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The Game Awards 2022: Winners and Losers

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It has been a few days since Microsoft Theater was filled to the brim to celebrate the year of gaming. For the first time in years, a live audience was present for Geoff Keighley’s end of the year extravaganza. Between the awards, announcements, and controversy there’s a ton to talk about, and with a few days to marinate it’s time to look back at who won and who lost at The Game Awards 2022.

Winner: Geoff Keighley

It’s weird to say, but Geoff Keighley’s award show has been around for almost a decade. Even still, something about this year’s show felt special. Maybe it was the return of the live audience or in-person acceptance speeches that went too long or a long overdue stage appearance by Hideo Kojima, but whatever the case may be, the entire show felt more energized than it had during the pandemic years. On top of that, Geoff seems to have finally learned to not overhype the show. With the announcement of a shortened show and having experienced previous years’ announcements, I went into this year’s Game Awards with low expectations, but those expectations were blown out of the water and into orbit. After the first announcement of Hades 2, I truly didn’t know what was going to come next, and each announcement hit like an uppercut from a heavyweight champ. Geoff truly won this year in finally delivering the hype he’s promised from The Game Awards.

Loser: The Game Awards

This is an odd follow up. I literally just told you that The Game Awards delivered big announcements in a high-energy, in-person venue. But unfortunately, the event was plagued with amateurish moments. Clearly, Keighley’s team haven’t had to deal with an in-person event for a couple years. The first acceptance speech from Christopher Judge went way too long before the music started coming on, as if they weren’t prepared for long speeches. Then, add on the security issues to close out the event, as well as the event going long by thirty minutes. As great as the event was for viewers, there are clearly areas that could be tightened up. Hopefully lessons are learned for next year.

Winner: Single Player Games

Another Game Awards has come and passed, and yet again it was dominated by single player focused titles. In a landscape dominated by games as a service and massive multiplayer experiences, it’s great to see that high quality single player experiences are here to stay.

Loser: Indies

I’m a big fan of indie games. They probably make up over half of my Steam library. Though I didn’t get a chance to play most of the Game of the Year nominees, I did play most of the indie titles in the other categories. So it was very disheartening for me to see a lack of indie titles in some of the categories (like art direction, score and music, and narrative). Instead, these categories were overwhelmingly saturated by the Game of the Year nominees. I agree that Elden Ring is 2022’s Game of the year, but do I think it should be nominated for best narrative over titles like Signalis or Citizen Sleeper? Absolutely not. I recognize that this is purely subjective, but I can’t help but feel like this might set a precedent to exclude indies as future nominees in major categories. On top of that, the indie field was dominated by Stray. I won’t say much because, again, this is all subjective, but Stray winning best indie and best debut indie was a snub to the likes of Tunic and Cult of the Lamb.

Winner: Gamers

Yep, I’m going close out saying anyone interested in gaming won that night. We were treated to a slew of surprises, some of which weren’t leaked, which is an impressive feat in this day and age. I considered stepping out of our livestream this year because I was so disappointed with last year’s event, but I’m glad I didn’t and my excitement for next year has only grown.