Game Awards and PlayStation Experience Predictions

As #TrevorTrovember  (my project to write an entry a day on my site here during the month of November) comes to a close, I wanted to do something special. So in addition to the written content I usually produce, I put together a video version of this article as well. Here are my predictions on who will win at The Game Awards Thursday, as well as five predictions for the PlayStation Experience Keynote this Saturday at 10AM PT. Check the link for the full list of nominees and categories. I don't follow the eSports scene so I wouldn't be speaking about those categories with any authority and I haven't seen any of the content up for Best Fan Creation so I left these categories out. I haven't played a lot of the other games nominated in some of the categories (Multiplayer and Shooter for example) but I'm in tune enough with the industry that I still felt equipped to address them.

Game Awards Predictions

  • Trending Gamer - Greg Miller:  I think while PewDiePie and TotalBiscuit have bigger audiences (and TotalBiscuit won it last year), Greg was the only one I saw really campaigning it. Though I admittedly don't really follow any of the other nominees.
  • Most Anticipated Game - Horizon Zero Dawn:  I think we'll get world premiere trailers or footage for all five of the nominees but I think Horizon Zero Dawn takes it over No Man's Sky, Uncharted 4, Quantum Break, and Last Guardian if for no other reason than the anticipation on all four of those other games has worn down with time.
  • Best Art Direction - Ori and the Blind Forest:  The other four nominees skew more toward realism whereas Ori and the Blind Forest has a beautiful, hand-crafted feel that made it stand above the rest in terms of Art Direction.
  • Best Multiplayer - Destiny: The Taken King: People already loved vanilla Destiny despite its flaws and I heard pretty much universal praise come out of the expansion, especially the multiplayer-centric raid so I give it to this rags to riches story.
  • Best Sports/Racing Game - Rocket League: Every other nominee is just a new variation of the previous entry with updated rosters. Yes, Rocket League also had a first game in the form of Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle Cars but this game blew up this summer when it launched and still has a solid player base rewarding its efforts to try something new in the Sports/Racing genre. For more on my impressions of the game, click here and read the pre-TrevorTrove write-up I did for my friends over at Irrational Passions.
  • Best Family Game - LEGO Dimensions: I think LEGO Dimensions takes this category. The LEGO games already have a proven track record as a family game powerhouse so their foray into the Toys-to-Life genre has been a solid success. Disney Infinity 3.0 might pull of better sales with the Star Wars tie-in but I think the jury of critics will give LEGO more love. Super Mario Maker is the outlier. I don't really see it as a "Family" game though. I haven't seen a ton of stories about parents making levels with their kids, I've seen a lot of 20-30-somethings making levels to drive their friends insane. Super Mario Maker was the best Nintendo game this year, but I think LEGO and Disney Infinity have it be for this category.
  • Best Fighting Game - Mortal Kombat X: I'm going with Mortal Kombat X mostly based on the name recognition and that it was well-received as a fighter. But if the Jury relies on the Fighting Game experts within their circles, I could also see it going to Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- which I heard great things about and is admittedly the only other name on the list I recognized at all.
  • Best Role Playing Game - Fallout 4: Based on the internet's reaction to Fallout 4 since it launched I think it'll take this category. It has it hooks in a ton of people right now, myself includedBloodborne is mis-categorized here as I would have predicted it winning Action/Adventure game but it's not up for that award; Pillars of Eternity and Undertale seem to skew a little to hardcore; and The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, while great, didn't feel as tight mechanically as Fallout 4 does.
  • Best Action/Adventure - Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: The fact that this game was able to attract so many non-Metal Gear fans like myself is a testament to the game's extraordinary mechanics and rewarding gameplay loop. If you had asked me a year ago if Metal Gear Solid would be a contender for my Game of 2015, I'd have laughed you away with a simple, "not for me, no. Those games aren't for me." But damn am I glad I played this one. This one's probably my easiest call of the night. The only other game that'll give it a run for its money is The Rise of the Tomb Raider but I haven't gotten to it yet and can't speak to it outside of hearing it's great, but is it MGSV-great?
  • Best Shooter - Destiny: The Taken King: Again, I defer to Destiny here. The other real competition is Call of Duty: Black Ops III - which by all accounts is mostly just more Call of Duty and Halo 5 which my most accounts still isn't as good as when Bungie was making Halo games. Splatoon is in here too which I did dabble with but I wouldn't at all say it was a great shooter. It sure is an innovative one though, but I don't think that'll win out here. Lastly Star Wars Battlefront would have been better suited in the Multiplayer category than here. I keep hearing that as a shooter for fans of the genre, it sucks, but as a multiplayer game for fans of Star Wars, it's phenomenal.
  • Games for Impact - Life is Strange: Haven't played this or any of the games nominated, but Life is Strange is definitely the one I've heard about the most and based on that mindshare, I think it'll take the award.
  • Best Performance - Ashly Burch as Chloe Price (Life is Strange): As with the Games for Impact category, I can't speak too much here. I don't think Witcher or Batman wowed me with their nominated performances. Camila Luddington's work for Tomb Raider has been widely lauded but I think Burch is an industry favorite and likely winner.
  • Best Score/Soundtrack - Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: If the category were best Score, I think differently, but the soundtrack played so heavily into people's memories of Metal Gear that I think it'll win out. I certainly know I'll never hear The Final Countdown without thinking about Pequod.
  • Best Narrative - Tales from the Borderlands: By most accounts, Tales from the Borderlands is TellTale's best all-around story to date so I think they'll be rewarded with that here. However, a more traditional and incredibly deep narrative like The Witcher could also win the day.
  • Best Mobile/Handheld Game - Lara Croft GO: Not a huge mobile gamer by nature, I picked up Lara Croft GO after hearing good things about it and it was well worth my time and money. Great art style and puzzle design showed that not everything on your phone is after the low hanging fruit. Fallout Shelter was a fun little novelty and I played it when it finally came to Android but after a couple of days I felt like I'd done everything there was to do so I uninstalled it and moved on.
  • Best Independent Game - Rocket League: Rocket League took the industry by storm, surprising pretty much everyone. I certainly wouldn't be mad if this went to Tom Happ though for his incredible one-man show on Axiom Verge. The story behind Axiom Verge is the better one, but I think Rocket League was a phenomenon.
  • Developer of the Year - CD Projekt Red: CD Projekt Red did everything right. They embodied a gamer-first attitude by rewarding the people who purchased their game with 16 additional pieces of content at no extra charge, they included a thank you note with every physical copy of their game, and to top it all off, they made an incredible game. Bethesda's quick turnaround between announcement and release of Fallout 4 was great from a marketing standpoint, but CD Projekt Red wins this award as consolation for not getting...
  • Game of the Year - Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: As mentioned above, this was a game that was able to win over people who weren't even fans of the series based on its merit alone. While on the other hand, I'm hearing time and time again people espouse that if you didn't love past Fallout games, you're not likely to enjoy Fallout 4 either. So while my only personal Game of the Year thoughts are still ruminating, I think The Game Awards are giving this one to Kojima. That it'll be one last screw you to Konami is just a bit of a bonus.

