The Game Awards 2021 have come and gone, and we’ve got your summary of all the announcements made during the event.
Produced and hosted by game journalist Geoff Keighley, The Game Awards was born after Spike TV dropped support for the Spike Video Game Awards in 2014. Keighley took up the reigns there after, and as of December 9th, since hosted eight subsequent The Game Awards ceremonies.
On top of the awards, many major game announcements are made at the ceremony, making the event something akin to a second E3 or Gamescom. You can find our coverage on the nominees and winners here.
Past years have seen such announcements as The Callisto Protocol, the next Mass Effect game, A.R.K.: The Animated Series, Ghosts ‘N Goblins Resurrection, the arrival of guest Super Smash Bros. Ultimate characters Joker and Sephiroth. In fact, all of those – apart from Joker’s reveal – came from The Game Awards 2020.
Nonetheless, the awards drew ire earlier this week, as some did not want Actvision Blizzard – whose President, Rob Kostich, sits on The Game Awards’ advisory board – to appear at the show in any capacity in light of the recent sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits filed against the company.
While initially stating, “We have to think very carefully about how to proceed here” when asked about the matter, producer and host Geoff Keighley later tweeted “Beyond its nominations, I can confirm that Activision|Blizzard will not be a part of this year’s #TheGameAwards.”
The pre-show kept things thick and fast, with a few award announcements scattered across, beginning with the reveal of Krohnen for King of Fighters XV, as well as the announcement of the game’s second open beta test, which will run December 17th 19:00 to the 20th 6:59 (PST).
We also got the reveal teaser trailer for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre multiplayer horror game by Gun and Sumo Nottingham, while Gearbox Interactive and Blackbird Interactive revealed the first gameplay footage and release date of Homeworld 3 (launching Q4 2022 on Epic Games and Steam), followed by the announcement of a game based on The Expanse sci-fi novel and Amazon Original TV series from the revived TellTale Games – a developer choice which suggests the game will be filled with plenty of narrative choices for players to make.
Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak got a new gameplay teaser, revealing a new monster, new characters, and hinting at the new land of Elgado.
Annapurna Interactive and Outerloop stepped up soon after with their Indian action RPG Thirsty Suiters, where the protagonist, Jala, must fight and make amends with her exes before her sisters wedding and the arrival of her judgmental grandma, Nani.
After being revealed at last year’s show, Evil West saw its world gameplay premiere. The fantasy western action game will task players with commanding a cybernetically enhanced cowboy against a horde of demons sometime in 2022.
Next, developer Perfect Worlds announced Have a Nice Death. The hand-drawn 2D Action Rogue-Lite sees grim reaper and CEO Jeff becoming overloaded with work, thanks to his executives – the Sorrows – going way beyond company quotas on human deaths.
It also sounds like the narrator from the Stanley Parable will be involved, or at least was in the trailer. Have A Nice Death enters Steam Early Access in March 2022.
Composer Takeshi Furukawa (The Last Guardian) revealed he was working on Thunderful and Wishfully’s Planet of Lana, while the final pre-show reveal was for a port of Arc Sys’ Persona 4 Arena Ultimax.
Already on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 since 2014, it was announced the game would be coming to Steam, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4 on March 17th as part of Atlus’ ongoing Persona 25th anniversary celebration.
“Game creators need to be supported by the companies that employ them,” he said. “We should not and will not tolerate any abuse, harassment, and predatory practices by anyone, including our online communities.”
Keighley passionately continued, “We all love games, and if we want this industry to keep growing, we must build an even brighter and more inclusive future,” before calling on those watching to “build a better, safer video game industry” by speaking out online and “vote with your time and your dollars.”
The first reveal of the main show was a new gameplay trailer for Ninja Theory’s Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II. The sequel shows Pict warrior Senua in charge of a group of allies as they venture into dangerous lands, fighting giants, all while “the Furies” – possibly a manifestation of her own psychosis – continues to plague her.
Impressively, despite its cinematic appearance, the new trailer was also captured in-engine.
Next up to be revealed was Star Wars: Eclipse by Quantic Dream (Detroit: Become Human, Beyond: Two Souls).
Set during the High Republic Era, it promises to be “an intricately branching action-adventure game that can be experienced in many ways, and puts the destinies of multiple playable characters in your hands.” The game is early in development, so we are unlikely to hear more for a while.
Bethesda also gave out hundreds of free game codes, which rapidly scrolled by on-screen in a saccharine trailer.
