Alright...gonna keep this short(ish) because I have friends waiting out there somewhere for me.
My first Game Awards was incredible. It started off a little bumpy when my Uber to the event literally broke down on the way (rattling and smoke under the hood and everything) but I switched to a lyft for the rest of the trip and made it safe and sound.
Shortly after arriving, I got to see and catch up with one of the coolest people I have had the pleasure of meeting this past year: Brittney Brombacher aka Blondenerd. I awkwardly introduced myself to her at last year's PSX when I saw her outside my hotel. Later at the Kinda Funny party, we hit it off talking about Harvest Moon and Final Fantasy and the like. Every time I've seen her since (PAX South, PAX West, and now tonight) she has been so delightful to reconnect with.
I took my seat, only to find out a few moments later that she and her friend Jayson were seated behind me. We were far enough back on the Orchestra that (when nobody had shown up to the seats next to me by the start of the show) they moved up and sat with me. It was truly a delight to experience the show with someone who I look up to as an inspiration in the industry sitting right by my side. She's amazing and everyone should go support her if you don't already!
The show itself was a lot of fun (mostly thanks to getting to share in Britt's excitement and reactions to things)! Highlights were definitely the moving speech by the creator of That Dragon, Cancer that had everyone in tears, and speeches from Nolan North and Boogie2988 echoing Greg Miller's sentiment last year, thanking the often thankless developers, programmers, etc. for toiling away so hard on this industry we all love so much.
So how'd I do on my predictions?
Well outside of the actual awards, I predicted (in my PSX Predictions) that we'd get the Telltale Guardians of the Galaxy announcement. And we did. As for other non-award-specific Game Awards predictions, we had a lot of the multiple-category winners (Pokemon GO, Overwatch, Inside) thrown into condensed segments where they won a "big" award, and were also announced as the winners of other awards in the same breath. I also prediction that (when he won) Nolan North woud make mention of the Performance Matters movement/SAF-AFTRA strike.
As for the awards themselves, here's the list: with my predicted winner followed by the actual winner.
Most Anticipated Game: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild / The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Sitting next to Brittney for the Zelda premieres and the Mass Effect footage was easily worth the price of admission and the drives to and from the event which each cost more because Los Angeles kind of sucks...
Best Fan Creation: Brutal Doom 64 / No winner announced (possibly due to the tainted nature of the results with two categories removed after the nominees were announced).
Trending Gamer: Danny O'Dwyer / Boogie2988. I saw Boogie on his scooter as I was walking into the event. And while I was certainly hoping for a Danny O'Dwyer win, it was abundantly clear that this meant a lot to Boogie.
Best Multiplayer Game - Overwatch / Overwatch
Best Sports/Racing Game - Forza Horizon 3 / Forza Horizon 3
Best Strategy Game - Civilization VI / Civilization VI
Best Family Game - Pokemon GO / Pokemon GO
Best Fighting Game - Pokken Tournament / Street Fighter V
Best Role Playing Game - Dark Souls 3 / The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine - I thought this was one of the weirdest calls, due to the Expansion Pack nature of the DLC but whatever.
Best Action/Adventure Game - Uncharted 4: A Thief's End / Dishonored 2. Probably the biggest upset during the night, Dishonored 2 managed to out Action/Adventure the Action/Adventure nominee for Game of the Year.
Best Action Game - Doom / Doom. I incorrectly praised this as a surprise by beating Overwatch on Twitter. I had forgotten my own justification that this would be an appropriate place to give Doom its due.
Best VR Game - Job Simulator / Rez Infinite - The first thing I got wrong in the Pre-Show I think. I guess I'll have to be sure to check Rez Infinite out.
Best Mobile/Handheld Game - Pokemon GO / Pokemon G
Best Independent Game - The Witness / Inside. I didn't even catch that this was awarded to Inside alongside its Art Direction win until I got back to the hotel to write this up. The Witness was robbed. Boo...
Games for Impact Award - That Dragon, Cancer / That Dragon, Cance. Holy shit was that speech moving. And the developer received a well-earned standing ovation for it. I haven't played this, but I will before the year is done.
Best Performance - Nolan North / Nolan North. Brittney leaned over and said who do you think wins, while the nominee reel was playing and we both agreed it had to be North in his farewell to the role that made him a gaming household name.
Best Music/Sound Design - Doom / Doom. The Doom music moment was easily my favorite of the night and I'm not even into metal.
Best Art Direction - Overwatch / Inside. Honestly, this would have been my last choice of the nominees. For me, bleak and hues of grey doesn't mean good. It fit within the world, sure but it left so much of that game feeling same-y that I lost interest.
Best Narrative - Uncharted 4: A Thief's End / Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. Sadly the only time we got to celebrate with Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley.
Best Studio/Game Direction - Blizzard / Blizzard
Game of the Year - Overwatch / Overwatch. The feeling in the room definitely leaned toward Uncharted, but I had a pretty good feeling that Blizzard was just gonna walk away with it.
So when all was said and done, it looks like I only predicted 13 categories right (out of 20, not counting the Fan Creation that seems to have been nixed as even the official site doesn't recognize a winner). Not great. But better than my 10 out of 18 last year (65% this year versus 56% last year).
All in all, I had a great time. I think the Shick-bot thing really bombed in the room. The trailers and gameplay was mostly great. Death Stranding is apparently going to be at every show for the next couple years. Anyway, friends are coming to get me so I gotta go. Thanks for reading and following along. Yay video games!