The Game Awards 2021: All the winners, announcements, and new trailers
Tonight, The Game Awards returns for its eighth year. After a virtual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Geoff Keighley’s annual show is resuming normal service in LA’s Microsoft Theater.
This year’s awards show has come under intense scrutiny as the industry grapples with ongoing labor issues. The Game Awards’ advisory board is filled with executives from corporations and console manufacturers including Activision Blizzard, the publisher currently facing ongoing legal action for gender discrimination and workplace harassment.
There are 24 awards for games and 6 for esports and creators that have been voted on by a jury representing 103 global media outlets, as well as a Player’s Voice award—which was announced this morning. The first award of the day went to Halo Infinite. Leading the nominations is Arkane Studios’ Deathloop. It shares a Game of the Year nomination with It Takes Two, Metroid Dread, Psychonauts 2, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, and Resident Evil Village.
You can watch the event livestreamed on YouTube and check back here for updates throughout the night.
What to expect
We already know some of what we’ll see tonight. Gearbox and Blackbird Interactive announced their RTS, Homeworld 3, will premiere, while the Halo live action TV series will get a full trailer. Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the movie not the game, will get a trailer tonight as well. And many are hopeful that Breath of the Wild 2 will make an appearance.
Update: The pre-show starts off strong with a world premiere for Tunic. The cute little game that looks a lot like Link’s Awakening has gotten a few trailers over the past year but now has a release date of March 16th, 2022.
And our first award of the night is The Games for Impact Award, going to Life is Strange: True Colors.
Update: Our host quickly rattled off four awards for the Esports category: Best E-Sports Athlete (Simple), Best Esports Team (Natus Vincere), Best Esports Coach (Kkoma), Best Esports Event (2021 League of Legends World Championship).
And in the past five minutes we’ve gotten more game announcements than we know what to do with: King of Fighters XV, The Expanse, Homeworld 3, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Update: Chivalry II is getting some DLC. The House of Aberfell expansion is due early 2022.
More premiers that are “steaming hot,” apparently: Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak got a sick trailer and a summer 2022 release date. This was previously announced, so I’m not sure what they’re defining as a premiere here. And a very colorful announcement trailer for Thirsty Suitors. It’s getting published by Annapurna Interactive, so you know it’s going to be good. Coming soon.
Update: Evil West has a new gameplay trailer that certainly looks like a generic dark fantasy action rpg. It was followed by a much more stand out trailer for the action platformer Have a Nice Death that definitely looks like King from The Owl House got his own game.
Update: Best Audio Design Award goes to Forza Horizon 5. All the cars do sound very good.
Update: Takesi Furakawa introduces a trailer for a new game he’s scored called Planet of Lana: An Off-Earth Odyssey and 2022 date. Coming to Xbox and Steam.
Update: The final pre-show world premiere is…Persona 4 Arena Ultimax? They were right. I did not expect that. Coming to PS4, Steam, and Switch March 17th.
Update: The pre-show concludes and we transition into the main event with a performance by Sting, accompanied by a live orchestra. I want to know who’s playing that violin.
The Main Show
Update: Geoff is on the stage now. “Game creators need to be supported by the companies that employ them…We should not and will not tolerate any abuse, harassment, and predatory behavior from anyone, including our online communities.” He goes on to encourage individual consumers to vote with their wallet and time. No word on his corporate backers, though.
Update: Giancarlo Esposito is up to announce Best Independent Game. It goes to Kena: Bridge of Spirits. It also wins the indie award for Best Debut.
Update: We have a gameplay reveal for the sequel to Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice from Ninja Theory, which was first shown at the show a couple of years ago. A weathered voice gives a monologue over Senua’s shoulder. Lot of panning through a dark cave and showing off the lighting effects of torches.
Update: That is a big man.
Update: The big man is on fire. This is still a gameplay trailer for the sequel to Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.
Update: After much yelling and fire, the game gets a title card: Hellblade II: Senua’s Saga. It’s coming to Xbox and Game Pass.
Update: That is a Lucasfilm Games logo.
