The Game Awards 2020

The Game Awards 2020 was an award show that honored the best video games of 2020. It was produced and hosted by Geoff Keighley, and took place on December 10, 2020. Unlike previous Game Awards, the show was broadcast virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic; Keighley presented at a soundstage in Los Angeles, while musical performances took place virtually at stages in London and Tokyo. The show introduced the award's first Future Class, a list of individuals from the video game industry who best represent the future of video games. It also introduced a new Innovation in Accessibility award, for games that featured notable accessibility options.

The Game Awards 2020
The Game Awards 2020 logo.jpg
DateDecember 10, 2020 (2020-12-10)
LocationLos Angeles[a]
Hosted byGeoff Keighley
Preshow host(s)Sydnee Goodman
Highlights
Most awardsThe Last of Us Part II (7)
Most nominationsThe Last of Us Part II (11)
Game of the YearThe Last of Us Part II
Websitethegameawards.com
Viewership83 million

The preshow ceremony was hosted by Sydnee Goodman. The show was live streamed across 45 different platforms, and featured several musical performances, as well as celebrity guests as award presenters. The Last of Us Part II received the most nominations and wins in the show's history—eleven and seven, respectively—and was awarded Game of the Year. Neil Druckmann and Halley Gross won Best Narrative for their work on the game, while Laura Bailey was awarded Best Performance for her role as Abby. Several new games were announced during the show, including Ark II, Perfect Dark, and an untitled Mass Effect game.

The 2020 show was the most expensive ceremony to date. It was viewed by over 83 million streams, the most in its history, with 8.3 million concurrent viewers at its peak. It received a mixed reception from media publications, with praise directed at new game announcements, and some criticism for not allowing developers more time to speak. Some critics and viewers shared concerns over the success of The Last of Us Part II due to its polarizing narrative and developer's use of "crunch time".

Winners and nomineesEdit

Neil Druckmann and Halley Gross were awarded Best Narrative. Druckmann also accepted the awards for Game of the Year and Best Game Direction, while Gross was also included in the show's Future Class.
Nobuo Uematsu and Masashi Hamauzu won Best Score and Music alongside Mitsuto Suzuki (not pictured).
 
Laura Bailey won Best Performance.
 
Sean Murray, lead director of No Man's Sky, accepted the award for Best Ongoing Game on behalf of Hello Games.
 
Kurt Margenau, co-game director of The Last of Us Part II, accepted the award for Best Action/Adventure Game on behalf of Naughty Dog.
 
Valkyrae won Content Creator of the Year.
 
Heo "Showmaker" Su of Damwon Gaming was awarded Best Esports Athlete.
 
Danny "Zonic" Sørensen of Astralis won Best Esports Coach for the second year in a row.
 
Sjokz won Best Esports Host for the third consecutive year.

The nominees for The Game Awards 2020 were announced on November 18, 2020.[3] Any game released on or before November 20, 2020 was eligible for consideration.[4] The nominees were compiled by a jury panel with members from 96 media outlets globally;[5] ballots were sent to outlets on October 29 and due back on November 6, though they had until November 13 to submit updated ballots. Outlets were required to submit three games for each category to determine the nominees.[4] Winners are determined between the jury (90%) and public votes (10%); the latter was held via the official website and on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and closed on December 9.[6] The two exceptions were the Most Anticipated Game and Player's Voice awards, which were fully nominated and voted-on by the public;[7][8] the former was determined exclusively on Twitter and announced during the show,[7] and the latter was announced on December 8 after several rounds of voting.[8] A new Innovation in Accessibility award was also added for games that featured notable accessibility options.[9] Around 18.3 million people participated in the public vote, doubling from the previous show.[10]

AwardsEdit

Winners are listed first, highlighted in boldface, and indicated with a double dagger ( ).[11]

Video gamesEdit

Game of the Year Best Game Direction
Best Narrative Best Art Direction
Best Score and Music Best Audio Design
Best Performance Games for Impact
Best Ongoing Game Best Indie Game
Best Mobile Game Best Community Support
Best VR/AR Game Innovation in Accessibility
Best Action Game Best Action/Adventure Game
Best Role Playing Game Best Fighting Game
Best Family Game Best Sim/Strategy Game
Best Sports/Racing Game Best Multiplayer Game
Best Debut Game[b] Content Creator of the Year
Most Anticipated Game[c] Player's Voice[d]