So those are my predictions for Thursday night, let's touch on what I think is coming Saturday morning in San Francisco.

PlayStation Experience Predictions

  1. The Final Fantasy VII port to PlayStation 4 originally announced at last year (for an early 2015 release before getting delayed) will be released during the Keynote in a SquareEnix portion, alongside new footage of the Final Fantasy VII Remake and/or Final Fantasy XV. The leaked trophy list seems to corroborate that there will at least be some related announcement. It might even be given to everyone who attends the show (we were encouraged to register with our PSN Names after all).
  2. The Last Guardian will get a release date. I predict September in the Metal Gear Solid V slot from this year. I imagine they'll have games with broader appeal during the Holiday season of 2016 but they can get this one out in advance for the die hards who have been waiting nearly a decade for it. I don't think they would have re-revealed it at E3 without knowing it'd be releasing sooner than later.
  3. Uncharted 4 will have a live demo onstage focusing on one of the game's set pieces (a la the collapsing building from Uncharted 2 or the cruise ship or plane from Uncharted 3). The real catch though, it goes off without a hitch after their technical hiccups at last year's PSX and this year's E3.
  4. PlayStation VR release date will be announced in tandem with a live No Man's Sky VR demo onstage. Both will be dates in June (we already know June is the No Man's Sky window and PlayStation VR was announced to release by Q2 of next year last I heard, which fits). Additionally, No Man's Sky will be announced as a launch title and pack-in for PlayStation VR (but it will also be available on console without VR).
  5. PSN Aliases announced (or something to that effect). Architecturally, they've said time and again that the system to allow you to change your names is too prohibitive, but they could develop an Alias that can replace your PSN Name in network-facing occurrences. So I might still have tstarkey0810 as my true PSN Name but I could conceivably snag the SnarkyStarkey Alias to mask that online. Bonus points if Shuhei Yoshida specifically calls out Greg Miller and Colin Moriarty during or after the announcement. Now the tricky part of this is making sure that the die hards who attend the event themselves don't get screwed out of being the first to benefit (like those of us who attended last year were virtually screwed from a chance of getting one of the limited edition 20th Anniversary PlayStation 4's. So if this is actually a reality, I hope they give first dibs to those in attendance. Again, they did have us register for the conference with our PSN Names. There must have been a reason behind that.

So those are my predictions for this week's big events. I look forward to seeing how I do. I had two great standout predictions for E3 (predicted that the FFVII port would be delayed in favor of an actual remake and that Fallout 4 would get a release date of November 11). Here's hoping I come away even better with these prediction's by week's end.