The Game Awards 2021

And we’re back for another year of A Game Award And Some Advertising The Game Awards. While the news team will be beavering away to get the announcements and reveals out there as quickly as is humanly possible, I will be sitting here in the snark booth glaring at The Game Awards and wishing I was doing something else.

All times are in Eastern time, and I will almost certainly slip up once and drop into UK time instead. Sorry about that. Anyway, let’s get on with the suffering!

Note that this page does not auto-refresh.

 

The Pre-Show

7:30pm — And we’re off with the pre-show… which contains awards and reveals and world premieres. What’s the point of the pre-show? Is it just the actual show except Geoff Keighley isn’t on stage for 30 minutes and we also don’t have Hideo Kojima or Josef Fares? If so, can we just stretch the pre-show out to four hours instead? Well, we have Sydnee Goodman for this long, anyway.

7:32pm — And our first world premiere is Tunic (I think?) Cute little isometric indie action-adventure, with some heavy Zelda vibes.

7:33pm — Life is Strange: True Colors wins Game for Impact. A man is on stage very briefly to accept.

Pre Show

This is actually from later in the show, but it sums up the brief pauses between trailers we get in the pre-show. And also every award.

7:36pm — Reddit’s favourite game is Resident Evil: Village. Was that an award? I don’t know! The Game Awards doesn’t give a shit! Here’s another world premiere!

7:38pm — The King of Fighters XV is the next world premiere. Either it’s the beta times (on console) or the release date and ability to wishlist it on Steam (on PC) that was new. I don’t know. I’m trying not to think.

7:39pm — I made the mistake of stepping away to get my food out of the oven, which means I’ve missed something about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre multiplayer game, and whatever space game is on now. You can tell how much they care about awards and games by all the time they’re devoting to each individual game, eh?

Oh, wow, it was Homeworld 3. Okay, that’s interest– I’m sorry, four esports categories are getting awards now?

Best Esports Athlete: S1mple. Best Esports Team: Natus Vincere. Best Esports Coach: Kkoma. Best Esports Event: 2021 League of Legends World Championship.

This is all definitely about the awards. You can tell by how four of them were rattled off in under forty seconds and then followed up with “And now we have three more world premieres.”

The Expanse

7:42pm — Telltale Games’ zombified corpse is announcing something. Wow, a game based on The Expanse? I was not expecting that. That’s kinda neat, I suppose! Also, Babylon’s Fall. Also, a Chivalry 2 free weekend and some new stuff. Wouldn’t it be great if they gave these games some time to breathe so we could appreciate things instead of going TRAILER TRAILER TRAILER TRAILER? Yeah, that’s not happening.

7:48pm — A very brief talking head from someone saying they were at The Game Awards 2021, and then TWO MORE REVEALS! Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak expansion is coming in 2022.

Thirsty Suitors

“Battle your exes. Disappoint your parents. Find yourself.” Thirsty Suitors. Okay, I’m in for that. That sounds like my life.

7:51pm — There is literally no point in cutting back to the stage just for Sydnee to say “Here’s another world premiere” before going to another trailer. None. At all. The only thing I can think of is that it reminds us that this is a stage show and not just trailers, except it is just fucking trailers, isn’t it?

7:54pm — After Have A Nice Death, we have the game award for Best Audio Design. Reminder: this is the pre-show. The awards on screen for about six seconds. Please remember what the purpose of this show is, and it’s sure as shit not the awards.

Forza Horizon 5 wins it. A man from the dev team gets to talk for 15 seconds about how much this means to him before he’s rapidly ushered off so we can have more information about forthcoming games. Because who cares about the past, right? Certainly not The Game Awards! Giving awards out! To games that came out already, and thus are in the past!

7:58pmPlanet of Lana, a side-scrolling thing. Platformer? Adventure? I don’t know, it’s just a trailer and I’m not given any time to look at it before we’re ushered off to another World fucking Premiere.

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is coming to Steam on March 17th. It’s listed as “what happens after Persona 4 Golden“, but it’s actually a sequel to Persona 4 Arena. Which we’re probably not getting because Ultimax surpassed it in basically every way, but it’s a direct continuation of that story. Still, I wasn’t expecting this, so hey! That’s something!

