The Game Awards 2018
|The Game Awards 2018|
|Date||December 6, 2018|
|Venue||Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles|
|Hosted by||Geoff Keighley|
|Most awards||Red Dead Redemption 2 (4)|
|Most nominations||God of War and Red Dead Redemption 2 (8)|
|Game of the Year||God of War|
|Industry Icon Award||Greg Thomas|
The Game Awards 2018 was an award show that honored the best video games of 2018. It was produced and hosted by Geoff Keighley, and took place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on December 6, 2018. The event was live streamed across more than 40 digital platforms. The show featured musical performances from Harry Gregson-Williams, Daniel Lanois, Lena Raine, and Hans Zimmer, and presentations from celebrity guests including Jonah Hill, the Russo brothers, Brendon Urie, and Christoph Waltz. The show opened with a group speech by Microsoft's Phil Spencer, Nintendo of America's Reggie Fils-Aimé, and Sony's Shawn Layden, representing the unity of the industry.
God of War and Red Dead Redemption 2 received eight nominations each. At the show, Red Dead Redemption 2 tied for the highest-awarded game in the show's history with four wins,[a] and God of War was awarded Game of the Year. Several new games were revealed during the show, including Far Cry New Dawn, Hades, and The Outer Worlds. In association with the event, sales were held on most digital storefronts for nominees and former winners. The 2018 was viewed by over 26.2 million streams, the most in its history to date,[b] with four million concurrent viewers at its peak. It received a generally positive reception from media publications, with praise directed at the opening speech and new game announcements but some criticism for the focus on reveals over the awards.
Winners and nominees
The nominees for The Game Awards 2018 were announced on November 13, 2018; the announcement received more traffic than anticipated, crashing the website for several hours. Any game released on or before November 16, 2018 was eligible for consideration. The nominees were compiled by a jury panel with members from 69 media outlets globally. Winners are determined between the jury (90%) and public votes (10%); the latter was held via the official website and on social media platforms and technologies such as Amazon Alexa, Bilibili, Discord, Facebook Messenger, Google Assistant, and Twitter. Votes held on the official website and shared on social media were given an additional 10% weighting in the fan vote calculation. The Trending Gamer award from previous shows was renamed Content Creator of the Year for those creating new and innovative video game content, such as live streamers and video creators; the Global Gaming Citizens program was added to recognise honorees who are improving their communities through video games. Additional esports awards were also added for the 2018 show.
Winners are listed first, highlighted in boldface, and indicated with a double dagger ().
|Game of the Year||Best Game Direction|
|Best Ongoing Game||Best Narrative|
|Best Art Direction||Best Score/Music|
|Best Audio Design||Best Performance|
|Games for Impact||Best Independent Game|
|Best Mobile Game||Best VR/AR Game|
|Best Action Game||Best Action/Adventure Game|
|Best Role Playing Game||Best Fighting Game|
|Best Family Game||Best Strategy Game|
|Best Sports/Racing Game||Best Multiplayer Game|
|Best Student Game||Best Debut Indie Game|
Esports and creators
|Best Esports Game||Best Esports Player|
|Best Esports Team||Best Esports Coach|
|Best Esports Event||Best Esports Host|
|Best Esports Moment||Content Creator of the Year|
|Industry Icon Award||Global Gaming Citizens[c]|
Games with multiple nominations and awards
God of War and Red Dead Redemption 2 both received eight nominations each, the most in the show's history at the time.[d] Other games with multiple nominations included Marvel's Spider-Man with seven, and Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Celeste, and Fortnite with four each. Sony Interactive Entertainment had 20 total nominations, more than any other publisher, followed by Rockstar Games with eight and Square Enix and Ubisoft with seven each.
|8||God of War|
|Red Dead Redemption 2|
|4||Assassin's Creed Odyssey|
|3||Call of Duty: Black Ops 4|
|Detroit: Become Human|
|Monster Hunter: World|
|Forza Horizon 4|
|Into the Breach|
|Life Is Strange 2|
|Mario Tennis Aces|
|Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom|
|Return of the Obra Dinn|
|20||Sony Interactive Entertainment|
|Bandai Namco Entertainment|
|Matt Makes Games|
|Arc System Works[e]|
Red Dead Redemption 2 received the most awards with four wins, tying for the highest-awarded game in the show's history to date.[a] God of War won three awards, while Celeste and Fortnite won two. Rockstar Games and Sony Interactive Entertainment were the most successful publishers, with four wins each, while Epic Games and Matt Makes Games won two.