EsportsEdit

Best Esports Game Best Esports Athlete
Best Esports Team Best Esports Coach
Best Esports Event Best Esports Host
  • Eefje "Sjokz" Depoortere 
    • Alex "Goldenboy" Mendez
    • Alex "Machine" Richardson
    • James "Dash" Patterson
    • Jorien "Sheever" van der Heijden

Games with multiple nominations and awardsEdit

Multiple nominationsEdit

The Last of Us Part II received eleven nominations, the most in the show's history. Other games with multiple nominations included Hades with nine, Ghost of Tsushima with eight, Final Fantasy VII Remake with six, and Doom Eternal with five. Sony Interactive Entertainment had 26 total nominations, more than any other publisher, followed by Supergiant Games and Xbox Game Studios with eight.[3]

Multiple awardsEdit

The Last of Us Part II received the most wins in the show's history, with seven. Four games—Among Us, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Ghost of Tsushima, and Hades—won two awards. Across its two winning games, Sony Interactive Entertainment won a total of nine awards, while Innersloth, Square Enix, Supergiant Games, and Xbox Game Studios won two.[11]

Games that received multiple wins
Awards Game
7 The Last of Us Part II
2 Among Us
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Ghost of Tsushima
Hades

Presenters and performersEdit

The following individuals, listed in order of appearance, presented awards, introduced trailers, or performed musical numbers. All other awards were presented by Geoff Keighley or Sydnee Goodman.[1][12][13][14]

PresentersEdit

Name Role
Rand Miller Presented the launch trailer for Myst for Oculus Quest[15]
Stephen A. Smith Presented the award for Best Esports Athlete
Brie Larson Presented the award for Best Performance
Chris Ashton Presented the gameplay trailer for Back 4 Blood
Josh Holmes Presented the beta announcement trailer for Scavengers
Glen Schofield Presented the reveal trailer for The Callisto Protocol
John David Washington Presented the award for Best Narrative
Swedish Chef Presented the Swedish Chef trailer for Overcooked: All You Can Eat
DrLupo Introduced Future Class
Gal Gadot Presented the award for Games for Impact
Tom Holland Introduced presenter Nolan North
Nolan North Presented the award for Best Multiplayer Game
Ralph Macchio Presented the award for Best Fighting Game
Yuji Okumoto
Josef Fares Presented the reveal trailer for It Takes Two
Reggie Fils-Aimé Presented the award for Innovation in Accessibility
Troy Baker Introduced performer Eddie Vedder
Jacksepticeye Presented the award for Content Creator of the Year
Donald Mustard Presented the Master Chief, Blood Gulch, and The Walking Dead trailers for Fortnite Battle Royale
Kaskade Presented the Rocket League Season 2 trailer
Keanu Reeves Presented the award for Best Game Direction
Christopher Nolan Presented the award for Game of the Year

PerformersEdit

Name Song Game(s) Location
Lyn Inaizumi "Last Surprise" Persona 5 Strikers Tokyo[1]
OFK[e] "Follow/Unfollow" We Are OFK Virtual[16]
London Philharmonic Orchestra[f] Mario medley Super Mario series Abbey Road Studios, London[2]
Game of the Year medley Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Doom Eternal
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Ghost of Tsushima
Hades
The Last of Us Part II
Eddie Vedder "Future Days" The Last of Us Part II Seattle[2]

Ceremony informationEdit

 
The Game Awards 2020 was hosted and produced by Geoff Keighley.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, show creator and producer Geoff Keighley did not want to host a normal ceremony for the 2020 show.[17] Not wanting to take a hiatus and inspired by the success of Summer Game Fest,[5] he considered hosting the show from his home, but his board urged him to attempt a larger show on par with previous years.[18] In case of a significant surge of COVID-19 cases in California, the crew had several back-up plans for the show, including broadcasting from Keighley's house.[2] Keighley worked with his partners to develop a virtual show.[17] He and his team took inspiration from other shows throughout the year, including the Democratic National Convention, in which the "audience" was featured on virtual screens,[19] as well as the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards, wherein the hosts were isolated on stage and the nominees accepted via video call.[18] While developing the show, Keighley also spoke to hundreds of viewers via Zoom to discuss their own interests;[18] these calls often included other industry figures, such as Valve Corporation president Gabe Newell and Epic Games creative director Donald Mustard.[20]

