On a big night for video games, “The Last of Us Part II” was the biggest winner. The harrowing action-adventure game, a Sony PlayStation 4 exclusive released in June, won seven awards including the biggie: Game of the Year.
The other nominees for the top award were “Hades,” “The Ghost of Tsushima,” “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” “Doom Eternal,” and “Final Fantasy VII Remake.”
Game of the Year and other top achievements of the past year were honored at The Game Awards, broadcast live online from Los Angeles, London and Tokyo.
“The Last of Us Part II,” which netted 10 nominations, had six other wins: game direction; innovation in accessibility; audio design; best narrative; Laura Bailey, for best performance as the character Abby; and for best action adventure game.
More winners (to see the complete list of nominees and winners go to thegameawards.com): “Among Us” (best mobile game and best multiplayer game); “Mortal Combat 11 Ultimate” (best fighting game); “Ghost of Tsushima” (Players’ voice and art direction); “Microsoft Flight Simulator” (best simulation/strategy game); “Final Fantasy VII Remake” (best role-playing game and for best score and music); “Hades” (best indie game and best action game); “Half-Life: Alyx” (best VR/AR); “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2” (best sports/racing game); “Elden Ring” (most anticipated game); and “No Man’s Sky” (best ongoing game).
Among early winners: “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” for best family game; “Phasmophobia” for best debut game; and “Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout” for best community support.
Celebrities get in on the game
In addition to prizes, The Game Awards included exclusive video game trailers, celebrity appearances from Gal Gadot, Keanu Reaves and Brie Larson, who presented the best performance award via Zoom—all the presenters and nominees were connected via videoconference—and musical performances including Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, who played “Future Days,” a song he had written for “The Last of Us Part II.”
After performing, Vedder said, “I really appreciate the way (the song) was used especially bringing Joel and Ellie together connecting through music and I thought maybe it was cool, too, if it made you wanna perhaps pick up a guitar yourself and write a song for your loved one.”
Video games are “a fascinating way to tell a story, it’s just getting better all the time,” Vedder said. “It’s cool to be part of it.”
Before announcing the Game of the Year award, filmmaker Christopher Nolan (“Tenet”) said, “I’ve always been interested in telling stories that immerse the audience. I like movies that unfold in unexpected ways and pull people into a world. When I look at video games, I see a lot of parallels with that storytelling, how players’ agency and choice intersect with more traditional storytelling methods,” he said. “It’s exciting to see and really quite groundbreaking.”
He described all the nominated games as “true masterworks in storytelling.”
Actor Tom Holland zoomed in from Atlanta, where he is working on the as yet-untitled Spider-Man sequel—and will also appear in the Uncharted movie, based on the PlayStation video game franchise—to introduce Nolan North, the voice of Uncharted lead character Nathan Drake. North announced that “Among Us,” was winner of the best multiplayer game award.
Exclusive previews and reviews included “Perfect Dark,” an Xbox reimagining of the classic N64 game, with Agent Dark investigating a scary underside to new technologies corporations have developed to combat the effects global warming has had on a futuristic Earth; and “Back 4 Blood,” a four-player cooperative zombie shooter, due June 22, 2021, from the makers of “Left 4 Dead.”
—”The Callisto Protocol,” a single-player sci-fi survival horror game coming in 2022 from Striking Distance Studios, led by Glen Schofield (“Dead Space,” “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare”). “Our goal is to make the single most scariest game for PCs and consoles,” Schofield said on the broadcast.
—”Disco Elysium: The Final Cut” is a console version of the PC role-playing game that won four awards at last year’s event (due in March 2021).
—Vin Diesel is a dinosaur hunter in “Ark II,” the upcoming sequel to “Ark: Survival Evolved,” and joins other actors including Michelle Yeoh, Gerard Butler and Russell Crowe in voicing characters in a new “Ark: The Animated Series.”
—It was revealed that Final Fantasy character Sephiroth would be a new fighter coming to “Super Smash Bros Ultimate.”
—Epic Games worldwide creative director Donald Mustard announced that Master Chief, the hero of the Xbox Halo video game series, was available immediately in “Fortnite.”
—”Open Road,” an in-development road trip mystery with characters voiced by Keri Russell and Kaitlyn Dever.
—”The Elder Scrolls Online” revealed a first look at its 2021 chapter “Gates of Oblivion.”
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