The Game Awards
|The Game Awards|
|Awarded for||Outstanding achievements in the video game industry|
|Hosted by||Geoff Keighley|
|First awarded||December 5, 2014|
|Last awarded||December 7, 2017|
The Game Awards is an annual awards ceremony honoring achievements in the video game industry. The ceremonies also feature premieres of new games and upcoming content and an in-depth look at previously announced ones. The shows are produced and hosted by Canadian games journalist Geoff Keighley, who had worked on its predecessor, the Spike Video Game Awards, for over ten years.
In 1994, Geoff Keighley had been a part of the first televised awards show for video games, Cybermania '94: The Ultimate Gamer Awards. Keighley, as a teenager, had been brought on to help write material for the celebrity hosts such as William Shatner and Leslie Neilson. The show was not considered successful, aimed more for comedy than celebration, but from it, Keighley had been prompted to develop something akin to the Academy Awards for video games later in his career.
Keighley had subsequently worked on the Spike Video Game Awards (abbreviated VGA), which ran from 2003 to 2013. The show, was broadcast on Spike TV near the end of each calendar year, was designed to honor video games releases during that year. Keighley served as the producer and often host for these shows. In 2013, Spike opted to rename the awards from VGA to VGX as to reflect that they wanted to focus more on next-generation games that were being ushered in by the onset of the eighth generation of consoles, as well as bringing comedian Joel McHale to co-host alongside Keighley. The 2013 show was considered to be disappointing and aimed as a more commercial work rather than a celebration of video game achievements.
Keighley was disappointed with the change in tone that this show has presented. He opted to drop out from further involvement in the VGX, allowing Spike to retain ownership of the property; in November 2014, Spike TV announced that they had opted to drop the awards show in its entirety. Instead, Keighley worked with several entities within the industry, including console hardware manufacturers Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, and several large publishers, to financially back and craft a new awards show, the Game Awards, with Spike's blessing. Keighley was able to secure space for hosting the live event. Without a broadcaster, Keighley and the entities agreed to stream the live show on the consoles' networks and on Valve Corporation's Steam service, as to be able to reach a much larger audience than Spike TV previously had. Since then, Keighley has been able to secure multiple streaming services around the globe for the show, which has been a move appreciated by several of the Game Awards' partners since the show's inception.
Keighley considered it important that the Game Awards presentation is aimed to favorably present the interest of gamers and of the industry, and to be welcoming to celebrities and other that have shown interest in video games. While the Game Awards are principally an awards show, Keighley knew the importance of having additional content, having seen other experiments of video game awards shows that were only dedicated to awards fail due to lack of audience. Keighley believed that the Game Awards should fall somewhere between the entertainment venues that are used for the Academy Awards, and the standard award presentation used for the Game Developers Choice Awards, and wanted a balance of material. Through the Spike VGX and into the Game Awards, Keighley has engaged with developers and publishers to bring teaser trailers, sneak peaks, and reveals of upcoming games alongside the awards. He considers the crowning moment of this approach was being able to secure the first gameplay reveal of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the 2014 Game Awards. Keighly encourages developers and publishers to provide any content that might be deemed existing or that can pique interest, even if these games are at an early stage of development, and then makes the selection of which games and trailers to feature.
In conjunction with the Awards presentation, several digital storefronts, such as Steam, the Xbox Live Marketplace and the PlayStation Store offer the nominated games on sale leading up to and a few days after the presentation. The statuette awarded to the selected games was designed by collaboration between Keighley and Weta Workshop. It is meant to represent "the evolution of the video game medium by way of an angel that ascends through digital building blocks".
The Game Awards has an advisory committee which includes representatives from hardware manufacturers Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and AMD, and software publishers Electronic Arts, Activision, Rockstar Games, Telltale Games, Ubisoft, Valve, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. This committee selects around thirty influential video game news organizations that will be able to nominate and subsequently vote on the video games in several categories. The advisory committee otherwise does not participate in the nomination or voting process. During the nomination round, each of the news outlets provides a list of games in several categories; games for the eSports-related categories are chosen by a specific subset of these outlets. The committee complies the nominations and selects the most-nominated titles for voting by these same outlets. Prior to 2017, there were 28 industry experts and representatives that selected the winners, while the 2017 awards will use 52 such experts.