Update: A gorgeous cinematic trailer announces Star Wars Eclipse from Quantic Dream. It will be the first game set in the High Republic era and the Villeneuve’s Dune vibes are off the charts. Check it out here.
Update: The Global Gaming Citizen segment highlights the drag stream community with vague platitudes about how great games are.
Update: Bethesda has a hiring ad and they’re putting hundreds of codes for free games on screen. Good luck.
Update: Amazon’s incredibly generic MMO Lost Ark gets airtime followed by more Amazon ads.
Update: Geoff is excited about this announcement that didn’t leak: Wonder Woman. Logos for DC, Monolith, and Warner Bros. No further details.
Update: Ashley Johnson and Laura Bailey announce the winner for Best Performance. It’s Maggie Robertson, the actress behind Lady Dumitrescu.
Update: Robertson is cut short so we can see another world premiere. And it’s Alan Wake 2. 2023 release date. Wow. Sam Lake, the lead creative, apologizes to Geoff for all the rain they brought to LA.
Update: Sorry, just. Alan Wake 2. Okay.
Update: Lake says Alan Wake 2 will be Remedy’s first survival horror game. Expect an update next summer.
Update: Ben Schwartz is on stage, which means a Song the Hedgehog 2 trailer is up next. First, a video from Jim Carrey (Dr. Robotnik).
Update: Sonic eats a chili dog, Carrey has a bigger mustache, Tails and Knuckles don’t already know Sonic. Is Knuckles a baddie? Release date April 8. Watch the trailer here.
Update: Trailer with some gameplay for Horizon Forbidden West followed by an orchestral performance. No updates.
Update: Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is coming to PC via Epic Games Store Dec. 16.
Update: Xbox Game Pass PC is getting renamed PC Game Pass I guess? Microsoft tried to be self-aware in their ad and it was more confusing than funny. The second ad we’ve seen flashing codes on screen tonight too.
Update: Simu Liu gives the award for Best Action Game to Returnal.
Update: Destiny trailer mixing live action and gameplay footage announces The Witch Queen DLC. Feb. 2022. More Eris Morn please.
Update: Keiichiro Toyama and Bokeh Game Studio announce what looks like a spiritual successor to Silent Hill. There’s not title? But a lot of body horror.
Update: That’s followed by a steampunk looking fantasy game that has destructible environments and crafting mechanics and a lot of portals. Extremely Fable vibes. Titled Nightingale from Inflexion Games. Early access next year on PC.
Update: Beat Saber is getting Lady Gaga songs. Out tonight.
Update: Short trailer announcing The Lord of The Rings: Gollum—The Untold Story. No idea what kind of game it is from the trailer. Or where the colon and em dash should go in that title.
Update: I think if you tell Geoff your dream is to premier a game at The Game Awards you’re legally obligated screen time.
Update: Another vague trailer, this time for Somerville—an intense side scrolling something from studio Jumpship.
Update: A musical performance introduces a Cuphead expansion titled D.L.C. Island. Coming June 30.
Update: Sonic Frontiers is coming Holiday 2022.
Update: Hideo Kojima promises to attend the show next year. Tonight, he’s introducing a trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley.
Update: And Guillermo del Toro appears to announce that the award for Best Art Direction goes to Deathloop.
Update: Content Creator of the Year goes to Dream. It Takes Two gets best multiplayer game (they did not give Josef the mic this year). Genshin Impact takes Best Mobile Game.
Update: Reporting on The Game Awards is like playing a horror game and the World Premiere’s scattered amongst ads are the jump scares. Anyways, Warhammer Vermintide II: Warrior Priest is out now on PC and Xbox and coming to PS4 in January. I legitimately do not know if this is a new announcement anymore.
Update: Ming-Na Wen from The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett announces Best Narrative award. It goes to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
Update: We got a premiere for Tchia, a cozy little Pacific island adventure coming to PS4, PS5, and the Epic Game Store next spring.
Update: Rocksteady’s Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League gets stage time by hacking the show a la Cyberpunk 2077 at E3 some years ago. Ominous. Watch the trailer here.
