Celebrating standouts of 2020

Danial Norjidi

Since the PlayStation’s inception in 1994, the PlayStation Awards have been held every year.

Now in its 26th year, under the new name of the PlayStation Partner Awards 2020 Japan Asia, this year’s event was streamed on the PlayStation Japan YouTube channel on December 3, 2020 from Sony Square in Shinagawa, hosted by Jon Kabira and Hatsune Matushima.

Speaking at the event, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan said, “All around the world, this has been a year fraught with hardships.

But despite the challenges, he said, the company “successfully launched the PlayStation 5”.

He continued, “All of this has given us tremendous encouragement, and we extend our utmost appreciation to everyone involved.

“Today, it gives us great pleasure to hold the newly named PlayStation Partner Awards, a venue for us to celebrate and honour the spectacular and creative titles from Japan and Asia and the partners who made them a reality.” The awards paid tribute to hit titles released on the PlayStation platform over the past year, focussing the spotlight on a range of games across various categories.

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. PHOTO: SHACKNEWS

The Grand Award was presented to the top three titles developed in the Japan/Asia regions with the highest worldwide sales between October 2019 and September 2020.

One of the three Grand Award winners was Konami Digital Entertainment’s sports simulation title eFootball PES 2020, released on September 12, 2019.

Speaking upon receiving the award, Konami Digital Entertainment producer Seitaro Kimura noted that 2020 marked the 25th anniversary of the Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) series (known in Japan as Winning Eleven).

“I’m really glad that we received this during such a momentous year. As you all know, we faced many difficulties this year. As PES is a football game, we know the football industry really suffered the first half of the year. League tournaments around the world were either postponed or cancelled. Since we produce and operate the game based on real football, we were also affected by this. We had to re-do plans and other activities from scratch.

“So, it is thanks to the work of our staff that we were able to overcome those challenges. Not only the production team, but also the sales, PR and others were involved. I also appreciate the dedicated support of all the fans out there. We hope to continue making fun football games for all the gamers and football fans across the world.”

Another Grand Award winner was Bandai Namco Entertainment’s action role-playing game Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, first released on January 16, 2020. During the ceremony, the hosts shared that more than 2.5 million copies of the game had been sold or downloaded globally.

Receiving the award, Bandai Namco Entertainment producer Ryosuke Hara said, “I never dreamed I’d work on Dragon Ball, which I have loved since I was a child, or be in the gaming industry, which I also loved since I was a child, and be able to stand on this stage like this.

“This game was constructed with a vast scale. There is also downloadable content that we are developing now. I apologise for the long wait, but I believe that Dragon Ball Z fans will be satisfied by the content and volume of this game.”

A third recipient of the Grand Award was Square Enix’s role-playing game Final Fantasy VII Remake. Released on April 10, 2020, the game is the long-awaited re-imagining of the classic 1997 roleplaying game from the first PlayStation console, Final Fantasy VII.

On hand to receive the award was Final Fantasy VII Remake producer from Square Enix Yoshinori Kitase. He said, “Final Fantasy VII Remake is based on the original Final Fantasy VII which was released on the PlayStation 23 years ago. The original also won this PlayStation Award and now the remake has once again won a PlayStation Award.

“The world of Final Fantasy VII Remake is just starting with this remake. This world of the game will continue to expand. Motivated by this award, our development team will work hard to further expand the world of Final Fantasy VII. Please look forward to seeing new releases.”

Another accolade presented was the Partner Award, which was for “titles developed in the Japan/Asia region with top-ranked worldwide sales between October 2019 and September 2020, with particularly noteworthy activity results”.

Seven titles received the award: online free-to-play action game Mobile Suit Gundam: Battle Operation 2 by Bandai Namco Entertainment; massively multi-player online role-playing game Black Desert by Pearl Abyss; action role-playing game Nioh 2 by Koei Tecmo Games; survival horror game Resident Evil 3 by Capcom; massively multi-player online role-playing game Final Fantasy XIV by Square Enix; role-playing game Persona 5 Royal by Atlus; and role-playing game Yakuza: Like a Dragon by Sega.

Two Special Awards were also presented, one of which was Respawn Entertainment’s free-to-play Battle Royale game, Apex Legends, a title developed by creators from outside the Japan / Asia region that has amassed the highest sales in the Japan / Asia region from October 2019 to September 2020.

Another Special Award recipient was Kojima Productions’ adventure game Death Stranding, a title developed in the Japan/Asia region in conjunction with SIE Worldwide Studios that has amassed the highest worldwide sales from October 2019 to September 2020.