|4||Red Dead Redemption 2|
|3||God of War|
|Sony Interactive Entertainment|
|Matt Makes Games|
Presenters and performers
|Josef Fares||Presented the award for Best Action Game in the preshow|||
|Alex Hutchinson||Presented the reveal trailer for Journey to the Savage Planet in the preshow|||
|Reggie Fils-Aimé||Opened the show with a shared speech|||
|Jacksepticeye||Presented the award for Best Narrative|
|Jonah Hill||Presented the Industry Icon award|||
|Rosa Salazar||Presented the award for Best Performance|||
|Jean-Sebastien Decant||Presented the reveal trailer for Far Cry New Dawn|||
|Patrice Désilets||Presented the gameplay trailer for Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey|||
|Josh Holmes||Presented the reveal trailer for Scavengers|||
|Brendon Urie||Presented the award for Best Score/Music|||
|Mathieu Coté||Presented the reveal trailer for Dead by Daylight: Darkness Among Us|||
|Casey Hudson||Presented the story for Anthem|||
|Crash Bandicoot[f]||Presented the reveal trailer for Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled|||
|Christopher Judge||Presented the award for Content Creator of the Year|||
|Leonard Boyarsky||Presented the reveal trailer for The Outer Worlds|||
|Jesse Houston||Presented the console announce trailer for Dauntless|||
|Joel McHale||Presented the award for Best Esports Athlete|||
|Dave Curd||Presented the Vikendi trailer for PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds|||
|Brian Bell||Introduced the performers Ali and Casey Edwards|||
|Jesse Rapczak||Presented the reveal trailer for Atlas|||
|Ninja||Presented the award for Best Independent Game|||
|Pepe the King Prawn|
|Elaine Chase||Announced the esports program for Magic: The Gathering Arena|||
|The Duffer Brothers||Presented the reveal trailer for Stranger Things 3: The Game|||
|Ed Boon||Presented the reveal trailer for Mortal Kombat 11 and the award for Best Sports/Racing Game|||
|Phil Spencer||Presented the demo trailer for Devil May Cry 5|||
|Lena Raine||Presented the award for Best Game Direction|
|Donald Mustard||Presented the Season 7 and "The Block" trailers for Fortnite|||
|Russo brothers||Presented the award for Best Ongoing Game|||
|Reggie Fils-Aimé||Presented the Joker trailer for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate|||
|Jeff Kaplan||Presented the award for Game of the Year|||
|The Game Awards Orchestra[g]||The Game Awards Theme Song||N/A|||
|The Game Awards Orchestra[g]||"Legion of Dawn"||Anthem|
|Ali Edwards||"Devil Trigger"||Devil May Cry 5|||
|Daniel Lanois||Rhiannon Giddens||"Mountain Hymn"||Red Dead Redemption 2|||
|The Game Awards Orchestra[g]||"Lifelight"||Super Smash Bros. Ultimate|||
|Game of the Year medley||Assassin's Creed Odyssey|||
|God of War|
|Monster Hunter: World|
|Red Dead Redemption 2|
Show producer and creator Geoff Keighley began working on The Game Awards 2018 immediately after the previous ceremony, starting by conducting a postmortem of the show and booking the Microsoft Theater. He shifted into full work on the show in July 2018, following his work for YouTube Gaming and E3 Coliseum at E3 2018. He spends several months traveling to different studios around the world to secure announcements and trailers, and he typically has meetings with developers to find the best way to reveal their games. The show's budget, which was determined in July, was several million dollars; Keighley funded the show himself while raising money from developers and publishers. By August, concepts for the ceremony were being considered, including the involvement of Hans Zimmer, who was originally involved in the previous show but dropped out due to other commitments. Keighley began to book presenters in October, having secured developers such as Josef Fares and Jeff Kaplan by mid-month. He also spoke to Peter Jackson about a collaboration, though it fell through. In late October, eleven members of the production team moved into a four-building office complex in Santa Monica, transitioning from virtual meetings. Keighley estimated that, from August to December, he would work on the show every day for around 18 hours.
Rich Preuss directed the show. Keighley wrote most of his own scripts, while Gabe Uhr and Kyle Bosman wrote for the presenters. Kimmie Kim served as the executive producer and showrunner, while LeRoy Bennett was the show's creative director and set designer. Kim felt that she has a yin and yang dynamic with Keighley, and she worried that he would spend too much time concerned about minute details; Keighley agreed, noting that he enjoyed the work, but wanted to employ more people in future to shift his focus. For the 2018 ceremony, the production team focused on stage lighting to make it feel more immersive. Once the team would approve Bennett's designs, they turned to the budgeting phase, where ideas were often cut. To maintain secrecy, a security crew supervised the show rehearsals. Keighley maintained several secrets from his team, and the senior production members only learned of some announcements in the days before the show; trailers were only listed under code names. During rehearsals, Keighley stayed at the Ritz Carlton hotel across the street from the Microsoft Theater in order to remain close.
