The highs and lows of The Game Awards 2015

It may not be a nice thing to say, but for many years watching an awards show with Geoff Keighley at the helm meant I watched by sneaking peaking glimpses between my fingers as my hands covered my eyes. During those years, for every moment of interesting content I saw I was ready to be embarrassed to my very core the next second by something else. That significantly changed in 2014, when the show thankfully got a bit tamer – mainly due to its move from US TV Channel Spike to a streaming show on the always lovely and never not terrible Internet. The move was mostly successful, as it tightened up the shows focus, along with the markets it was forced to appeal to. Ultimately this meant that the people you always mute whilst playing multiplayer games could find something else to shout at, and the show could have an air of decency about it.

With all that horribleness from years past behind me I was not shocked to see this to start the show…

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….I can stand viewing horrible violence and gore, but don’t be cringy, please.

The show began by invoking Albert Einstein, reminding us that “play is the highest form of research,” whilst showing us gritty gaming highlights from the year that has just past. I did not expect that, but I can deal with that. Geoff Keighley then politely reminds us that Chvrches and deadmau5 will be here tonight. Presumably the duo were booked for the show as they both have unnecessary symbols in their names, and you may have trouble pronouncing them if you are over a certain age.

Camilla Luddington is the first personality to grace the stage. In recent years she donned the role of Lara Croft, lending her vocal and motion capture skills to Lara in both Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider. She’s also in Grey’s Anatomy, but I don’t watch that unless I am forced. Camilla is here to present the “Best Multiplayer” award, although let’s not mention that Rise of the Tomb Raider dropped the needless multiplayer option from the original 2013 reboot. The nominees are.

Best Multiplayer

  • Call of Duty:Black Ops III
  • Rocket League
  • Destiny: The Taken King
  • Splatoon
  • Halo 5: Guardians

The audience seemed to cheer most loudly for Rocket League and Splatoon, which also happen to be the two games this year that made me feel good about playing games online again. I like this audience already! In a great turn of events, Splatoon picked up the award for Best Multiplayer. Camilla herself even seemed a bit shocked – I guess they do not reveal the winners ahead of time.

Reggie Fils-Amie walked to the stage, unflinching like a robot, to accept the award. A message was then downloaded to Reggie’s internal workings, and he was compelled to speak it aloud. He called Splatoon “a labor of love,” and took the time to thank all the game makers present for their work. He also thanked fans for embracing Splatoon. Reggie then departed stage left before Camilla directed him right. Crisis averted.

A World Premiere for Uncharted 4 followed, showcasing the always snarky and cocky, but still loveable Nathan Drake. The clip debuted a new character to the Uncharted series – Nadine Ross, who is played by Laura Bailey. Watch it here. Uncharted is still looking great, and is overly bombastic in all the important ways that matter. Geoff then shilled for a while, reminding us to buy all the games on show on all platforms ever available by bewildering us with mentions of sales. Am I supposed to know what Go90 is? #TheGameAwards #Hashtag #Like #Subscribe.#Comment

A quick video for TRON RUN/r then… erm… ran. It seems the game is already up on Steam Early Access. I have no idea what it is, but I guess it is some kind of “runner” game. It is not free, and has a price tag £6.99, so I guess it will be a step up from the runner norm (usually F2P with a bunch of microtransactions). I will have a look at it later, as I have wanted a new good Tron game since Tron Evolution – which is now over 5 years old.

After Flynn, Shaquille O’Neal is here to troll the audience by threatening to give them copies of the original Shaq Fu from 1994. That is a horrible threat, you should be ashamed. Once the audience have calmed down, Shaq shows a glimpse of Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn, a game that was created thanks to a $450,000 IndieGoGo campaign in May 2014. Watch the trailer here. Shaq then announced something about e-sports. To be honest I have no idea what he is talking about. The trailer for the e-sports thing used “Go” by The Chemical Brothers, which is quickly becoming the most overused song in the history of the world. An e-sports team also won an award. My fingers no longer move quick enough for e-sports, so all of this goes over my head. Gank mid.

Quickly following that, Mr. Keighley then introduced us to a World Premiere for a new game – which he assured us has not leaked on NeoGAF. The game turned out to be a new as yet unnamed Batman title from Telltale that’s coming 2016. Watch the trailer here. Telltale are now working on approximately 345 games at one time. Hopefully the minds that brought us Tales from the Borderlands are working on this one, and not the Game of Thrones team – no offense. That is offensive though. Sorry.