The Game Awards 2021

8:00pm — Now Sting is singing live to mark the end of the pre-show and the start of the actual show, because Geoff Keighley paid him a lot of money he cares deeply about games. Well, this gives me a moment to eat.

Just to count: in the pre-show we had six awards (seven, if Reddit’s one counts) and twelve world premieres. And I suspect I missed at least one. Sigh.

Tga 2021 Sting

8:05pm — “This is our night to celebrate the power of video games”.

Anyway, Keighley’s here now. His shoes are not super impressive, but at least they match the suit in color. I’m also not sure about that shirt with the sparkly collar, but unlike the shoes, it’s something a bit different.

8:07pm — “We can’t ignore the headlines that are out there,” he says, before saying that game creators must be supported by their companies and harassment isn’t okay. “I call on everyone to do their part to build a better, safer videogame industry.”

Right, so it’s confirmed we won’t be seeing anything from a number of high-profile companies here, then? Because Geoff Keighley and The Game Awards are making a moral stand. This wasn’t just pandering, was it, because you couldn’t ignore it? You’re using this huge platform to make a stand, right? … Nope, no mention of specifics. Guess not.

ANYWAY DOESN’T MATTER MOVING ON HERE’S GIANCARLO ESPOSITO TO GIVE AN AWARD

Tga2021 Giancarlo Esposito

8:09pm — Best independent game. Kena: Bridge of Spirits wins it… and also wins Best Debut Indie Game, says the voiceover person, because we definitely don’t have time to give out that award. Gotta save time for the reveals.

8:12pm — Speaking of reveals, here’s Hellblade 2 gameplay footage!

8:21pm — Star Wars: Eclipse, by Quantic Dream. That looked quite interesting up until the Quantic Dream logo appeared, so I see why they saved that for the end of the trailer. It’s a Star Wars game set in the High Republic era, so expect lots of Jedi and droids and trade negotiations.

Star Wars Eclipse 1

8:25pm — Bethesda is hiring, and also Pete Hines is self-deprecating about how Skyrim is being ported to everything and their games keep getting leaked. Also, lots and lots of game codes scrolled down the screen, which I can guarantee have all been used by now.

More interestingly, Lost Ark has a lovely trailer and apparently is coming out on February 11th.

8:28pm — “A new game announcement that no-one had on their bingo card,” says Keighley. Oh, hey, it’s Wonder Woman by… Monolith? Okay, I did not see that coming.

Best Performance award time.

8:29pm — Maggie Robertson as Lady Dimitrescu in Resident Evil: Village. Justifiable, though I’d probably have gone for either of the Deathloop leads. Dimitrescu was well done with some varied takes, but a bit of a small role.

Nonetheless, she seems genuinely, unbelievably happy about this and about her role in general, and that’s heartwarming to see. I applaud you, Maggie Robertson. And — oh we’ve suddenly cut away to a trailer. That’s enough feeling good about the games industry, I guess. Oh. Huh. Alan Wake II?

8:32pm — Max Payne Sam Lake is here to talk about it! “Breaking new ground.” It’s “Remedy’s first ever survival horror game. The first game had horror elements to it, but it was an action game.”

You know what? I’m here for it. Alas, it’s not coming until 2023, so this is a very early announcement with just a short teaser trailer that wasn’t in-game footage. We’ll maybe hear a bit more around this time next year.

8:35pm — Ben Schwartz, voice of Sonic in the Sonic movie, is here to show off a trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog 2. (The movie, not the game. The game came out a while ago. I’d be surprised if they Sega was promoting that now.) Ben is effervescent and charismatic, which is unsurprising for a legitimate actor!

And now Jim Carrey is here with a video message, and… uh…

Tga2021 Jim Carrey Ben Schwartz 2

… what was that?

Never mind. I’m not dwelling on that and Jim Carrey strangling the camera will not reappear in my nightmares. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 trailer. April 8th, 2022!