Odds are they are all gone, but at least the job applications they mentioned are still open. Probably.
However, what can be said for certain is that DC Comics, WB Games, and Monolith revealed a Wonder Woman game, though not much was shown beyond a teaser which hinted that the game will see Diana charged with returning to Themyscira in order to save it.
Per our own speculation, given how developer behind Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is involved, as well as the the narrator’s comment about making enemies into allies, it’s possible Wonder Woman could play akin to the studio’s fan-favorite action-adventure take on Lord of the Rings, tasking players with liberating parts of Themyscira, turning foes into allies (minus the brainwashing), and possibly the inclusion of some form of the Nemesis System.
Another surprising announcement was that of Alan Wake II, as the original game was released a staggering 11 years prior.
While the first game was an action game with horror elements, as admitted by the studio’s Creative Director Sam Lake, this will be Remedy Entertainment’s first proper survival-horror game.
Alan Wake II launches in 2023 for the Epic Games Store, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S.
The first trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog 2, which is currently set to premiere in theaters on April 8th, 2022, was also shown.
In the first glimpse at the Blue Blur’s cinematic sequel, Dr. Robotnik is seen to be intent on seeking revenge, returning to the real-world with a Chaos Emerald in tow and using it to power a flying fortress. Perhaps it will be called the Wing Fortress, after the zone from the classic Sonic 2 videogame, or even the Death Egg, which is now legally distinct in design from its Star Wars inspiration.
Sonic will be joined by his new friend – within the film’s continuity at least – Tails, voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessey, as he was in his cameo at the end of the first film. However, Sonic will also have to deal with Knuckles the Echidna, voiced by Idris Elba.
Earlier this year, a contract dispute between the video game series’ voice actors and SEGA led to many of the talent, including O’Shaughnessey and Sonic voice actor Roger Craig Smith, to exit their roles until an agreement could be reached.
Eventually, Smith announced his return just four months after leaving the role, with O’Shaughnessey, as evidenced by the trailer, following suit shortly there after.
Next up on major reveals was the news that Final Fantasy VII Remake – including the Intergrade DLC campaign featuring Yuffie – would be coming to PC via the Epic Games Store on December 16th. However, it’s $70 price tag has raised more than a few eyebrows.
Xbox also showed the first games coming to their Xbox PC Game Pass, including a “leaked” tweet of the list (including unannounced titles). Yet again, multiple free codes were revealed, this time for Game Pass access on PC.
After a cinematic look at The Witch Queen expansion for Destiny 2 (February 2022), we got a teaser for Bokeh Game Studio’s first title.
The studio was founded by Silent Hill creator Keiichiro Toyama, and it seems his penchant for horror will continue with Slitterhead – though the tone seems to be dystopian rather than psychological. Either way, the monsters who can appear human are sure to be horrifying.
After that came the debut of Nightingale from Inflexion Games, made of former Dragon Age developers.
While it looks like an MMO, it’s actually a shared-world survival game where players must work together to find their way home across the broken network of portals in the Lands of Fey, all the while fighting off the land’s monsters. The game hits Early Access PC next year.
We also got our first look at The Lord of the Rings: Gollum. Players will have to scramble around to stay safe, use the environment to take down foes far larger than your scrawny self, and, as Smeagol and Gollum fight internally, ultimately do whatever it takes for their precious.
A long time coming since being announced back in 2018, a new trailer for the Cuphead DLC Delicious Last Course was also revealed. In this new campaign, Cuphead and Mugman will seek to gather the ingredients for a delicious Wonder Tart, taking on a variety of challenging and monstrous bosses that stand between them and the grub.
It’s set to launch June 30th, 2022 for GOG, Steam, Nintendo Switch PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Sonic Frontiers was also revealed, set to launch Holiday 2022 on all consoles and PC. Several old 4chan posts were given new attention in light of the announcement, as the game had been leaked previously under different names, though those anonymous message board posts were alleged to have come from playtesters playing very early builds of the game
The female voice heard in the trailer may be the “ghost girl” from those posts, who is harboring feelings for the blue blur (and in turn, inspiring dread in fans who remember a certain infamous scene from Sonic 06).
According to GameInformer, the open world game will be written Ian Flynn, head writer of both Sonic comics (Archie and IDW). While fans are delighted by this news, others are concerned with the fact that the game will be helmed by Director Morio Kishimoto, who produced the luke-warm-at-best Sonic Forces.
