Spotlight on standouts of 2021

Danial Norjidi

The PlayStation Partner Awards 2021 Japan Asia were held in December, marking the 27th time the event has taken place since it began as the PlayStation Awards in 1994.

According to Sony Interactive Entertainment, the PlayStation Partner Awards are held to present accolades to hit titles sold for PlayStation, recognising the creative work of those who made them.

The award winners were announced via video presentation, where Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan said, “This has been an incredible time, and I want to thank our partners for supporting the PlayStation community through a truly unique year marked by changes to our business environment that encouraged us to explore new ways to deliver amazing experiences. I have deep respect for you, our partners, and for our community, and I am grateful for your enthusiasm and love for video games.

“Gaming is an incredible industry filled with creativity and innovation and I am so happy to see such wonderful games created in Japan and Asia again this year, and to be able to present PlayStation Partner Awards as a place to share this joy with fans that love gaming.

“PlayStation will continue to push forward to be the best place to play for all creators and players,” he added.

A scene from the game ‘Genshin Impact’. PHOTO: MIHOYO
A scene from the game ‘eFootball PES 2021 Season Update’. PHOTO: KONAMI DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT
A scene from the game ‘Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin’. PHOTO: EDELWEISS AND MARVELOUS
A scene from the game ‘Apex Legends’. PHOTO: ELECTRONIC ARTS
A scene from the game ‘Tales of Arise’. PHOTO: BANDAI NAMCO ENTERTAINMENT

The Grand Award was presented to the top three titles developed in the Japan and Asia region with the highest worldwide sales between October 2020 and September 2021.

One the three winners of this year’ Grand Award was miHoYo’s free-to-play open-world role-playing game, Genshin Impact. First launched in September 2020, this highly popular title features a campaign where the player travels to a fantasy world called Teyvat, embarking on a journey to reunite with a long-lost sibling and unravel Teyvat’s mysteries. The game can be played solo or in up to four-player multi-player.

President of miHoyo Wei Liu delivered a message on winning the award, saying, “Genshin Impact is our first open-world action role-playing game and our first entry on the PlayStation platform.

“In terms of game content, the first three of the seven main cities have already been revealed, and more interesting landscapes, characters, stories and gameplay will be released to further enrich Genshin Impact’s game content. In addition to the constant game updates, we haven’t ceased development and optimisation of the game on PlayStation.”

On April 28, 2021, miHoYo launched Genshin Impact’s native PlayStation 5 version, which he said provided “a comprehensive upgrade to the immersive experience of the game in terms of graphics quality and loading speed.

“In the future, we will continue to leverage the power of the PlayStation 5 hardware. We will explore and optimise features including DualSense wireless controller support to further enhance everyone’s gaming experience on the PlayStation platform.

“The adventure in Genshin Impact continues. It is the support of our players worldwide that allowed us to reach this point. In the future, we look forward to carrying on our stories and adventures with every one of you,” he added.

Another Grand Award winner was Capcom’s survival horror title, Resident Evil Village. The eighth major instalment in the long-running Resident Evil franchise, this title takes place a few years after the horrifying events in the critically acclaimed Resident Evil 7 Biohazard.

Players once again assume the role of Ethan Winters in this sequel, which is set in a village described as “a character in its own right with mysteries for Ethan to uncover and terrors to escape from”.

Producer at Capcom Tsuyoshi Kanda said, “Resident Evil Village has received the PlayStation Grand Award 2021 this time thanks to the development staff and everybody who participated in the project. I feel very happy and honoured.

“With the fight for survival in a survival horror as its core concept, the development dedicated their heart into making this game to deliver the overwhelming immersive feeling of the new generation of survival horror,” he said, sharing that they are diligently producing additional downloadable content.

“We want to keep contributing to the development of the game industry through interesting and worth-playing games. Thank you for your continued support.”

A third winner of this year’s Grand Award was eFootball PES 2021 Season Update by Konami Digital Entertainment.

In a message on winning the award, the game’s production team said it was an honour to receive the Grand Award. They noted that the world has been facing a difficult situation since 2020 and that 2021 was “the year that we change how we enjoy sport as well as the role of gaming”.

“As such, we worked hard to produce and manage a football game that people of all ages can enjoy. Thanks to the cooperation of many parties who worked on eFootball PES 2021 Season Update, and above all else, the support from fans who have been there for us for many years. We want to keep creating interesting contents for gamers and football fans all over the world. Thank you very much,” they added.

Meanwhile, three Special Awards were presented, one of which was for a title developed by creators from outside the Japan and Asia region that has amassed the highest sales in the region from October 2020 to September 2021. This award went to free-to-play battle royale game Apex Legends from Electronic Arts.

Another Special Award was for an independent title developed in the Japan and Asia region that has amassed the highest worldwide sales from October 2020 to September 2021. Winning this award was Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin from Edelweiss and Marvelous.

A third Special Award was for “a title developed in the Japan and Asia region with particularly noteworthy activity results at the release of the PlayStation 5”. This was won by Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition, an action game from Capcom.

Also presented was the Partner Award, which was for titles developed in the Japan and Asia region with top-ranked worldwide sales between October 2020 and September 2021, with particularly noteworthy activity results.

This accolade went to five titles, including three titles from Square Enix, including role-playing games Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade and NieR Replicant as well as multiplayer online role-playing game Final Fantasy XIV. Two titles from Bandai Namco Entertainment also won the award, including role-playing game Tales of Arise and free-to-play online action game Mobile Suit Gundam Battle Operation 2.