom; and action-adventure title Like a Dragon: Ishin! from Sega.