Sonic The Hedgehog 2

8:41pm — Looks fun, which is pretty much what I got from the first movie and what I’d expect from this. I know that “fun” is a terrible word to describe anything, but that’s about the best I can really say: it was funny, light-hearted, and just generally entertaining for a few hours.

Horizon: Forbidden West trailer now, which… isn’t coming to PC. At least, not yet. We did get Horizon: Zero Dawn, though, so who knows what’ll happen in a few years time? And now a brief musical break with an orchestra doing some Horizon music, so I can have a brief break to run to the loo.

8:45pm — Final Fantasy VII Remake is coming to PC, as we all knew it would. What’s more surprising is that it includes Intergrade (the DLC chapter with Yuffie), and also it’s out next week. Epic Store exclusive, due out on 16th December.

Ff7 Remake Intergrade Pc

Not sure about those keybinds, though. E to attack? Well, I’m assuming that’ll be on the mouse…

8:47pm — Okay, an advert for Google Play and an advert for the Switch. Now I’m running to the loo.

8:51pm — Best action game goes to Returnal. No comment; haven’t played it, but it looks like it’s up my alley. I do like my rogue-lites. And now, a… video game! I don’t know what it is! It looks very generic! Oh, it’s Destiny 2: The Witch Queen. I was correct. (Geoff Keighley says it looks “so, so good”.)

8:56pm — Keiichiro Toyama (Silent HillSirenGravity Rush) is announcing a new game. Akira Yamaoka music, and some faces and heads expanding and exploding into horrifying alien maws as people are sliced literally in two. I’m in for Slitterhead.

Slitterhead

9:01pm — I completely missed Nightingale because I got distracted by emails and embargoes and so on, but the PCI staffers who are watching seemed to think it looked pretty cool. So hey! Nightingale looks cool, apparently!

9:03pm — Gollum trailer. I swear they’ve made Gollum’s eyes bigger to make him cuter. If that trailer is accurate in terms of stealth/action, that actually might be pretty good?

Then we got an advert for the Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker Grubhub collaboration for a pizza emote, and I got irrationally angry about the first Endwalker dungeon being called a raid.

I’ve missed at least two trailers at this point. It’s 2am; I’m flagging. Only… oh come on. Two hours to go? Well, we’ve got a live Cuphead performance now which may signify a Cuphead announcement, or may just be a poke in the face to remind us that we’re still waiting on The Delicious Last Course DLC. Maybe it’ll be surprise-released after this? I mean, this is the song for it…

Tga 2021 Cuphead

9:10pm — We’ve got a lovely trailer for it now, pointing us to DLC Island… which is coming June 30th 2022. Reminder that it was planned for release in 2019. Then again, Cuphead itself was delayed for what felt like a decade and was very much worth it, so hopefully this will be too! And hopefully it won’t be delayed again.

9:13pm Sonic Frontiers, coming 2022. I cannot remember if I saw a PC logo there but I’m assuming I did. The name intrigues me, at least. Open-ish world, maybe?

Oh no, it’s Hideo Kojima. I fear this. No, wait, he’s just introducing… a trailer for a Guillermo Del Toro movie? Is… is this something to do with games?

9:15pm — Aha, that’s why. Guillermo del Toro, the director of Nightmare Alley (the movie that was trailed), is here to give out the Best Art Direction award. I’m guessing this was an obligation. That, or they just asked him if there was anything he wanted to show off since he was coming along (via video) to give away an award.

Best Art Direction goes to… Deathloop. I am okay with this! I’d probably have gone with Psychonauts 2, but this isn’t an award I’m going to complain about. It was the usual Arkane stuff, and that’s 100% fine. They are good at art direction.

9:18pm — Aaargh additional winners. Time for a speedrun.

Players’ Voice Award goes to Halo Infinite which… when was that even decided? Were the votes on that before it even came out, or was that voted on during the show? Oh well, no time to dwell on that. MORE AWARDS! Best Role-Playing Game goes to Tales of Arise. Best Score & Music goes to Nier Replicant Ver. 1.22474487139… Content Creator of the Year goes to Dream. Best multiplayer game goes to It Takes Two. I’m guessing this was because none of these awards mattered to Keighley so gotta go through them fast so we can get to more trailers. And Aerial Powers is here to give out Best Mobile Game, which goes to Genshin Impact. That… that was it. We were teasing her giving out that award throughout the show for her to just say “Best Mobile Game goes to Genshin Impact?” Wow.

