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Gaming Roundup – The Last of the Year

Hello! Welcome to the Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!

This week, the last standard roundup of 2019, focusing on the Game Awards and a few other announcements.

GAME AWARDS: ALL THE AWARDS

Geoff Keighley’s Game Awards was held last night and was a bloated four-hour mess of adverts and live music performances that had nothing to do with games. I stayed up late to watch the full show, and I wish I hadn’t, because the pacing was horrendous. Far too much time dedicated to expansions appealing exclusively to the audience of a single game (including a cringeworthy Apex Legends segment) and there really didn’t need to be a full Green Day set at the three-hour mark.

But some awards were occasionally given out at the awards show. Death Stranding did well (who knew the game from Geoff Keighley’s mate would do well at Geoff Keighley’s show?), taking away Best Music & Score, Best Game Direction and Best Performance for Mads Mikkelsen. Recent indie darling Disco Elysium did well, taking away Fresh Indie Game, Best Indie Game, Best RPG and Best Narrative. Sekiro took Best Action-Adventure and the overall Game of the Year.

Here are the main award winners:

  • Best Action Game – Devil May Cry 5
  • Best Action-Adventure Game – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
  • Best Fighting Game – Super Smash Bros Ultimate
  • Best RPG – Disco Elysium
  • Best Sports/Racing Game – Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fuelled
  • Best Strategy Game – Fire Emblem: Three Houses
  • Best Family Game – Luigi’s Mansion 3
  • Games for Impact – Gris
  • Best Indie Game – Disco Elysium
  • Fresh Indie Game – Disco Elysium
  • Best Mobile Game – Call of Duty Mobile
  • Best VR/AR Game – Beat Saber
  • Best Multiplayer Game – Apex Legends
  • Players’ Voice – Fire Emblem: Three Houses
  • Game of the Year – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Here are the “technical” awards:

  • Best Game Direction – Death Stranding
  • Best Art Direction – Control
  • Best Narrative – Disco Elysium
  • Best Performance – Death Stranding (Mads Mikkelsen)
  • Best Music & Score – Death Stranding
  • Best Audio Design – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

And finally, the community and esports awards, and I totally know exactly who all these people are*

  • Best Ongoing Game – Fortnite
  • Best Community Support – Destiny 2
  • Content Creator of the Year – Shroud
  • Best Esports Coach – Zonic
  • Best Esports Event – League of Legends World Championship 2019
  • Best Esports Host – Sjokz
  • Best Esports Team – G2 Esports
  • Best Esports Player – Bugha
  • Best Esports Game – League of Legends

*this may be a lie

THE GAME AWARDS: ALL THE ANNOUNCEMENTS

But let’s not forget, Geoff Keighley’s Game Awards are also about flagrant advertising! On one hand this meant a lot of actual ads, some of which repeated endlessly during the night (I never want to see Linus Tech Tips again in my life!). On the other, this does of course mean new game announcements. So here we go!

First up, the quick stuff. Weird West got announced, from the creators of Dishonored who’ve left Arkane to make their own studio. Naraka Bladepoint is a cool-looking ninja game from a Chinese developer. Nine to Five is some kind of comedic squad shooter that did not announce its presence with Dolly Parton and so I’m massively disappointed. New World is an MMO from Amazon about colonisation and some kind of corrupted eldritch item. And there’s a League of Legends spinoff called Conv/rgence (that really isn’t easy to write). Also, shark sim Maneater is coming out on 22nd May.

Next up, Square Enix announced the third Bravely Default game, which is called…Bravely Default II. No, I didn’t miss something there, it’s literally called Bravely Default 2 despite Bravely Second existing. Never change, Squeenix. At least it didn’t get a Kingdom Hearts subtitle or we’d be here all day.

The big closing announcement of the night was the appearance of Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel to confirm a new game called Fast & Furious: Crossroads, set in the world of the car movie series that won’t die, and looking like it’s straight out of the late PS2 era. Quite why this was the big announcement of the night I will never know, and speaks volumes about the show’s weird, inconsistent pacing.

Gears of Wars is getting a tactical RPG title called, appropriately, Gears Tactics. Apparently it’s single player only, which came as a surprise to many. Will Gears fans go for a tactical RPG? Will tactical RPG fans want to play a game in the Gears universe? The answers to these questions remain to be seen.

We had our first next-gen announcements too. Gearbox popped up to announce a game called Godfall, which they confirmed is coming to PS5. Yes, 5, not 4. They describe it as a looter-slasher. A looter-sloosher, if you will. Which I’m pretty sure is a weapon in Splatoon. But anyway, that’s interesting. A PS5 game reveal. Fancy.

Oh, and Xbox just casually revealed the new Xbox. The Xbox Series X looks like a subwoofer and is about the same size, with the name of a sportscar to boot. This somehow wasn’t the big closing announcement of the night, and they kind of skimmed over it, which is weird because, well, it’s only the bloody new Xbox, guys! Hellblade 2 is confirmed for it, which makes me sad because I don’t have the space for this new Xbox and my PC would probably die trying to run it. Still, looked nice though.

One game that isn’t going to be next gen despite rumours is Ghost of Tsushima, which is definitely a PS4 game as it’s coming next summer. Of course, that doesn’t rule out a PS5 enhanced version shortly afterwards, but for now, definitely PS4. We got a full trailer for it at the Game Awards, after a brief tease of it at Sony’s State of Play presentation earlier in the week.

Speaking of which…

STATE OF PLAY: ALL THE ANNOUNCEMENTS

Sony held another one of them PlayStation Directs again, and for once it wasn’t terrible. Hurray!

