Matt and Paul are back for another year of sarcasm, smiles and silliness as they look at gaming’s biggest awards night.
Player 2 Vs The Game Awards 2019
Paul: I’m not the biggest Civ guy, simply for the time commitment involved, but this one has a bit more spunk, and that has my interest piqued. Humankind doesn’t seem to be taking itself as seriously and that change in tone might help get myself, and others through the door. Keen to see more.
Matt: I am all in on this one. The Civ nerd in me is loving the direction this game is taking, with the addition of more obvious terrain advantages in combat and the ability to subsume characteristics from conquered civilisations. It takes a brave dev to take on the behemoth that is Civilization, but Humankind is looking to do exactly that and I am all for it.
No More Heroes III (Pre-show)
Paul: Look, the overall tone of No More Heroes hasn’t been for me over the journey, and I suspect that No More Heroes won’t be doing anything to sway me in another direction. I’m thrilled for the fans, and for the Switch it’s another great point of difference, but yeah, not my cup of tea
Matt: Yeah, look I am not a fan of Suda 51’s work. I think he hides bad game design behind odd and offensive characters. But there is no doubt he has his fans and more power to them. I am sure they will get a kick out of this one but it is not really for me either.
Final Fantasy VII Remake (Pre-Show)
Paul: We’ve seen a lot of Final Fantasy VII at this point, and for as fantastically crafted as this trailer was, it doesn’t tell us any more about the game that we already knew. Now if this Cloud Strife focussed trailer is the beginning of a series that focuses on a host of the key FFVII cast then I’m on board for more entertainment, but at this point, I feel there’s nothing more that we can expect to learn about this 2020 hit in the making.
Matt: Just more trailers at this point, gotta say I am kind of over the teasing. It has just been too long of a hype cycle for me and I am beginning to zone out. That isn’t to say the game won’t be fantastic, it more than likely will be, I am just done with pre-release stuff. Entree has outstayed its welcome, give me the main meal already.
Xbox Series X
Paul: Dear lord, this wasn’t expected at all! I went through the full gambit of emotions with this… confusion being chief among them, but when Chief appeared I suddenly had an idea. This is not the next-gen Xbox I was expecting, but with confirmation post-event that you can lay this beast sideways, I can breathe a little easier. Phil Spencer getting up to ram the point home even further was the cherry on top. 2020 is going to be a massive year for Xbox and they’re making all the right calls!
Matt: I actually quite like the design choice and doing a bit of reading after the reveal indicates that it is going to do wonders for airflow and make the Series X even quieter than the One X and that is saying something. The addition of a share button to the controller is great, I just hope I can program one of the extra buttons on my Elite 2 to take on that function, especially considering I just bought the expensive thing. Frankly, though I don’t really care what everything looks like, as long as it does the job I am all in.
Hellblade II: Senua’s Saga
Paul: My Playstation fanboy in me took a massive bashing with the trailer for Hellblade II, but congratulations to both Ninja Theory and Xbox for the reveal of Hellblade II: Senua’s Saga. This was a colossal trailer that blew me away with how good it looked. Sure, it does have the benefit of being a next-gen game but, regardless, I was incredibly impressed, as much as I was surprised that Senua’s story is continuing and that it looks this incredible!
Matt: As far as I am concerned, Senua’s Sacrifice is one of the most amazing titles of the generation. It is a game that took the seldom explored concept of mental illness and applied to the Viking era to amazing results. So to hear that number 2 is coming only makes me smile. I can’t wait.
Mortal Kombat 11 – Joker and Harley are coming
Paul: More MK11 is nice for fighting game fans, and it’s hardly a surprise that Joker & Harley Quinn featured prominently given the fact that they too are under the WB umbrella. Enjoy fighters!
Matt: The Harley appearance seems to just be a skin for Cassie Cage and we have known about Joker coming for a while, but honestly I am all in for everything MK11 so I have nothing to complain about.