9:23pm — I see PUBG Mobile is taking a leaf out of Fortnite‘s book by grabbing skins from everything else they can. Looks like Arcane (the League of Legends show) now has skins in that.

And now, some Vermintide 2 news! I like Vermintide 2, but I wasn’t really expecting more stuff announced today as a big trailer at The Game Awards. Warrior Priest coming to Vermintide 2, available now on PC.

Tga Ming Na Wen

9:26pm — Ming-Na Wen is here to announce Best Narrative. DeathloopIt Takes TwoLife is Strange: True ColorsGuardians of the Galaxy, and Psychonauts 2 are up for it. And the winner is… Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Again, no comment! I haven’t had time to get through more than a level or two of that yet, but it certainly nailed the dialogue and feel. I suspect this will prove… somewhat controversial, though.

9:30pm — Ah, tonal whiplash. After a lovely trailer for Tchia, Keighley says “What a lovely trailer ANYWAY TIME FOR ROCKSTEADY’S SUICIDE SQUAD“.

“And since the Game Awards doesn’t care… about disclosing classified intel,” says the person playing Amanda Waller. She could’ve stopped after the word “care.”

Tga Amanda Waller

9:33pm — Looks… okay? I like the style and I have faith in Rocksteady, but I got a bit of an Agents of Mayhem vibe from this and that’s not a good thing. This trailer mostly focused on the Brainiac-controlled Flash and the Suicide Squad’s attempt to kill him, and had lots of explosions and guns and baseball bats. I’m not sure why the screengrab I took below is so dark, so, er, sorry.

Suicide Squad

9:37pm — Moving on, Forspoken, an open-world action-adventure isekai where a New Yorker ends up in a dark fantasy world. And then before we have time to breathe, we’re onto Warhammer 40,000. Wonder what this is.

9:40pm — Holy shit, Space Marine 2, coming from Saber Interactive. That’s… wow. I was not expecting that. Cinematic trailer followed by some gameplay footage. Lots and lots of enemies (Genestealers and Tyranids) being cleaved in twain with chainswords. I like.

Space Marine 2

9:41pm — And now, a new Saints Row trailer.

9:46pm — Actually, loads of trailers. I’m not going to lie, I’ve basically tuned out at this point. I’m sure all of these people put a lot of effort into these spots and paid a premium for them, but putting them all together like this makes it feel like an advert break on TV and my brain just goes “nope.”

9:47pm — Right, awards. The thing we’re here for. Best action-adventure game! And the winner is… Metroid Dread. Something else I haven’t played yet. I’ve been kind of out of it this year, apparently, though this isn’t a PC game so it’s at least less expected that I do so. I’ve heard very, very good things, so hey! Maybe justified!

9:51pm — DuneDune! Specifically, Dune: Spice Wars, a “4X RTS.” Color me intrigued.

Dune Spice Wars

9:52pm — Ashly Burch and Will Arnett are here to talk about Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, or at least to argue about whether or not Tiny Tina is actually the villain before they roll the trailer.

9:55pm — I’m so done with trailers. I actually don’t have anything to say about any of this stuff. It’s Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands! You… you fight stuff! It’s cel-shaded and there are weapons! More interesting is a sudden, 15-second teaser for Among Us VR, but that’s a tiny teaser. As opposed to Tiny Tina. I’m so tired.

And now, a K-pop performance in honor of DokeV, I think.

9:58pm — I could not give less of a shit about the most listened to Spotify songs on consoles if I tried. I suspect a lot of people will care about this Genshin Impact stuff, though.

10:03pm — Still in trailer overload, but Metal Hellsinger looks kinda neat? Big beefy hell-based FPS with big numbers and chunky guns, with lots and lots of metal musicians involve. And then we’re back to tonal whiplash with Rocket League on mobile, and a cover of Van Halen’s Jump.

