Canadian gaming icon Geoff Keighley hosted the 2019 edition of The Game Awards last night at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. The event was packed with world premieres, guest appearances, and many exciting announcements (see below for more about the new Xbox and other announcements) from the world of video games. Oh yeah, and quite a few winners as well!
Here’s a rundown of all the big news coming out of The Game Awards 2019.
Game of the year
With no clear front runner, the “Game of the Year Award” for most outlets was anyone’s prize to win. Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding is heady and divisive—a prime candidate for some and a total swing-and-a-miss for others. Meanwhile Control is a critical darling, but it just didn’t penetrate the public eye as well as other games on the list.
Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros Ultimate on the other hand is a commercial and critical success. However, its December 2018 release date is almost ancient history by now in the gaming zeitgeist. Could a game like that really ride the wave of popularity long enough to win outright?
A win from the shadows
In the end, a sleeper pick took home the most illustrious hardware of the evening. Most people didn’t see it coming, at least if the general consensus on social media is true. FromSoftware’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is your 2019 GOTY at The Game Awards.
While many are expressing surprise—few are upset. There is no doubt Sekiro is a solid choice. In my opinion, it feels like the jury may have seen the perfect opportunity to reward FromSoftware for what has really been a solid decade of incredible games.
Literally any of its “SoulsBorne” offerings could have taken home the prize in their respective years—but always seem to lose out to bigger contenders. In the same way that Hollywood sometimes honours a great director for their entire body of work when a film comes out in just the right year, I feel as though Sekiro is a win not just for itself, but for a solid library of games this decade.
Don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying it is not a deserving winner, because it absolutely is. But in a somewhat divisive year with no clear favourite, it’s maybe not so surprising to see FromSoftware finally float to the top at The Game Awards. Congratulations to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice for a well-earned victory!
- Control review
- Death Stranding review
- Resident Evil 2 review
- Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice review
- Super Smash Bros Ultimate review
- The Outer Worlds review
It may not have taken home the big one, but Remedy’s moody and atmospheric narrative gem Control still brought home some hardware in the Best Art Direction category. Meanwhile Devil May Cry 5 didn’t surprise anyone in taking home Best Action Game. Nintendo made a few waves themselves, with Best Fighting Game in Super Smash Bros Ultimate and Best Family Game in Luigi’s Mansion 3.
Perhaps the biggest shock of the evening (except to those who are playing it) is indie title Disco Elysium from developer ZA/UM. The game took home four trophies—the most of any nominee. Its accolades include Best Narrative and Best RPG, beating out GOTY nominee The Outer Worlds in the latter.
Death Stranding did not go home empty-handed either, winning for Best Game Direction, Best Score/Music, and Best Performance (Mads Mikkelsen). Other winners include Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and Beat Saber, just to name a few.
- Devil May Cry 5 review
- Luigi’s Mansion 3 review
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare review
- Fire Emblem: Three Houses review
Of course it wouldn’t be The Game Awards without a bevy of reveals, trailers, and announcements. Arguably the biggest drop of the evening was Xbox head Phil Spencer sharing our first look at Microsoft’s next-generation console. The Xbox Series X will be available to consumers during the 2020 holiday season.
Accompanying the reveal is a peek at Senua’s Saga, the sequel to Hellblade from the now-Xbox exclusive developer Ninja Theory. The snippet that was shown looked gripping and gorgeous indeed. If this is the future of Xbox, then things are certainly off to a good start.
Other new announcements include a brand new game from the Bravely Default team, specifically Bravely Default II, coming to Nintendo Switch. Gamers also got a first look at new titles such as Surgeon Simulator 2, Sons of the Forest, and Godfall, a third-person brawler/looter. In keeping with a distinct trend of “part 2” sequels, The Wolf Among Us 2 is also on the way in the midst of a curious resurrection of TellTale Games.
Taking a closer look
Along with some brand new surprises, The Game Awards also provided updates on a number of upcoming titles. Gamers can now delight in new cinematic trailers from upcoming titles such as Final Fantasy VII Remake and Ghost of Tsushima. We also saw more of Gears Tactics, Microsoft’s spin-off title that pits the Gears of War franchise in X-COM-esque turn-based action.
A deep dive into the music behind Cyberpunk 2077 is only increasing the hype for one of 2020’s biggest releases. We also learned that the very popular MMO Black Desert is coming to mobile.
A few new expansions are on the horizon as well. Game of the Year candidate Control will get a free update for all owners with a brand new “Expeditions” mode. Finally, The Elder Scrolls Online is at long last taking fans to Skyrim in its most recent upcoming expansion.
Wrapping up The Game Awards 2019
As always, The Game Awards proved to be a cornucopia of news and hype for video games in the coming year and beyond. What was your favourite announcement during this year’s show? Do you agree with the panel’s choice for Game of the Year?
Be sure to let us know your thoughts on all the big reveals, as well as your picks for awards such as Game of the Year in the comments below!