The presentation used three soundstages in Los Angeles, London, and Tokyo; each location had minimal attendees, mostly related to production crew and presenters. Keighley said that this allows them to include additional presentation events as with past shows, as well as explore taking future shows to different venues.[17] According to Keighley, the theme of the show was about strength and comfort, given the impact of the pandemic. He wanted to implore the theme of unity, given the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S in November 2020; he cited The Game Awards 2018 as an example of this theme, which had led with Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aimé, Microsoft's Phil Spencer, and Sony's Shawn Layden all sharing the stage.[20] Keighley felt that the inclusion of film and television stars was an interesting way to show a wider appreciation for the industry. His team wanted to include Henry Cavill in the show, but he was busy working on The Witcher.[5]

Keighley noted that the 2020 show was the most expensive to date, partly due to the COVID-19 tests required for the crew and the worldwide remote camera set-ups.[2] As with the previous show, the presentation ran alongside the Game Festival, consisting of playable demos and additional in-game content.[18] The show introduced the award's first Future Class, a list of individuals from across the video game industry who best represent the future of video games. The inductees included industry professionals such as Kinda Funny's Blessing Adeoye Jr., Naughty Dog's Halley Gross, and GameSpot's Kallie Plagge.[21] The presentation was aired on December 10, 2020, live streamed across more than 45 online platforms. It was executive produced by Keighley and Kimmie Kim, and directed by Richard Preuss. LeRoy Bennett returned to serve as creative director.[22]

AnnouncementsEdit

Around April and May in 2020, Keighley was worried about a potential lack of game announcements due to the impact of COVID-19 on the industry; however, several developers were able to submit their announcements and trailers for demonstration.[5] Announcements on recently released and upcoming games were made for Among Us, Back 4 Blood, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Disco Elysium, Dragon Age 4, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, Fortnite, Forza Horizon 4, The Elder Scrolls Online, It Takes Two, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Monster Hunter Rise, Myst, Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139..., Oddworld: Soulstorm, Outriders, Overcooked: All You Can Eat, Returnal, Scarlet Nexus, Sea of Solitude, Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge, Super Meat Boy Forever, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Warhammer 40,000: Darktide, and Warframe.[23]

New games announced during the ceremony included:[23]

Ratings and receptionEdit

The show received a mixed reception from media publications. VentureBeat's Dean Takahashi praised the ceremony, particularly applauding its celebration of diverse games such as The Last of Us Part II and Tell Me Why as well as the varied and interesting new game announcements.[24] Todd Martens of Los Angeles Times felt that the show should have allowed more time for the developers to speak and discuss their artistic visions behind the games, noting that the presentation does little to demonstrate video games as art.[25] Kat Bailey of USgamer questioned Doom Eternal's nomination for Game of the Year, describing it as "messy, unfocused, and, well, just not as good" as its predecessor.[26]

Similar to concerns over Death Stranding's predominance in the nominations and ceremony for the 2019 awards due to its creator Hideo Kojima's friendship with Keighley, some viewers shared concerns related to The Last of Us Part II at the 2020 awards, both for its awards success and due to the developer's "crunch time" practices.[27] The Last of Us Part II was well-received at release but narrative elements polarized some critics and players, and the game had been subject to review bombing.[28] Kotaku's Ian Walker criticized the game's Best Game Direction win, noting that Hades should have won due to developer Supergiant Games's less demanding work culture.[29] Keighley stated that the awards were not rigged in the manner that some viewers had suggested and that there was no influence of Naughty Dog or its staff on the award selection. He said that the game was popular with players and media alike, as proven by the Player's Voice award, in which The Last of Us Part II had placed second. He further stated that it would be difficult to incorporate criteria related to games developed under poor industry practices like crunch time into the awards selection process without becoming a slippery slope, but believes discussions of these practices should be a conversation held by the larger community.[27]