10:05pm — “Another brand new game announcement for the first time.” That’s either reductive or Keighley has forgotten that there have been dozens of game announcements so far. I can’t blame him. I’ve mostly forgotten what’s happened so far. Also, still trying to figure out his shirt collar.

Geoff Keighley Again

10:06pm — Star Trek: Resurgence. A Star Trek third-person shooter that is hopefully a lot better than the Star Trek third-person shooter. I have no idea if that link works, but oh look, Reggie Fils-Aimé is here now.

10:07pm — Reggie’s announcing Best Ongoing Game. We’ve got Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, Final Fantasy XIV Online, Genshin Impact, and Fortnite. And it goes to… Final Fantasy XIV Online, which is very much fucking deserved. I approve. It also wins Best Community Support, which it also deserves.

I’m biased, but I’m biased for the reason that it’s fucking great. Would’ve been quite awkward if Warzone won after that speech earlier about not supporting harassment. Hell, after that speech earlier it feels a bit weird they didn’t just yank it from the nominees. I’d have kinda liked to see how awkward things would’ve been if it had won.

10:12pm — Rumbleverse from Epic Games, with more footage tomorrow. A free-to-play, 40-player “brawler royale”. So… Fortnite with melee? Regardless, we’re not talking about that because imagine actually focusing on a game for a moment instead of moving on quickly! No, now we’re onto A Plague Tale: Requiem!

10:14pm — Nope! Not talking about that either! Quick, a plug for Grubhub’s Final Fantasy XIV emote! Now Dying Light 2‘s CG story trailer! Go go go move fast! More trailers! People might actually have a moment to not get overwhelmed and possibly spare a thought or an opinion for any of this stuff if we pause! … Wait. Why is there a Rosario Dawson pre-order back for Dying Light 2? Never mind! Doesn’t matter! We’re onto another trailer!

Dying Light 2

10:17pm — Ah, CrossfireX, the latest game in which you are a military man who shoots things. A very undeserved genre. And now onto Fortnite‘s new trailer. And now onto Bloodhunt. I’d say this show needs an advert break to give us a moment to cool off but this entire fucking show is an advert break. Anyone who tells you that The Game Awards is about the game awards, or even that it’s a celebration of the industry, is a filthy liar.

10:21pm — “Few believed we could make The Game Awards a reality.” Geoff, I’m sorry. I still don’t believe that you’ve made The Game Awards a reality. I think you’ve made a show that is all about advertising and money and you occasionally throw out an award so that you can claim it’s about awards, shill it months in advance via releasing nominees and the like, and get people involved by having them nominated. But “the game awards” themselves? No.

10:24pm — This is a brief reminder, if your ears really needed it, that “Build That Wall” was a much better song when Imagine Dragons wasn’t singing it and segueing it into “Enemy”. I’ll say one thing: when Imagine Dragons sings “everybody wants to be my enemy,” it’s at least not self-deprecating. It’s just, sadly, true. Especially after doing this to “Build That Wall”.

10:28pm — Innovation in Accessibility award! And it goes to… Forza Horizon 5 (which also wins “Best Sports Slash Racing Game”). It definitely did some good things in accessibility! It also removed support for PlayStation controllers, at least via the Windows Store version, which makes it slightly less accessible. My snark aside, I will say that an optional on-screen sign language interpreter is an amazing idea.

Tga Simon Viklund

 

10:31pm — Simon Viklund from 10 Chambers is here now, to say something about GTFO. And… oh, shit. GTFO 1.0 is actually out now. 25% off on Steam at this very moment, and the game is out.

Gtfo

10:35pm — Holy fuck, we may have hit a new low. Raid: Shadow Legends is one thing. Raid: Shadow Legends with Jeff Goldblum talking about it is… uh. Please stop ruining Jeff Goldblum for me.

I take it back. I just remembered the rest of the show. This is arguably average at this point.

