2015 has been absolutely incredible for AAA games and indie games alike. The gaming community have been completely overwhelmed and backlogged with the rapid-fire succession of new game releases. It is certainly an amazing time to be a gamer. Geoff Keighley’s The Game Awards 2015 is a celebration, a reflection, and a look into the future of gaming. Over the course of the year, people have crawled their way through Bloodborne, put their life aside for Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and had more fun than they ever could have imagined with Rocket League. The Game Awards celebrates moments like these and takes a look into what the future has in store. Over the course of two hours there were awards, world premiere reveals, and tributes to the industry’s great personalities. There was a great feeling of community present during this event and it felt all-inclusive.
The game of the year award has been a subject of much debate in journalism, forums, and podcasts since there have been so many great games in 2015 that were eligible for the title. Though it was certainly no run-away competition, CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt won out over Bloodborne, Fallout 4, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and Super Mario Maker. This is a great choice, since it is a virtually flawless game (despite a few bugs). The Witcher 3 showcases and sets the standard for what this console generation is capable of. With beautiful graphics and art style, excellent voice acting, great gameplay, and a massive map complete with dozens of immersive quests, The Witcher 3 screams next-gen. It is the game that everyone was and is talking about. CD Projekt Red, who won the developer of the year award, have proven themselves to be one of the best studios in modern gaming. Not only have they delivered a retail game worthy of its $60 price tag with 200+ hours of immersive content, but they also aim to “do DLC right”. As we all know, DLC has become a very sensitive issue in modern gaming. The new Goat Simulator DLC was presented with a comedic sketch poking fun of season passes and DLC prices; an issue that all modern gamers can relate to.
The Game Awards is also a time to reflect on game industry greats that have helped to excel the culture and lifestyle to where it is today. Most notable is the memorial for the late Satoru Iwata, whose ideas have had such a profound influence on our lives as gamers. As the CEO of Nintendo, Iwata continuously moved the company forward with his fearless and unconventional ideas. Watching Reggie Fils-Aimé speak about his experiences working with Iwata and the video montage reflecting Iwata’s life in the games industry was riveting. As gamers, we have all been impacted by Nintendo games in some way, regardless of where we are now. Watching this memorial made me feel united with gaming culture and proud to have experienced the evolution of video games over such a long period of time.
With the mass-release of VR on the horizon, the game industry is well on the way to even greater mainstream success. The unconventional story-driven game Her Story won best indie game against turn-based RPG Undertale and Metroidvania games Axiom Verge and Ori and the Blind Forest. This is so exciting and different than what we have seen in previous years. Her Story is such a unique game that appeals to gamers and non-gamers alike. It is so interesting to see it go up against these more “hardcore” videogames which, more or less, will only appeal to people who game frequently. You could probably get your detective show-loving dad into Her Story but you might have a little more trouble getting him into Undertale.
Such a big event would not be as exciting without the announcements of future games and content. Geoff Keighley promised ten exclusive world premieres at this year’s Game Awards and he most certainly delivered on his promise. Masters of episodic storytelling Telltale Games does not seem to be stopping their success streak anytime soon, as they had two huge reveals: Batman and The Walking Dead: Michonne. Farcry Primal unveiled some brief story content in addition to some extensive gameplay footage, which looks extremely promising! The first-person bow and arrow and throwing spear combat looks so brutally satisfying. New gameplay footage was shown for Quantum Break and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, which also introduced a new character to the franchise. Xbox One will soon have the extremely popular Rocket League. Shadow Complex is being remastered for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Psychonauts 2 was a very exciting game announcement, as was the upcoming Rise of the Tomb Raider DLC, Baba Yaga. Unfortunately, fan-favorite and industry giant Hideo Kojima was not present at the awards, due to a legal dispute. You can read more about that here.
The gaming industry has come so far and The Game Awards are a perfect showcase of its progress and its future. It is not only fun and interesting to watch, but it helps validate the hobby we all put so many hours into. Gaming culture can only grow and multiply at this point. It is so nice to have a celebration and reflection on the amazing year of 2015, which hardly saw a lull in solid game releases and continuously pushed the boundary for the modern videogame.