Over 83 million streams were used to view the ceremonies, with 8.3 million concurrent viewers at its peak.[30] Keighley has expressed his surprise by the consistent growth of the show over the years, but confessed that it has led him to fear "that year where it doesn't grow ... There's going to be a year where we don't have the same viewers".[5]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The show was broadcast virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with musical performances taking place in London, Tokyo, and Seattle.[1][2]
  2. ^ Awarded for the best debut game by an indie studio in 2020
  3. ^ Voting for this award was held exclusively on Twitter.[7]
  4. ^ 100% public-voted award that had a three-round nomination process that began with 30 games[8]
  5. ^ OFK is a fictional band from the upcoming game We Are OFK. Its performance served as the game's announcement.[16]
  6. ^ Conducted by Lorne Balfe.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Ruppert, Liana (December 9, 2020). "The Game Awards 2020 Will Offer 12 To 15 New Game Announcements". Game Informer. GameStop. Archived from the original on January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e Martens, Todd (December 10, 2020). "Getting Keanu Reeves for the Game Awards was easy, compared to all the COVID-19 precautions". Los Angeles Times. Nant Capital. Archived from the original on December 10, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Bailey, Dustin (November 18, 2020). "Hades and Last of Us Part II lead the Game Awards 2020 nominees". PCGamesN. Network N. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Carpenter, Nicole (November 18, 2020). "Why some of 2020's big games didn't get Game Awards nominations". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e Ruppert, Liana (December 17, 2020). "Behind The Scenes Of The Game Awards 2020 With Geoff Keighley". Game Informer. GameStop. Archived from the original on December 17, 2020. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  6. ^ Talbot, Carrie (December 10, 2020). "Here's how to watch tonight's Game Awards 2020 show". PCGamesN. Network N. Archived from the original on December 10, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Spangler, Todd (November 16, 2020). "The Game Awards 2020 Sets Twitter as Exclusive Voting Partner for One Category". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  8. ^ a b c Watts, Rachel (December 8, 2020). "Ghost Of Tsushima wins the publicly voted 'Player's Voice' at The Game Awards". PC Gamer. Future plc. Archived from the original on December 8, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  9. ^ Takahashi, Dean (September 23, 2020). "The Game Awards arrives December 10 with new accessibility honor". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on September 26, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  10. ^ Dealessandri, Marie (December 17, 2020). "The Game Awards sets new viewership record with 83m livestreams". Gamesindustry.biz. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on December 17, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  11. ^ a b Stedman, Alex (December 10, 2020). "The Game Awards 2020: Complete Winners List". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  12. ^ Walker, Alex (December 11, 2020). "Everything Announced At The 2020 Game Awards". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Archived from the original on January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  13. ^ Ryan, Jackson (December 10, 2020). "The Game Awards 2020: Every result, winner, world premiere, trailers and more". CNET. Red Ventures. Archived from the original on January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  14. ^ Robinson, Martin (December 10, 2020). "The Game Awards 2020 live report". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on December 16, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  15. ^ Oculus (December 10, 2020). "Oculus @ The Game Awards 2020". Facebook, Inc. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  16. ^ a b Carpenter, Nicole (December 10, 2020). "Hyper Light Drifter designer announces 'making-of-the-band' interactive series". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on December 10, 2020. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  17. ^ a b c Watts, Steve (August 24, 2020). "The Game Awards 2020 Still Moving Forward". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on August 24, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  18. ^ a b c d Stedman, Alex (September 23, 2020). "The Game Awards to Stream Live From Los Angeles, London and Tokyo on Dec. 10". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Archived from the original on September 24, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  19. ^ Park, Gene (September 24, 2020). "After observing a year of digital events, The Game Awards will end 2020 with its own". The Washington Post. Nash Holdings. Archived from the original on September 26, 2020. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  20. ^ a b Stedman, Alex (November 25, 2020). "How The Game Awards' Fans Helped Build This Year's Ceremony". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Archived from the original on November 25, 2020. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  21. ^ Valentine, Rebekah (December 10, 2020). "The Game Awards announces inaugural Future Class". Gamesindustry.biz. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on December 10, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  22. ^ Del Rosario, Alexandra (November 18, 2020). "The Game Awards Nominees: 'The Last Of Us II,' 'Ghost of Tsushima' & 'Hades' Top 2020 List". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  23. ^ a b Miranda, Felicia (December 11, 2020). "The Game Awards 2020: Every Game Announcement and Reveal". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  24. ^ Takahashi, Dean (December 11, 2020). "The DeanBeat: The Game Awards show gaming's past and future". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  25. ^ Martens, Todd (December 11, 2020). "Review: The Game Awards wants to take video games seriously, but is the industry ready to follow?". Los Angeles Times. Nant Capital. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  26. ^ Bailey, Kat (November 19, 2020). "A Quick and Dirty Ranking of The Game Awards GOTY Nominees for 2020". USgamer. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
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  28. ^ Nunneley, Stephany (June 19, 2020). "The Last of Us: Part 2 has been review bombed on Metacritic". VG247. videogaming247 Ltd. Archived from the original on June 21, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  29. ^ Walker, Ian (December 11, 2020). "Games Made Under Crunch Conditions Don't Deserve 'Best Direction' Awards". Kotaku. G/O Media. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  30. ^ Stedman, Alex (December 17, 2020). "The Game Awards 2020 Show Hits Record Viewership With 83 Million Livestreams". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Archived from the original on December 17, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2021.

External linksEdit