10:37pm — I think we’re getting to the point where they’re just actually adding as much filler as possible, because they’re now showing trailers for stuff that’s out. And I don’t mean “suddenly out now as a surprise”, but stuff that’s been out for at least a few weeks. I shouldn’t be surprised by the Halo Infinite campaign trailer, but some of this other stuff…

10:39pm — Halo live-action trailer. By which I mean, a trailer for the live-action show, and not a live-action trailer for the game. It’s pretty much a teaser, if we’re honest, but it looks pretty faithful at least?

Halo Series

10:40pm — Best Game Direction time. The winner is… Deathloop! And this wasn’t given out earlier during Best Art Direction, with a “Deathloop also won” moment. I am stunned. Stunned. I guess they thought both Best Art Direction and Best Game Direction were awards actually worth giving out on stage and not in a blur of speed before the next trailer.

10:44pm — Hah. Remember when I mentioned “a blur of speed?” Time for five more awards. Best Family Game goes to It Takes Two, which seems weird considering its moral is, uh, questionable. Best Fighting Games goes to Guilty Gear -Strive-. Best Sim/Strategy Game goes to Age of Empires IV. Best VR/AR Game goes to Resident Evil 4 VR. And Most Anticipated Game Presented™ By™ Prime™ Gaming™ goes to Elden Ring, for the second year in a row. I still find it funny that almost the entire Most Anticipated Game list is the same as it was last year.

Speaking of Elden Ring: new trailer!

Elden Ring

10:48pm — I have no idea what the fuck is going on in this trailer and it looks pre-rendered, so I’m guessing… well, who knows. It could be a story trailer, or it could be the intro. FromSoft does love to make intros that confuse absolutely everything and vaguely make sense after you’ve finished the game. I’ll find out when the game has been out for two months and a YouTuber makes a video explaining it by looking at the lore of 14 different weapons and a small detail in the clothing of someone in that rendered sequence we just saw.

Anyway, now we’re back to Spotify’s most-listened songs on consoles and I still don’t care.

10:54pm — I was going to snark heavily about something but I’ve totally forgotten what. It’s late. I’m tired. It’s not like there’s any shortage of things to snark at and I’d love to go back and look, but who has time? Maybe I’ll fill it in after. I’m sure I’ll have something to snark about in a moment, anyway.

Holy fuck that may have been the most buzzword-filled sentence I’ve ever heard. “Their first game brings together thrilling multiplayer PvE action, a next-generation physical sandbox, and incredible visuals, to create a truly dynamic player experience. Here’s the reveal, complete with real gameplay.” Geoff, you sound like a bullet point in any one of the 60,000 press releases I have in my inbox.

Please note, not a knock against the game itself, which is called Arc Raiders. What I’m looking at honestly seems promising. But that is the most boring way to describe anything.

Arc Raiders

10:58pm — Carrie-Anne Moss and Keanu Reeves are here via video link to talk about The Matrix Resurrections and show a clip of it.

11:01pm — And the final world premiere is… a glimpse at The Matrix Awakens, in Unreal Engine 5. Which is console only, I’m afraid; it’s available on both PS5 and Xbox X|S right now for free, but not on PC despite the PC’s power and… well, Unreal Engine. Weep.

Neil Druckmann is here to present the last awards. But first, music.

11:07pm — The music is over. And then Neil Druckmann said “Let’s hear it one more time–” and I went “PLEASE NO CAN WE JUST END THIS” before he added “… for the orchestra.” Right, applause.

And the Game of the Year goes to… It Takes Two. Welp.

You know what? I’m done, I think. The show certainly is, and that means I can stop watching this and do something to repair my brain and sanity. Thanks for tuning in and putting up with my spite and snark, and I hope you enjoyed it more than I did.

Tim McDonald
Tim has been playing PC games for longer than he's willing to admit. He's written for a number of publications, but has been with PC Invasion - in all its various incarnations - for over a decade. When not writing about games, Tim can occasionally be found speedrunning terrible ones, making people angry in Dota 2, or playing something obscure and random. He's also weirdly proud of his status as (probably) the Isle of Man's only professional games journalist.

Euro Truck Simulator 2 and American Truck Simulator updated to version 1.43

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