Continuing the oft-made criticism of The Game Awards straying from video games, a movie trailer was shown. This one was for Guillmero Deltoro’s upcoming Nightmare Alley (December 17th), starring Bradley Cooper, Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, Williem Dafoe, Ron Perlman, and more.
Off-topic, sure, but hey – at least Deltoro’s buddy and Death Stranding creator Hideo Kojima introduced it.
Next, we saw the gameplay premiere of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.
Trading in the Arkham series’ stealth and combos for pure action while still being set in the same universe, Rockstead Studios upcoming title tasks players with controlling Harley Quinn, King Shark, Captain Boomerang, and Deadshot.
All they have to do is take on the hordes of Braniac and a brainwashed Justice League.
Forspoken, launching May 24th, 2022, dropped its world premiere trailer.
Featuring the voice talents of Ella Balinska (Charlie’s Angels (2019)) and Janina Gavankar (Star Wars: Battlefront II), the game follows when a young girl who is hurled into a fantasy world and subsequently tasked with saving them from both a mutating blight and a despotic sorceress who over the remnants of civilization.
The game is developed by Square Enix subsidiary and Japanese studio Luminous Productions, who previously helped on Final Fantasy XV.
Chalking up another surprise, Saber Interactive and Focus Home Interactive announced Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine II – another sequel, like Alan Wake II, “over 10 years” in the making.
Featuring a Captain Titu whos is alive, full of righteous fury, and now, played by Clive Standen, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine II will let players squish Genestealers on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S.
Focus Home also gave us the gameplay debut of A Plague Tale: Requiem.
Back to the sci-fi surprises; Funcom and Level Infinite unveiled real time strategy game Dune Spice Wars, a 4x real time strategy headed to Steam Early Access in 2022, and Telltale Games showed off Star Trek Resurgence, which is currently planned to release in Spring 2022.
No one however could have expected the announcement of Among Us VR, coming soon to Steam, PlayStation VR, Meta Quest 2, and any streamer who owns the above.
Epic Games didn’t step too far out of the box with the reveal of developer Iron Galaxy’s battle royale Rumbleverse, as its trailer all but admits its Fortnite but with punching and wrestling.
After being announced four years prior at 2017 The Game Awards, GTFO was revealed to have officially entered Early Access, with developer 10 Chambers announcing the full 1.0 launch right then and there.
Described as an extreme co-op horror game, players must work together to survive and escape the monsters stalking the depths of a terrifying research facility.
The Halo TV series (2022 on Paramount+) got its world premiere teaser trailer, though it seemed more focused on its diverse cast than its iconic main character, Master Chief.
This highly-anticipated debut was followed by the reveal and gameplay premiere or ARC Raiders, a free-to-play co-op shooter about taking down invading robots from space. It’s set to launch 2022 on the Epic Games Store, Steam, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S.
While essentially nothing more than a tech demo, the footage seen in the interactive trailer is produced in real time, showing how the Unreal Engine 5 is pushing for ever higher and realistic graphics on next-gen consoles. It’s available now on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S.
There were also new and recent trailers for previously announced titles, including Tunic, Godfall Challenger Edition, Risk of Rain 2, Tribes of Midgard, Babylon’s Fall, Chivalry II’s upcoming House Aberfell and Christmas update, Lost Ark, Horizon Forbidden West, Somervile, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, Warhammer Vermintide II’s Warrior Priest update, and Tchia.
We also saw new trailers for the Saints Row reboot, Fall Guys [1, 2], Steelrising, Genshin Impact, Metal Hellsinger, Rocket League [1, 2] and Rocket League SideSwipe, Dying Light 2 Stay Human, the launch date of Crossfire X (February 10th on Xbox consoles), Fortnite, Vampire the Masquerade: Blood Hunt, Chorus, Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, Halo Infinite, and Elden Ring.
According to Benji-Sales (a Twitter account dedicated to video game news), the most watched announcements were Star Wars Eclipse (over 6.7 million views), Space Marine 2 (over 2.5 million), and Sonic Frontiers (over 2.2 million), among others. These are based on figures from any re-upload of the trailer that had over 50,000 views.
So what do you think of what was announced? Are The Game Awards straying too far away from being awards, or do film announcements like Nightmare Alley and The Matrix Ressurections truly celebrate gaming? Let us know what you think on social media and in the comments below!