Here is what Telltale CEO Kevin Bruner has to say about the new game

At Telltale, we’ve been honored to bring our unique approach to interactive storytelling to some of the biggest entertainment franchises in the world, and we’re excited to announce that we’ll soon be exploring what it means to be Batman in an all-new series starting next year. This iteration of Batman will give fans a first-hand opportunity to dive deeper into the complex life and mind of Bruce Wayne, the duality of his own identity, and the struggle of responsibility in saving a city overcome with corruption and villainy.”

Hey everyone, it’s the AMD Green Room…

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…this conversation certainly was not in any way awkward or forced. Not at all. Please help. Please. Oh god. We quickly move onto shilling sales on the Xbox Live Store. I can accept this if we never go back to the AMD Green Room ever again. Please.

From there we take a short look at Friend and Foe, a developer based out of Tokyo Japan. They are working on a game called Vane. They have a dev blog online if you want to know more about it. Vane is billed as a game where you play as “[a] child with an odd ability stuck in a strange land. A dangerous natural environment inhabited by a strange civilization. [It’s] an open-world adventure game based on mystery and exploration.”

Next we find out that Troy Baker’s hair is amazing, and he is here to present another award. Troy then ponders the eventual death of both himself and his VO brother in arms Nolan North. After that horrible dark moment it is time to present the award for “Best Narrative”, and the nominees are.

Best Narrative

  • Her Story
  • Tales from the Borderlands
  • Life is Strange
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Until Dawn

Not wasting much time, Troy quickly pushes on to reveal the winner of Best Narrative is Her Story. Viva Seifert who played the lead role in the game is here to accept the award. I cannot even say who she played in Her Story, as that would be a spoiler. You should play Her Story. It will be a fun few hours of your life. Viva then accepted the award by reading a message from Sam Barlow (the game’s creator). Thankfully the speech was not split into 300 different parts that we had to piece together to find out what was actually going on.

Presumably because Sam’s message was too long, and we are now running out of time, we quickly move onto a gameplay demo of Far Cry Primal. Ubisoft uploaded an extended version of the same demo here. Far Cry Primal is a game that was first announced back in early October. Primal has a bunch of animals ripping the bloody hell out of each other in it. I am not sure if I saw a bear though. Perhaps bears are exclusive to Michel Ancel’s Wild. Do bears even exist in the Stone Age? Were bears invented or found? All these questions, and more, will be answered when the game hits PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4 on February 23 2016.


*♫♫♫musical interlude♫♫♫*


Following a music break from Chvrches, a group I do not automatically hate, which is certainly an improvement from the usual awards show fodder, we are introduced to Lego Marvel Avengers. Trailer is here. I thought this was already out, but presumably it is not. In fact, according to this trailer I just saw with my eyes, which included a hen pecking Hulk on his toe, it is out January 26th 2016. All these Lego games are bleeding together in my mind.

Maybe it is because I am awake so late, but Kyle Bosman is too loud for me right now, so I am not going to talk about that. With Bosman out of the way, Sony’s Shawn Layden, who is slowly turning into David Mitchell with each event he attends, is here to present the award for Trending Gamer. He tries to make is seem important, which it may be to some, and then reveals the nominees.

Treading Gamer

  • [sorry I plugged my ears]
  • [sorry I plugged my ears]
  • [sorry I plugged my ears]
  • Greg Miller
  • [sorry I plugged my ears]

At some point after I could hear again, I heard the winner Greg Miller giving a speech which was better than it had any right to be. He led a round of applause for all the people who tirelessly and thanklessly work on games day in and day out. These are people whose faces we never see, and whose names we will only see as the credits scroll – if we are even paying attention. We then move onto another World Premier, which turned out to be a video for Double Fine’s Psychonauts 2.

This should be an exciting thing, but the reveal that it is crowd funded, and needs $3.3 million to exist, takes the wind out of the sails somewhat. The seemingly constant need to now announce games that require crowdfunding on a show like this is an unwanted trend too. This will be Double Fine’s third crowd funded game since 2012. You can throw money at the thing here. I will maybe start to care in about 3 years time.

Geoff Keighley then tried to explain what Go90 is to me whilst hidden backstage in a poorly lit room…

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…but I am still confused. Also, Is the Elder Scrolls Online doing bad enough to throw money at people to get them to play? I guess so.

Moving quickly on, the trio that make up Chvrches are here to present the award for Best Indie Game. For some reason, Indie games cannot stand toe-to-toe with big blockbuster games. That is a weird decision to make, as many Indie games this year are fantastic and compelling enough in their own right. Anyway, such a complex issue needs a bigger fourm than a paragraph on the internet, so let’s move onto the nominees.