Paul: Not to be outdone by Xbox, Playstation had a game to show the world as well for the PS5. Interestingly though it came in the form of a third party exclusive. Gearbox is publishing Godfall, a title from Counterplay Games, and I’m not sure what to think. Sure, the game looks kinda neat, it’s visual style probably doesn’t best suit demoing what the system can do visually, but the premise sounds great, and I’m keen to learn much more about it. A little baffled that the first PS5 game wasn’t a first-party title, but that’s a discussion for another time.
Matt: Not much to say here really? Nice video clip sure but it doesn’t really show anything of either the game or the PS5. Very strange choice for Sony to allow this to be the PS5 debut.
Bravely Default II
Paul: Didn’t Bravely Second exist? Naming conventions aside, Bravely Default II is a great get, and as I’ve already spotted Sarah and others on the internet get giddy with excitement, it seems to have been well received. I for one am keen to see what the jump from 3DS to Switch brings the franchise, if anything, or whether we’re simply getting more of the same – which is totally okay!
Matt: I have no history with the franchise but I know many that do and they are more than happy. More high-quality titles for the Switch is always a good thing though.
Theros: Beyond Death
Paul: Not a Magic: The Gathering fan, so for as visually striking the trailer was, it doesn’t set my heart a flutter at all. Pass
Matt: Magic sure paid a lot of money towards the costs of The Game Awards right?
Paul: I love that we’re seeing new ideas from PlayerUnknown, but Prologue didn’t need to be present. It told us nothing, and directed us to a website that said just about as much as the trailer did. Keen to see more, but when that time does arrive – give us something.
Matt: Yeah I agree pointless. I don’t mind a bit of mystery surrounding announcements, but this was too far.
Fortnite X Star Wars
Paul: I love Star Wars, but there’s no chance of any level of Star Wars content succeeding in pulling me into Fortnite. That ship has well and truly sailed I’m afraid
Matt: My kids are excited at least.
Sons of the Forest (The Forest 2)
Paul: I was with some students sitting and watching this as it played out. They were quickly whipped into a frenzy well before the trailer ended while it took for the striking yellow logo to appear for it all to come together for me. I don’t remember The Forest being overly well-received, but I know it has a hardened fan base. Have fun!
Matt: Looks as moody as hell which I am here for, let’s hope the clunk of the first game is cleaned up, because if it is this could be a winner.
The Ruined King: A League of Legends Story
Paul: So League isn’t my thing, but turn-based RPGs certainly are! Throw in Airship Syndicate, a team of ex-Darksiders members, who recently put out Darksiders: Genesis and my interest is certainly piqued. I’m super eager to learn more about what this is, and it’s a different access point to the League of Legends universe too which is also quite intriguing to me.
Matt: It seems that the LoL team have realised they are sitting on a goldmine of characters and ideas because the spinoffs just keep coming and this looks like a cracker. We could have a new Warhammer style universe here folks, but let’s hope the game quality is more consistent.
Paul: A co-op hack n slash spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, isn’t the successor I’m looking for. I might just keep watching out for Baldurs Gate III and give this one a miss. Very strange stylistic decisions for the trailer, that honestly made it look pretty rough. This one needs much more time in the oven before I’ll give it any more of my own time.
Matt: I loved Dark Alliance 1 and 2 on the original Xbox so I am excited for this game but boy o boy was this a bad trailer. It looked as dodgy as hell, the devs shouldn’t have bothered because I think it has killed any excitement for the project for quite a few people.
Paul: This hammed up segment certainly killed much of my Game Awards hype and the momentum of the show. A pretty botched attempt at humour from Geoff and a game that has set the world on fire this year. Stick to your games Respawn.
Matt: Commercialism at its worst I am afraid. What a dodgy segment.
Paul: A top-down, action RPG from the developers of Dishonored with a visual style that (only slightly) evokes a bit of Borderlands? Hell, I’m in! Dishonored wasn’t my jam, but I couldn’t possibly argue with the quality of the game, and this game speaks to me far greater, so consider me interested in what Wolfeye is cooking up.