The show was held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on December 6, 2018, hosted by Keighley. It was live streamed globally across more than 40 digital services. Tencent's Stephen Ma joined the awards as an advisor; the ceremony was live on more than 15 platforms in China. During the event, sales on some nominated and previously-winning games were held on the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation Store, Steam, and Xbox Games Store. Greg Thomas, co-founder of Visual Concepts, won the Industry Icon award for his work on early sports video games dating back to the 1980s. The show featured presenters such as Jonah Hill, Joel McHale, the Russo brothers. The ceremony began with a group speech by Microsoft's Phil Spencer, Nintendo of America's Reggie Fils-Aimé, and Sony's Shawn Layden. Keighley had wanted to gather the three leaders since the show's inception in 2014, as he felt that it was a metaphor for bringing the industry together. While all three leaders personally agreed to the speech, it took several months of negotiations before confirmation; Keighley felt that it had "fallen apart" in the days before the show, but "magically it came back together" in time.
The Game Awards Orchestra, conducted by Lorne Balfe, opened the show with its new theme song, accompanied by Harry Gregson-Williams, Lena Raine, Sarah Schachner, and Hans Zimmer. The theme song was an original composition by Balfe; he was primarily inspired by Keighley, and wrote the piece to represent his work and the general gaming community. Balfe previously worked with Keighley on the Spike Video Game Awards. Schachner returned later in the show to perform a song from Anthem, while Ali and Casey Edwards performed a track from Devil May Cry 5. A musical montage with several songs from Red Dead Redemption 2 was performed by Rhiannon Giddens and Daniel Lanois. For the Game of the Year medley, Balfe was forced to wait until the nominees were determined in mid-November; immediately after the announcement, the production team began contacting studios for the game soundtracks. For the final performances, the orchestra was accompanied by Peter DiStefano on guitar and DeLaney Harter on violin.
Announcements on recently released and upcoming games were made for Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, Anthem, Dauntless, Dead by Daylight, Devil May Cry 5, Fortnite, Forza Horizon 4, Magic: The Gathering Arena, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, Psychonauts 2, Rage 2, Rocket League, and The Stanley Parable. New games announced during the ceremony included:
Keighley was contacted by Greg Kasavin and Amir Rao of Supergiant Games after the 2017 ceremony; they met at the D.I.C.E. Summit in February 2018, and pitched the reveal and early access launch of Hades. The Mortal Kombat 11 reveal was in the works for almost a year. The developers of The Last Night were in contact with Keighley to show the game, but were forced to pull out a month or two prior due to a publisher dispute.
Ratings and reception
The show received a generally positive reception from media publications. VentureBeat's Dean Takahashi wrote that his favorite moment was when Christopher Judge and Sunny Suljic, who played Kratos and his son Atreus, respectively, in God of War, presented an award; Judge used Kratos's voice to order Suljic to announce the winner. Takahashi also praised the shared speech of Fils-Aimé, Layden, and Spencer, and was pleasantly surprised by God of War's Game of the Year win, though noted that he personally voted for Red Dead Redemption 2. Shacknews staff found the show an improvement over previous years, particularly in its presentation and professionalism, though God of War's win polarised the crew. Kotaku's Heather Alexandra wrote that SonicFox's acceptance speech was among the most heartfelt moments of the show. CJ Andriessen of Destructoid criticized the show's heavier focus on announcements than awards, noting that trailers received more screen time than winners.
The Game Awards 2018 was the most-viewed ceremony to date.[b] Over 26.2 million streams were used to view the show, an increase of 128% from the 2017 ceremony's 11.5 million. At its peak, the show had over 4 million concurrent viewers, including 1.13 million on Twitch. The stream on Twitter had 1.3 times as many unique viewers as the previous year. The show was the top worldwide trend on Twitter; the usage of its hashtag increased 1.6 times over the previous show, and the overall conversation increased 1.9 times. On Weibo, the 310,000 unique posts related to the awards received more than 56 million viewers. Over 3,300 Twitch users co-streamed the show, an increase of 140%. Fan votes totaled 10.5 million, a 50% increase from the previous show.
- The other games that received four awards are Overwatch in 2016, and Death Stranding in 2019. This record was beaten by The Last of Us Part II's seven wins in 2020.
- The viewership record was beaten in 2019 with 45.2 million streams.
- Presented in conjunction with Facebook Gaming
- The nomination record was beaten by Death Stranding's ten nominations at The Game Awards 2019.
- Arc System Works had an additional nomination as the developer of Dragon Ball FighterZ.
- Costume performer dressed as the fictional character.
- Conducted by Lorne Balfe.
- Performed with Lena Raine
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