Best Indie Game

  • Axiom Verge
  • Her Story
  • Undertale
  • Rocket League
  • Ori and the Blind Forest

The winner of “Best Indie Game” turns out to be Rocket League – developed by Psyonix. Psyonix is a San Diego based 15 year old studio, although most had not heard of them before Rocket League was a surprise hit earlier this year on both Steam and PSN. It’s also coming to Xbox One, don’t ya know. Psyonix thanks everyone in the world, including close relation and friends for the success of Rocket League, and even gives Reddit a shoutout. I am sure NeoGAF is fuming at being snubbed.

Next up Shawn Ashmore, the star of Animorphs, and other less important things, is here to tell us about Quantum Break – a game he also stars in. If you have not been keeping up to date, Quantum Break is the next game from Remedy Entertainment – of Max Payne and Alan Wake fame. They always develop games with a distinct style, and Quantum Break seems to continue that trend. A trailer, with zero gameplay was shown to hype the game, although we already seen many snippets of gameplay over the year. Quantum Break is out 5 April 2016, exclusive to Xbox One.

Warning sadness awaits. One of the more somber moments during The Game Awards was Geoff Keighley taking time to reference the passing of Saturo Iwata, and more importantly remember his life. He remarks that he met with Iwata 6 weeks before he passed, but commented that even though he was suffering at the time he still had a smile on his face whilst talking about games. Geoff introduced a short tribute video showing clips of Satoru Iwata throughout the years, before handing the stage over to Reggie Fils-Aimé to talk about his meetings and interactions with the man. He talked about his inimitable uniqueness. The segment ended with Ben Harper performing a touching rendition of Younger than Today in memory of Mr. Iwata. You can watch the tribute here – thanks Kotaku.

It’s hard to follow something like that, but a quick look at Fantastic Contraption for VR tried to get us back on track. Then another quick visit to the AMD Green Room magicked away any sadness that once was there. Then Conan…

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Conan was chosen to announce the award for Best Developer, as he knows all about games and how they are developed. That is obvious and clear for all to see. The nominees are.

Best Developer

  • Bethesda Games
  • Kojima Productions
  • From Software
  • CD Projekt RED
  • Nintendo

CD Projekt RED is revealed to be best developer, and we have a short chat about unicorn sex. I kinda blanked out after that, so I don’t remember much else of what was said. I am going to have weird dreams tonight.

Speaking of dreams, did you ever dream of becoming a Rock Star? Well now you can, as Rock Band is coming to VR! What a great segue that was. I am great! This is also our monthly reminder that Palmer Luckey is 23, and has probably achieved more in his life than we ever will. The Rock Band VR announcement trailer is kinda weird,  and also kind of great. It is worth a few minutes of your time.  Watch it here. Dragonforce are in it too.

Next up, the always t-shirt wearing parttime clothes hanger-man, known as Phil Spencer took to the stage to present an award for “Best Art Direction,” which is a loaded, all encompassing name for an award. It could probably be boiled down to best graphics, although the mood, feel, and overall appeal of a game is likely taken into consideration too. The nominees are:

Best Art Direction

  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • The Witch 3: Wild Hunt
  • Ori and the Blind Forest
  • Bloodborne
  • Batman Arkham: Knight

Ori and the Blind Forest, by Moon Studios was the winner of the award. There is no getting away from the fact that the game looks beautiful. The winners of the award took the time to look back before the game was even conceived, commenting that “Moon Studios” was named after the famous “We choose to go to the Moon” quote by John F. Kennedy. They said that Ori was not an easy game to make, but boasted that it is something the studio can look back upon with pride in future years.

Hey, did you know Shadow Complex has been Remastered, and is now available to download free on PC from the game’s official site? I know this because I watched The Game Awards 2015, and so should you. Downloading the game likely means you will also have the Epic Games launcher on your PC, but that is not so bad.

Maybe you could find more games to play when you are down. Shadow Complex Remastered will also be coming to Xbox One and PS4 in 2014 – who knows if it will be free or not. Maybe it is a Games with Gold and Playstation Plus game – I am just speculating here. Maybe you could find more games to play when you are done. Shadow Complex Remastered will also be coming to Xbox One and PS4 in 2016 – who knows if it will be free or not. Maybe it is a Games with Gold and Playstation Plus game – I am just speculating here.

Kiefer Sutherland, who guest starred in Metal Gear Solid V, lending his voice to an unnamed character for a few short scenes, is up on stage next. Kiefer is not here to talk about Metal Gear, or to jump at Christmas Trees. He is here to present the Industry Icon award to Westwood Studio. Gaming centenarian Jeff Green, and Mr. Star Wars Gary Whitta speak sage-like wisdom about why the studio is so important. Brett Sperry and Louis Castle, the co-founders of Westwood, come on the state to accept their awards, commenting how much the industry has evolved since the days of Dune II, a game that birthed many ideals that still exist in games today.