Ceremonies and winners
- Game of the Year – Dragon Age: Inquisition
- Developer of the Year – Nintendo
- Best Independent Game – Shovel Knight
- Best Mobile/Handheld Game – Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
- Best Narrative – Valiant Hearts: The Great War
- Best Score/Soundtrack – Destiny
- Best Performance – Trey Parker (as Various Voices, South Park: The Stick of Truth)
- Games for Change – Valiant Hearts: The Great War
- Best Shooter – Far Cry 4
- Best Action/Adventure – Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
- Best Role-Playing Game – Dragon Age: Inquisition
- Best Fighting Game – Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
- Best Family Game – Mario Kart 8
- Best Sports/Racing Game – Mario Kart 8
- Best Online Direction – Destiny
- Best Remaster – Grand Theft Auto V
- Most Anticipated Game – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- ESports Player of the Year – Matt “NaDeSHoT” Haag
- ESports Team of the Year – Ninjas in Pyjamas
- Trending Gamer – TotalBiscuit
- Best Fan Creation – Twitch Plays Pokémon
- Industry Icon Award – Ken Williams and Roberta Williams (Sierra Entertainment)
- Game of the Year – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- Developer of the Year – CD Projekt Red
- Best Independent Game – Rocket League
- Best Mobile/Handheld Game – Lara Croft Go
- Best Narrative – Her Story
- Best Art Direction – Ori and the Blind Forest
- Best Score/Soundtrack – Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
- Best Performance – Viva Seifert (as Hannah Smith, Her Story)
- Games for Impact – Life is Strange
- Best Shooter – Splatoon
- Best Action/Adventure – Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
- Best Role-Playing Game – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- Best Fighting Game – Mortal Kombat X
- Best Family Game – Super Mario Maker
- Best Sports/Racing Game – Rocket League
- Best Multiplayer – Splatoon
- Most Anticipated Game – No Man's Sky
- ESports Player of the Year – Kenny "KennyS" Schrub (Team EnVyUs)
- ESports Team of the Year – OpTic Gaming
- ESports Game of the Year – Counter Strike: Global Offensive
- Trending Gamer – Greg Miller
- Best Fan Creation – Portal Stories: Mel
- Industry Icon Award – Brett Sperry and Louis Castle (Westwood Studios)
- Game of the Year – Overwatch
- Best Game Direction – Blizzard Entertainment
- Best Independent Game – Inside
- Best Mobile/Handheld Game – Pokémon Go
- Best VR Game – Rez Infinite
- Best Narrative – Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
- Best Art Direction – Inside
- Best Music/Sound Design – Doom
- Best Performance – Nolan North (as Nathan Drake, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End)
- Games for Impact – That Dragon, Cancer
- Best Action Game – Doom
- Best Action/Adventure Game – Dishonored 2
- Best Role-Playing Game – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine
- Best Fighting Game – Street Fighter V
- Best Strategy Game – Civilization VI
- Best Family Game – Pokémon Go
- Best Sports/Racing Game – Forza Horizon 3
- Best Multiplayer – Overwatch
- Most Anticipated Game – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- ESports Player of the Year – Marcelo "Coldzera" David (SK Gaming)
- ESports Team of the Year – Cloud9
- ESports Game of the Year – Overwatch
- Trending Gamer – boogie2988
- Best Fan Creation – Enderal: The Shards of Order
- Industry Icon Award – Hideo Kojima
- Game of the Year - The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Best Game Direction - Nintendo
- Best Narrative – What Remains of Edith Finch
- Best Action Game – Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
- Best Art Direction – Cuphead
- Best Role Playing Game - Persona 5
- Best Fighting Game - Injustice 2
- Industry Icon Award – Carol Shaw
- Best Family Game - Super Mario Odyssey
- Best Action/Adventure Game - The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Best Student Game – Level Squared
- Best Score/Music - Nier: Automata
- Best Audio Design - Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
- Best Performance - Melina Juergens (as Senua, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice)
- Games for Impact - Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
- Best Ongoing Game - Overwatch
- Best Handheld Game - Metroid: Samus Returns
- Best Mobile Game - Monument Valley 2
- Best VR/AR Game - Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
- Best Strategy Game - Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
- Best Sports/Racing Game - Forza Motorsport 7
- Best Multiplayer Game - PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
- Best Independent Game - Cuphead
- Best Debut Indie Game - Cuphead
- Most Anticipated Game - The Last of Us Part II
- Trending Gamer - Guy Beahm ("Dr DisRespect")
- Best eSports Game - Overwatch
- Best eSports Player - Lee Sang-hyeok "Faker" (SK Telecom 1, League of Legends)
- Best eSports Team - Cloud 9
- Chinese Fan Game Award - Jx3 HD – Developed by Kingsoft Corporation
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