Untitled Goose Game is coming to PS4 on the 17th! And also the Xbox, but WEIRDLY, Sony didn’t mention that. Now you can honk on even more systems, and that is, ultimately, the best anyone can ever ask for.

Babylon’s Fall, the elusive Platinum game, finally got a gameplay reveal! It looks exactly like a Platinum game, but with a moody Dark Souls esque art style. But ultimately still a flashy, combo-heavy action title and I don’t know why I expected anything else out of the developer of Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising.

Resident Evil Resistance, that weird multiplayer spinoff, is coming out in March. It also comes bundled with some remake of Resident Evil 3 or something, but no one cares about that. I am, of course, joking, and the rumours were true – Resident Evil 3 remake is coming, and it’s also coming surprisingly soon, and Resistance is bundled in just for the hell of it.

But there were other announcements! Dreams gets a full-scale release on Valentine’s Day! Predator Hunting Grounds is out in April! Superliminal, Paper Beast and Spellbreak are all also games coming to PS4!

So that’s it for announcements NO WAIT there’s more because

NINTENDO INDIE WORLD: ALL THE ANNOUNCEMENTS

The games industry just cannot pace itself and needs to drop all its release announcements in one week. Nintendo held their own presentation, one of their Indie World specials, which focus on indie titles coming to the Switch. Which didn’t stop people complaining about a lack of a Smash Bros DLC announcement, despite there being exactly 0% chance of it happening.

The sequel to golf-RPG hybrid Golf Story was revealed, and is now about a huge variety of ball-based sports, and appropriately titled Sports Story. Both Skatebird and Boyfriend Dungeon have confirmed Switch releases in addition to their known Steam releases in future. A desert island based spin-off for The Escapists was announced, titled The Survivalists. And finally a sequel to Axiom Verge was announced, which is a game I liked right up until it got hard in a way that wasn’t fun.

Other games which got shown included Streets of Rage 4, Gleamlight, Bake n Switch, Supermash, Sail Forth, Liberated and Dreamscaper.

Everything is out in 2020, although seemingly no one has any idea on specifics. Be rest assured, some indie games will be out next year.

NEW RELEASES

In new releases this week, we have Hades (PC), the new game from Transistor and Bastion devs Supergiant, and a Greek-inspired roguelike. There’s also Dead End Job (PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Apple Arcade), a ghost-hunting twin stick shooter inspired by Ghostbusters and 90s cartoons such as Ren and Stimpy.

There are not one, but two, co-op horror games out this week for Steam. The first is Last Year: Afterdark, an asymmetric multiplayer game where five players take on the roles of horror movie teens in an attempt to escape the Fiend, a spider-like being controlled by a sixth player. And then there’s GTFO which entered Early Access this week, a co-op horror game from the team behind Payday, seeing you explore a crater for scientific research, but horrors lurk in the darkness that you must work together to survive against. Merry Christmas!

Popular EDM producer Tim “Avicii” Bergling passed away tragically to suicide a year ago, to the shock of the music world. At the time, he was touring, still producing music and was also working with a games developer, Hello There Games, to produce a game of soundscapes based around his music. Think Audiosurf or Frequency for a general idea of what we’re talking about.

Following his passing, Hello There continued work on the game, and now Avicii Invector (PC, PS4, XBO) has landed this week in tribute to his memory. While it is a fairly standard rhythm game and won’t really do much for those who weren’t into Avicii, it’s worth mentioning because 25% of the game’s proceeds will go to the Tim Bergling Foundation, set up by his family, to help raise awareness of mental health issues. A fitting tribute to an artist tragically gone too soon.

On a sort of lighter note, this week saw the release of a Vampire: The Masquerade game! No, not that one. Coteries of New York (PC) isn’t quite the sprawling RPG of Bloodlines 2 just yet. Instead, it’s a visual novel with choices and decision-making. It’s a little more low-key than its eagerly-awaited stablemate, but it still looks like an impressive narrative-driven title with plenty to sink your teeth into.

GAME OF THE WEEK

My Game of the Week is cheating. So, next week I won’t be doing a standard roundup (more on that in a second), but there is one release next week that’s caught my eye and I want to give it some love even if it’s technically the wrong date.

Wattam launches on the Epic Store and PS4 next week on the 17th, and it’s the new game from Keita “Katamari Damacy” Takahashi. It’s delightfully weird as you’d expect from Takahashi, to the point where I’m not entirely sure what’s going on. It’s a game about bringing people together but there’s sentient poop and a donut man?

It’s complete madness and I’m not even sure if it’ll turn out any good, but Wattam has caught my attention and made me smile enough to award it the final Game of the Week award for 2019.

And that’s it for this week, and indeed for this year. As I’ve already stated, this is the end of the Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup for 2019, largely because we’re moving closer to Christmas and news and releases just dry up.

But that’s not to say you won’t see me next week! For the next three weeks I’ll be making the appropriate transition into a new year with three special roundups. Next week, I’ll be examining every Game of the Week of this year, from New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe to Wattam, and deciding if I was right to choose those games or not. The week after, I pick out the year’s most notable games in an attempt to define the year in gaming, just like I did with 2018. Then in the first week of January, I’ll be picking out some notable titles for 2020. Tell you what, let’s do 20. 20 for 2020. See what I did there?

Thank you for following these roundups every week this year. I enjoy collecting these together for you and I hope to improve them as we move into 2020. Let me know how you’ve been finding them so far, and I’ll see you next week with the first of the year-end specials!