Another year is coming to a close, which means we again honored the best in the video game industry with the 2019 The Game Awards. Despite being called an award show, The Game Awards is a multi-faceted show that we’ve come to recognize as yet another event to give us new game reveals. It’s almost become E3-light with a sprinkling of awards.
The 2019 show seemed very heavy on the advertisements and sidebars with host Geoff Keighley, but it wasn’t without some draw-dropping and slightly less impressive reveals. We’re covering the actual award ceremony in another piece, so here we’ll discuss the biggest reveals of the evening.
Are you ready? Because it was one weird roller coaster of a night.
Xbox Series X
Nearly an hour and a half into the four-hour-long evening, we got the biggest and most surprising announcement – the Xbox Series X. Set to a quote by British writer Alan Watts, the trailer seemed to give a glimpse of the stunning visuals we can look forward to. Afterward, Executive Vice President of Gaming at Microsoft Phil Spencer took the stage. He didn’t indulge too much about the tower-like console, stating that it would be the “fastest and most powerful Xbox” to date. Obviously.
Launching during Holiday 2020, Spencer announced that each of Microsoft’s 15 Xbox game studios was working on titles for the next-gen console. In fact, it seems more like the Series X reveal was so that Ninja Theory could showcase its next, very unexpected game…
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2
Ever want to be intimidated by a trailer? Just watch the reveal of Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2! Beautiful, cryptic, and graphic, the trailer for the follow-up to Ninja Theory’s interactive message on mental health was so intense. There was a lot to marvel at during the trailer, especially the use of Maidjan by Heilung, but it’s the facial animations that really shine.
If one didn’t know this was a video game trailer, it’d be easy to mistake it for live-action. From the imperfections in the skin, the nuanced smudges of dirt, and even the details in Senua’s gumline and movement of her tongue as she chants (yes, I looked that hard at this thing) are shockingly detailed.
Fortnite Star Wars Crossover
This wasn’t entirely a surprise, but Epic Games did take the stage with Geoff to discuss the crossover between Fortnite and Star Wars, and boy did they talk about it. What was most intriguing about Epic’s stage time was that it was an announcement for a trailer coming Saturday, December 14. A reveal, by the way, that ultimately came from J. J. Abrams via prerecorded message.
We were then introduced (via a display that came a bit too early) to the TIE glider being dispersed to Fortnite players. It was only a matter of time before Fortnite jumped on the Star Wars bandwagon (or vice versa?), and the murmurings leading up to The Game Awards of such a crossover proved to be real.
The Wolf Among Us 2
Remember when Telltale Games closed and then LCG Entertainment swooped in to save the day? And by “save the day,” I mean offered former Telltale employees freelance positions? Well, it happened, and from it, we’re getting a follow-up to the twisted fairy tale of The Wolf Among Us.
The trailer doesn’t give much away, save that Bigby Wolf is back. The Wolf Among Us 2 is a sequel to the original while still serving as a prequel to the comic series. Developing alongside Telltale is AdHoc Studios, which is comprised of several former staff members of the once defunct studio.
Imagine playing Civilization, but instead of controlling a world leader, you build your own avatar. Bam! You have Humankind. Kind of. It’s not going to be a complete Civilization clone, but there are parallels you can make between the two. That shouldn’t take away from the anticipation for Amplitude Studios’ sixth release.
Slated to release sometime in 2020, the trailer gives a look at some of the game’s mechanics, including land and naval combat.
Bravely Default 2
Nintendo was fairly absent at the 2019 The Game Awards. Though it tantalized with another No More Heroes 3 trailer, some were expecting the presence of former president and COO Reggie Fils-Aime to mean a Breath of the Wild 2 trailer was coming. However, we did get a surprising look into Bravely Default 2, the sequel to the Nintendo 3DS JRPG from 2012.
JRPGs continue to appeal to a select market, so it wasn’t the kind of reveal that everyone could get behind, but it was exciting none-the-less. Especially from Nintendo, who’s Game Awards’ presence was mostly ads reassuring us that “Switch has games…” and a smattering of award nominees.
First revealed in 2018, Gears Tactics finally took the spotlight with a good look at Gameplay at the strategic version of the dismal third-person shooter. It looks like Tactics is capturing the spirit of Gears, pitting players in the role of the COG against the vicious Locust. The game looks beautifully grim as firefights erupt in decimated environments. Heads pop, the COG make quippy commentary, and chainsaws rev in what appears to be a faithful take on the core Gears of War series.
When it comes to turn-based strategy games, visual appeal is a small fraction of the battle. Whether it players well is something we’ll just have to see when it releases on April 28, 2020.
After delighting players with Dishonored and Prey, former Arkane Studios bosses are delivering Weird West. Set in an interesting alternate version of the Wild West, Weird West is a top-down adventure filled with oddities and supernatural themes. Expect to come across unusual terrors in Wolfeye Studio’s first release.
Ghost of Tsushima
During Sony’s State of Play broadcast on December 10, it was teased that Ghost of Tsushima would have a presence at The Game Awards. Have a presence it did, though Sucker Punch didn’t offer too much more than another trailer showing more exploits of Jin Sakai, the last samurai “haunting” Tsushima Island.
It was a beautiful trailer that showcased more of the game’s darker tones, but we’re still waiting for that meaty gameplay presentation. There were some very brief snippets of gameplay, but just enough to barely whet our appetite. Then again, it’s hard to complain when the dark, bloody, and violent trailer did exactly what it was intended to do – add fuel to the Ghost of Tsushima hype train.
Sons Of The Forest
It doesn’t show us much, but the reveal of Sons of the Forest wasn’t something we were expecting. The original was an incredible survival horror experience, with a large emphasis on survival. Sons of the Forest doesn’t confirm whether it will follow in The Forest’s footsteps, but it does appear to focus a bit more on story.
It looks like we can expect some grotesque horrors to impede our journey – wherever it may take us.
Unlike Microsoft, Sony has spent much of its time pushing the PS5 console without really giving us much in the way of games. Well, that’s where Godfall comes in, and boy was it underwhelming. Sure, it looked good, but it wasn’t the best trailer to showcase the power of the console, especially after Senua’s Saga gave us that intense trailer featuring incredible facial animations.
Developed by Gearbox, Godfall, a “third-person fantasy loot-slasher”, will feature solo gameplay, but players can tackle the main game with one or two friends. It was a pretty short trailer that wasn’t too informative, but it does look like Gearbox is straying from the cartoonish look of the Borderlands series.
Fast And Furious Crossroads
The show took an interesting turn with the final reveal of the night – another video game adaptation to The Fast and the Furious series. Michelle Rodriguez (Resident Evil, The Fast and the Furious) took the stage to announce a surprise guest – co-star and Fast and Furious lead Vin Diesel. Confusing, yes, but it all made sense once Diesel made the night’s biggest announcement…
Oh, sorry, it wasn’t the night’s biggest. That was that Xbox Series X/Hellblade 2 reveal that nearly opened the show. It’s an odd swap to put something like Fast and Furious as the show’s closure, especially when the game already looks outdated. If you’re a fan of the film series, you’re sure to enjoy this testosterone-driven romp that looks to utilize everything fans love about the movies.
And that was it. The show was over, leaving many disappointed with the lack of a sizable PS5 presence or Nintendo’s refusal to reveal the fifth Super Smash Bros. Ultimate character. But hey, we got that Fast and Furious game we’ve always wanted.