With 2020 coming to a close, it is that time to look back and reflect on some of the great things that occurred this year. For gamers, the event for such a thing is the Game Awards, the annual awards ceremony honoring achievements in the video game industry. This year, they took place on December 10th
There are many different categories of awards in the Game Awards: Game of the Year, Best Game Direction, Best Narrative, Best Art Direction, Best Score and Music, Best Audio Design, Best Performance, Games for Impact, Best Ongoing, Best Indie, Best Mobile Game, Best Community Support, Best VR/AR, Innovation in Accessibility, Best Action, Best Action/Adventure, Best Roleplaying, Best Fighting, Best Family, Best Sim/Strategy, Best Sports/Racing, Best Multiplayer, Best Debut Game, and Best Esports Game.
If you’re curious about the nominees or winners for any of these specific categories then you can go to the Game Awards website, where they have all of that information listed.
The Last of Us Part II was nominated for 9 awards and won 7 of those 9, including the Game of the Year. This game has been riddled with controversy ever since its release on July 19th, with only an average audience rating of 2.9 stars out of 70,555 ratings—and only 58% of people on the internet liking the game on Google. Compared to the 4.7 stars and 96% of its predecessor, this is quite the dramatic drop. A game with this poor reception winning so many awards shocked the internet, leading many to believe that the Game Awards were rigged. Although not taking as nearly of an aggressive stance as some on the internet, junior Josh Alms commented that “I’d say personally, based on my own opinions on the game and its perception from people I know, its successes definitely seem a bit out of the blue and perhaps a bit far-fetched given the game’s initial reception. Watching the awards with a few people, we were all pretty surprised by it, and were basically left wondering who did the voting for the awards.” Junior Jason Parada generally agreed, “I think the game undeniably looks great and all, but I genuinely don’t think it should’ve won game of the year. I haven’t played The Last of Us [Part II] but I’ve heard enough from those who have played it.”
Several major game reveals also took place at the Game Awards this year and despite the controversies with The Last of Us Part II, many gamers still left the Game Awards feeling excited about the prospective future. For starters, the Game Award opened with the reveal of a new Super Smash Bros. Ultimate character, who ended up being Sephiroth from Final Fantasy 7. An additional major reveal was that of ARK 2, a sequel to the widely popular ARK: Survival Evolved, and an animated series based on the game as well.
When asked about his favorite moment of the Game Awards, junior James Steigerwald said, “The new Smash Bros DLC reveal was super thrilling, the cinematic trailer and the build-up with the FF7 (Final Fantasy 7) song to reveal Sephiroth had me super excited. I don’t even play FF7 but Smash DLC has always been exciting for me.” Junior Jason Parada agreed with this sentiment when he remarked that “I would say Sephiroth being revealed and Half-Life: Alyx getting an award were very cool. It’s great to see Valve can make really good games for their existing franchises. Plus Sephiroth’s reveal inspired me to buy the Switch port of FF7 and I’m really liking it.”
Overall, the Game Awards this year, as they often are, were quite contentious. Many gamers were confused about the Last of Us Part II receiving so many awards that they felt it did not deserve. However, there were some silver linings that many gamers were ecstatic about, such as Sephiroth coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. One can only hope that the excitement associated with the Game Awards is what will carry over into the new year and not the disputes also related to it.