Matt: Giddy-up cowboy, mixing the old west in the occult speaks to me in a way few concepts do. I love the idea and the high-quality dev team behind it means that Devolver is probably going to have itself another Indie darling on its hands.
Paul: An MMO in the Magic: The Gathering universe speaks to me even less than what we discussed with Theros earlier. Moving right along
Matt: Look, you either love Magic or you don’t. There is no in-between. I don’t.
Path of the Warrior
Paul: I can’t say I was the biggest fan of the old school console beat-em-up, but throwing on an Oculus and doing the same thing in first person speaks to me somewhat. I’ll watch the space further but consider me intrigued. I just need to beg, borrow or steal my way to an Oculus Quest!
Matt: Well Paul, is clearly not old enough but beat-em-ups were life. Final Fight and Alien Vs Predator were my arcade jams! The idea of playing Final Fight in VR is amazing and I really want to give this a crack. Let’s hope this one makes its way to PSVR because I can’t afford an Oculus.
Ghost of Tsushima
Paul: I feel for SuckerPunch. They continue to produce exceptional games, but they’re forever being stuck in the Shadow of what Naughty Dog is doing. The first two inFAMOUS games suffered the same fate as Ghost of Tsushima; a game that is looking nothing short of breathtaking, and yet, will quite likely play the role of bridesmaid to The Last of Us Part II… at least internally. I’m so on board for the game though, and a planned Winter 2020 release is exactly what I wanted to hear. Bring it on!
Matt: Another game I feel like needs to just come out already. The hype cycle is just too long and we have seen very little gameplay. I am very excited to play the game, don’t get me wrong, but wholly shit it feels like I have been writing about this one forever. Just give me stabby samurai action already.
Paul: Okay, so we knew Gears Tactics would feature, and I expected gameplay, but what I hadn’t expected to see so soon was a release date… let alone one that is April 28! Xbox is shooting their shot, and it adds yet another high-quality game to madness that is Q1/2 of 2020. Really, really keen to get my hands on this one though
Matt: Well Xcom 2 is one of the greatest games ever (don’t even try to argue with me on this point) so the idea of Gears Xcom is something I can get behind. The enemies and environments of the Gears universe are certainly suited to this sort of game so let’s hope they nail the execution.
Paul: Close-range melee combat speaks to me, but my only reason to pause is out of the fear that this may be working on the Souls/Bloodborne/Sekiro design philosophy, and that likely becomes a dealbreaker for me. 24 Entertainment are certainly onto something though, and however it ultimately plays, it’s worth watching closely
Matt: Multiplayer means I most likely will pass this one by. I just don’t have the time to commit to competitive multiplayer titles. It does ooze style though and I hope it finds an audience because I get a feeling this will be a hell of a game.
Ori & The Will of the Wisps
Paul: I guess I need to reschedule my sick day at work to March 11th now! Nothing especially new from this Ori trailer, though it does seem that the brutal escape sequences are returning in some capacity which is equal parts fantastic, and soul-crushing. Let’s just flash forward to March 11th already everyone!
Matt: I feel like I can’t really say any more on this one. Except that this game is almost 100% certain to be the best Metroidvania title of 2020. That is more than enough for me.
9 to 5
Paul: Seems like a cool concept, but with very little to show, I’m going to need to sit and wait patiently for more details on 9 to 5. I’m curious as to how that name might link into the action though!
Matt: I have no idea what happened. More cinematics that show no gameplay. At least give me an idea as to what the game is about if you are going to tease it.
Green Day in Beat Saber
Paul: I love Green Day, and when Geoff mentioned they had a game-related announcement to make, my heart skipped a few beats. Pairing them with Beat Saber is perhaps the best thing that could’ve come from this reveal. It’s available now too, so you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be diving in once we’re done here!