Oh what’s this…

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They let anyone in there these days. Send help. Please. The AMD Green Room cannot take much more.

To somewhat recover from this lowest point in history, Chris Roberts and Mark Hamill are now on stage. I don’t think Mark Hamill is drunk, but maybe he is close. He is a bit too hyper for this time of the night. He is making weird sounds. Calm down. Don’t go to the darkside, or become the Joker. Stay with us Mark. The duo are here to announce the nominees for Best Action Adventure Game.

Best Action Adventure Game

  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • Ori and the Blind Forest
  • Rise of The Tomb Raider
  • Batman Arkham Knight
  • Assassin Creed Syndicate

I am pretty sure Mark Hamill is drunk now, or at least he’s on something more than life itself. The award goes to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and Kiefer Sutherland is here to accept the award. Presumably because Konami have shot dead everyone else that came into contact with the game. Kiefer says a bunch of nice things and does not throw anyone under the bus. Both Mark and Kiefer exit, and will probably leap at Christmas Trees together for the rest of the night. Geoff Keighley then revealed that Hideo Kojima was invited to attend the show, but Konami, continuing their unending monster heel turn, stopped him and his team from attending. Lawyers were involved. The crowd booed. Shit is crazy.

To mourn the passing of any morality Konami ever had, Stefanie Joosten is on stage to perform a version of Quiet’s Theme from the Metal Gear Solid V soundtrack. She delivers a touching performance to great applause from the crowd. Konami probably own rights to this music, right? What’s the odds on them taking legal action against someone in a few days? Make sure to check out StefPlays on Youtube, where Stefanie Joosten plays games – including Metal Gear Solid V. Stefanie meeting Quite for the first time is the funnest thing you will see all year.

Jade Raymond, who is most well known for her work with Ubisoft, is up next. If you have not been keeping up to date, she is working with EA now, and is founder of Electronic Arts’ Motive Studios. She had previously mentioned on Twitter that she would have no announcements during the show, and instead was here simply to hand out an award. That award is Best Preformance and the nominees are:

Best Performance

  • Ashly Burch as Chloe Price in Life is Strange
  • Doug Cockle as Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Mark Hamill as The Joker in Batman Arkham Knight
  • Camilla Luddington as Lara Croft in Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Viva Seifert as SPOILERS in Her Story

The winner of the award is apparently Viva Seifert for her fantastic performance in The Witcher 3. At least that is what the piece of paper said. Jade is now looking over her shoulder for help. Now everyone is confused…

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After the confusion, and after I came out from behind a cushion I was holding, as live on-air mistakes make me uncomfortable, it seems like Viva is actually the winner, and comes up on stage to accept her award. Viva expressed surprise at winning the award.  She is expressing her own opinion this time, as she is no longer a surrogate for the thoughts of Sam Barlow. Viva describes Her Story as an avant-garde video game, which is a great description, as I can see games with similar style and tone arriving in the coming years. Poor Doug, this is a problem even a Witcher cannot sort out.

We quickly move along to another one of the 542 games Telltale are making, the standalone release of The Walking Dead: Michonne, which will hit digital stores in three separate episodes starting early 2016. Trailer Time. To the AMD Green Room we go… Something more important than life itself was said within the walls of the AMD Green Room, but let’s not talk about it and keep it a secret, as it is time for the Game of the Year award.

Game of the Year

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Bloodborne
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • Fallout 4
  • Super Mario Maker

The Witcher 3 is revealed as the Game of the Year winner by Geoff Keighley himself. Upon receiving the award the developer comments that this award is not just for The Witcher 3, but it is also an award for the cumulation of CD Projekt RED’s work on all three of The Witcher games over the past decade. This is the last award of the show, and it was a great show overall.


*♫♫♫musical interlude♫♫♫*


Thanks deadmau5! So what have we learned? People who play games are great, and the creators deserve all the plaudits they can get. Everyone should be applauded for the work they put in.

Sadly, the streaming services where these very awards are aired still have very toxic communities. They consist of anonymous individuals with no appreciation of what they are watching. These people are cesspits of humanity with no moral fiber, who revel in anonymity to tease and torment all that stand before them. The chat sections on both Youtube and Twitch saw people constantly berated for nothing reasons – for their gender, how they chose to speak, or what they chose wear.

Whilst such Awards were once something to be embarrassed by, the leaders of these shows have moved beyond that. These type of presentations have matured and improved with each and every year that passes. Is it not about time certain individuals put in the effort to do the same? Stop making fools of yourselves, and dragging everyone else down with you. Grow up.

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