And again, this is just a new trailer for an already announced title. Really stretching the meaning of premiere here, Geoff.
Update: Ella Ballinska and Pollyana McIntosh present a new trailer for Forespoken.
Update: We have another Warhammer “premiere,” this time for Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine II. (It will be on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC. (This one is definitely a new announcement.)
Update: Geoff needs to work on his transitions. Now we’re looking at a trailer for Saints Row. Releasing Aug. 23, 2022 on Xbox PS4, PS5, And Epic Games Store.
Update: Paul George announces the Best Action Adventure Game is Metroid Dread.
Update: Hey remember my Dune Joke from an hour ago? Well, Dune game. Dune Spice Wars. Early access next year.
Update: Ashley Birch and Will Arnett are talking about Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands from Gearbox. Out March 2022 on PC and Xbox and PS4 and PS5.
Update: Did we need that much Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands? No. That was a bathroom break for all of us covering this.
Update: Among Us teases VR.
Update: How many tries do you think it took Geoff to say XXXTentacion right during the rehearsal?
Update: Very here for the Edwardian-era take on steampunk in Steelrising, out next June on Xbox, PS5, and PC.
Update: Metal: Hellsinger, the metal themed rhythm-based shooter, is out next year on PC.
Update: A Tell-Tale looking Star Trek game, Star Trek Resurgence, is out next spring. Check out the trailer here.
Update: Reggie presents the award for Best Ongoing Game to Final Fantasy XIV. It also wins Best Community Support. All of these seem objectively true.
Update: A Plague Tale: Requiem gets a gameplay trailer. Coming next year to everything it looks like.
Update: Dying Light 2: Stay Human gets a new cinematic trailer. Feb. 4.
Update: CrossfireX trailer has some Bad Company vibes and a release date. Feb. 10 on Xbox.
Update: Still want to spell it Fortnight.
Update: Here is a trailer for Bloodhunt. PS5 and PC next spring. Free to play.
Update: Imagine Dragons is performing with Supergiant’s singer-songwriters Darren Korb and Ashley Barrett. We somehow went from “Build the Wall” to “Enemy” to a mash up of the two songs. Geoff could learn something about smooth transitions from them.
Update: Morgan Baker and Jacksepticeye announce the Innovation in Accessibility award goes to Forza Horizon 5. It also wins Best Sports/Racing Game.
Update: GTFO launches out of early access now. Like right now.
Update: Here it is. The trailer for the live-action Halo series on Paramount Plus next year. We got a glimpse of the chief. Watch it here.
Update: Best Game Direction award goes to Deathloop.
Update: Another flurry of awards: Best Esports Game (League of Legends), Family Game (It Takes Two), Best Fighting Game (Guilty Gear Strive), Best Sim/Strategy (Age of Empires 4, Best VR (Resident Evil 4 VR), Most Anticipated game (Elden Ring for the second year in a row).
Update: A new Elden Ring trailer features a woman talking quietly about the world’s overly complicated history over cinematics that looks like Berserk meets Lord of the Rings, and I am very here for it. Feb. 25.
Update: Ad break. Brb.
Update: Arc Raiders looks cool. It’s out next year on PS5, Xbox, and PC.
Update: The Matrix guys are here. They shout out Unreal Engine 5 and show a new clip of the upcoming Matrix Resurrections.
Update: Geoff and Keanu are on a first name basis.
Update: The Matrix guys present the final world premiere, The Matrix Awakens, showing off what a lot of money can do in Unreal Engine 5. On PS5 and Xbox Series X/S right now.
Update: Neil Druckman of Naughty Dog is on stage, just in case you still thought Geoff was actually serious about his zero-tolerance policy on abuse towards devs. Naughty Dog is infamous for crunching devs, but it did win Druckman last year’s GOTY award.
Update: It needs to be acknowledged that The Game Awards Orchestra slaps.
Update: It Takes Two is the game of the year.
Update: Josef has the mic.
Update: An incredibly tame speech from Josef ends the show. I can now say this story is no longer developing.