Matt: It doesn’t turn your head into a Brainstew to realise this is a good combo. The devs of Beat Sabre clearly took the Longview regarding licenced material and have secured one of the biggest bands on the planet. It feels a little bit like a Welcome to Paradise but Warning you are likely to look like an American Idiot playing the game. You won’t be in the Minority buying this one, that’s for sure. I can’t wait to get my hands on it When I Come Around.
Paul: Very sneaky by Geoff and Amazon to sneak that logo in at the bottom of the trailer but yes, we have an Amazon Games title here. New World is looking pretty damn sweet, but as an MMO, it’s going to need to do something quite astounding to get me to climb aboard. It’s time I usually just don’t have available to give
Matt: Is there really room for more MMOs? I am not really sure.
Convergence: League of Legends
Paul: Another League of Legends associated game! They’re really hitting the ground running this Game Awards. Since it was only a cutscene I’ll be interested to know what form this game takes, but if it can land within a genre space I tend to align with then i’ll be keen to take a look.
Matt: Gotta get that LoL money!
Surgeon Simulator 2
Paul: I don’t know that the world needed more Surgeon Simulator, but we have it coming anyway. Enough said I think.
Matt: If this is VR I am in.
The Wolf Among Us 2
Paul: You can take Hellblade, Ghost of Tsushima, and most other titles from The Game Awards, but I’ll take The Wolf Among Us 2. We’d all, quite reasonably thought Wolf 2 was dead, along with Telltale, and whilst I wasn’t surprised that the sequel was revived along with the studio in the last few months, the fact that it’s happened so soon, is most definitely a surprise. What a reveal!!!
Matt: Look I am really not happy about this. This is a game that is a result of a studio totally screwing over its employees and unless the profits of this game go towards fixing that I can’t support it.
Fast & Furious: Crossroads
Paul: I’m no Fast & Furious guy, but it does seem like there’s some love going into this one, so for fans of the films, I really hope this comes together nicely for you.
Matt: This could be a real cracker, it has been ages since we have had a mental car game to play (Driver: San Fran) so there is certainly a space in the market for it. It looks like it has some high production values and if they can nail the mental fun of the films it could be a real surprise hit. :
Paul: Sekiro coming away with the top gong was a hell of a surprise with it being considered by many as the darkest of dark horses in this years batch, not because of its quality, but its profile. They pulled it off though, and that’s fantastic for fans of FromSoftware, you can’t argue that they’ve been on fire for a while now and have been deserving of serious accolades. Of course, Death Stranding got some love with Kojima getting best Direction and Mads the recipient of best acting. Outside of the GOTY, it was all about what you would have expected.
Matt: It was a little surprising that Sekiro won, but I have no doubt as to whether it deserves it. I personally would have liked to see Control take the gong but hey you can’t have it all. I was great to see Disco Elysium take so many awards too. It is always great to see Indies take to the big boys in these awards.
Paul: Can’t say that anyone put a foot wrong here. ChVches were fantastic, Green Day were white-hot and the musical tribute to the GOTY contenders was as always, exceptional. This is one area that Geoff is getting better and better at each and every year. Long may that trajectory continue
Matt: Great performances all round. It was doubly nice to see Green Day kick it off with an oldie and not only play their questionable new stuff. However, as there was no Mick Gordon I can only give this a 2/10.
Paul: A few pacing issues aside, the upward swing that is The Game Awards continues. Geoff didn’t see to be stretched as thin during his hosting duties this year which was for the betterment of the show, the reveals were largely quite fantastic, and there was nothing horrifically wrong in the performances or award presentation space. The show might still benefit from being brought down from 2.5 hours into a solid 2, but we’re getting pretty close to a perfect formula now. Keep that improvement going Geoff!
Matt: For me, it was easily 1 hour too long. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy the awards but boy-o-boy did it drag on at times. The commercialism seemed really steep this year with Tech YT guy flogging Samsung teles and dodgy segments like the Apex Legends one. They need to find a better balance here if they expect people to tolerate such a bloated run time. Hopefully, there is a refinement for the next ceremony.