The Game Awards celebrated the technical and artistic achievements of the video game industry Thursday night, ending with the naming of role-playing adventure Baldur’s Gate 3 as the best game of the year.
This was the crowning achievement for a game based on Dungeons & Dragons that had remained largely under the radar during its six years of development by Belgian company Larian Studios. But its summer release — 23 years after its predecessor — captured the interest of players, who celebrated a strong character creator, a deep narrative and branching paths that made it seem as if anything was possible in its fantasy world filled with vampires and elves.
Baldur’s Gate 3, available on PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series
The awards ceremony in Los Angeles also served as a long commercial for upcoming games, many of which had never been announced before.
These titles included Big Walk, from House House, the developers behind the quirky Untitled Goose Game; reboots of Sega classics, including Crazy Taxi and Jet Set Radio; An immersive retelling of Jurassic Park; and OD, a new horror title from game designer Hideo Kojima. Skull & Bones, a pirate game from Ubisoft that has been delayed for years, has gotten another release date: February 16th.
Hello Games, the developer behind ambitious planetary explorer No Man’s Sky, has for the first time revealed footage of a new game, Light No Fire, which features open-world versions of Earth that allow for multiplayer exploration.
Hollywood celebrities also made appearances, illustrating how the film and video game industries are becoming more intertwined. Actors Matthew McConaughey, Timothée Chalamet, Simo Liu, and director Jordan Peele – who works with Kojima – appeared on stage to promote the games.
“All I can say is I’m going to have a unique relationship with each player,” McConaughey told fans of the character he’ll be voting for in Exodus, the upcoming sci-fi game from Archetype Entertainment.
The Game Awards were first introduced in 2014, and the winners are decided by a voting jury from the media and input from players. On his official YouTube channel, the Thursday show often approached 900,000 concurrent viewers.
“It’s gradually getting bigger and bigger,” said Alyssa Mercanti, a senior editor at gaming website Kotaku who attended the event. “It’s basically like the Oscars — if the Oscars also had movie trailers.”
Mercanti said the event was a reflection of the successes and struggles of the industry, where men still outnumber women in leadership roles even though some analysts say players are relatively evenly split between genders.
Ahead of the event, members of the Game Awards Future Class – awarded to young professionals in the industry – I signed a letter He asked the concert organizers to comment on the war between Israel and Hamas and “express support for the protection of Palestinian human rights.” Despite the pressure, the conflict was not mentioned.
As the three-hour ceremony came to a close, the mystery horror film Alan Wake 2 won the award for Best Game Direction. It previously won awards for Best Novel and Best Art Direction.
“A trend is nothing without a team that actually builds it,” said Sam Lake, the game’s creator. “Believing in the same vision and building something from it, we can make miracles. We can make art. We can be more than the sum of our parts.”
Below is a partial list of winners:
Game of the Year: Baldur’s Gate 3
Best Game Direction: Alan Wake 2
Best Novel: Alan Wake 2
Best Art Direction: Alan Wake 2
Best Soundtrack and Music: Final Fantasy XVI
Best Sound Design: Hi-Fi Rush
Best Performance: Neil Newbon, Baldur’s Gate 3
Best ongoing game: Cyberpunk 2077
Best Indie Game: Sea of Stars
Best Debut Indie Game: Cocoon
Best mobile game: Honkai: Star Rail
Best VR/AR: Resident Evil Village’s virtual reality mode
Best Action Game: Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon
Best Action/Adventure Game: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Best RPG Game: Baldur’s Gate 3
Best fighting game: Street Fighter 6
Best Family Game: Super Mario Bros. Wonder
Best simulation/strategy game: Pikmin 4
Best Sports/Racing Game: Forza Motorsport
Best Multiplayer Game: Baldur’s Gate 3
Best Adaptation: “The Last of Us”
Player Voice: Baldur’s Gate 3
“Web specialist. Lifelong zombie maven. Coffee ninja. Hipster-friendly analyst.”