2020 Sport Awards: Nintendo reveals new Smash character; ‘Among Us’ debuts a brand new map; and extra

Mario comes out second greatest in a struggle towards Sephiroth, the antagonist of landmark JRPG Ultimate Fantasy VII. (Twitch screenshot)

This yr’s Sport Awards passed off Thursday as a socially-distant occasion, with hosts Geoff Keighley and Sydnee Goodman presiding over a night of bulletins, teasers, trailers, and sometimes, even the presentation of an award. World premieres got here by the dozen, with Nintendo unveiling a brand new fighter for Tremendous Smash Bros. Final, information of a return to Microsoft’s long-dormant Excellent Darkish collection, a Vin Diesel-fronted sequel to the favored dinosaur recreation Ark: Survival Advanced, and extra.

Very similar to the Tremendous Bowl, the true cause to look at the Sport Awards has historically been to see the bulletins and world premieres. This yr, with out dwell speeches or a studio viewers, these bulletins felt like they took up roughly three-fourths of the present.

The Sport Awards information deluge started with what was possibly essentially the most anticipated announcement of the night, the debut of the subsequent downloadable character for Nintendo’s Tremendous Smash Bros. Final. To the shock of the Smash group, the brand new fighter is Sephiroth, the villain of the traditional PlayStation RPG Ultimate Fantasy VII. A specific shot within the trailer, with Sephiroth briefly trying as if he’d impaled Nintendo mascot Mario on his trademark odachi sword, immediately went viral on social media.

That is uncommon in that till now, third-party friends in Smash have been sometimes restricted to at least one distinctive character per franchise. (This doesn’t depend “echo fighters” like Ryu and Ken, who play nearly the identical as each other.) Sephiroth is the second Ultimate Fantasy VII character to hit the Smash roster after FFVII‘s protagonist Cloud Strife.

One other shock got here courtesy of Microsoft, which aired a world premiere trailer for a reboot of the long-dormant first-person shooter Excellent Darkish. Deliberate as the primary recreation from Santa Monica-based Microsoft studio The Initiative, the sport was described in a subsequent Xbox Wire post by Initiative studio head Darrell Gallagher as “a secret agent thriller set in a near-future world.” The final recreation within the collection, 2005’s Excellent Darkish Zero, was a launch title for the Xbox 360 by the British developer Uncommon.

Different Pacific Northwest-related reveals at this yr’s Sport Awards included:

  • Fullbright, the Portland, Ore.-based indie studio that created Gone House and Tacoma, launched the primary trailer for its subsequent recreation. Known as Open Roads, it’s the story of a younger lady (Kaitlyn Dever, Booksmart) who embarks on a protracted automobile journey along with her mom (Keri Russell, The Rise of Skywalker) to get some solutions about her late grandmother’s mysterious double life. Open Roads reportedly options interactive dialogue, in a primary for the corporate, along with the slowly constructing narrative exploration that has been Fullbright’s inventory in commerce up to now.
  • Studio Wildcard, in Kirkland, Wash., launched a cinematic trailer for what turned out to be Ark II, a sequel to its hit 2017 dinosaur-riding simulator/survival recreation. The trailer starred a motion-captured Vin Diesel, as a prehistoric (or presumably post-apocalyptic) tribesman defending his daughter from each hostile dinosaurs and enemy warriors. Nothing else about Ark II was truly proven, however Diesel has a surprisingly robust observe file in video video games; he starred in 2004’s Escape from Butcher Bay, an entry in his Riddick darkish science-fiction collection, which was well-known within the 2000s for being a film tie-in recreation that wasn’t a roaring trash fireplace.
  • Diesel can also be lending his voice to Ark: The Animated Collection, a 2022 TV present set on the planet of the collection, alongside a weirdly high-powered forged that features Gerard Butler, Elliot Web page, Russell Crowe, and Michelle Yeoh.
  • Midwinter, a Seattle-based studio made up of veterans from the Halo franchise, introduced that it had formally begun a closed beta on PC for its debut title Scavengers. In a post-nuclear-winter future, small groups of gamers descend to the frozen backwoods of a depopulated Earth to seek for much-needed provides, competing with each one another and the hostile mutants that now management the floor.
  • The Grasp Chief from Halo is joining the world of Fortnite as a purchasable character pores and skin, permitting gamers to decorate up in his trademark SPARTAN-II armor. The traditional Halo multiplayer stage Blood Gulch, which can also be recognized for being the setting for the landmark “machinima” collection Purple vs. Blue, will even be made accessible as a playable map in Fortnite’s Artistic Mode as of 10 a.m. PT on Dec. 11. Fortnite‘s current weird streak of including every media property that isn’t nailed to the ground will proceed even additional on Dec. 16, with the addition of character costumes based mostly on Daryl Dixon and Michonne from AMC’s The Strolling Useless.
  • Turtle Rock Studios, the California-based builders behind the unique Left 4 Useless, showcased each a cinematic trailer and a pattern of gameplay for its new non secular sequel, Again 4 Blood. It is a kind of non secular sequel to Left 4 Useless, which Turtle Rock revealed by Valve Software program in 2008. It’s a four-player survival horror recreation that pits a workforce of survivors towards armies of the undead, which incorporates extra and larger particular zombies to threaten your crew. An alpha take a look at begins for the sport subsequent week, and Turtle Rock has focused a June of 2021 launch date.

Different video games that debuted on Thursday evening included Evil Useless: The Sport, a co-op horror/motion recreation starring Bruce Campbell that pits as much as 4 gamers towards malevolent Deadites; a brand new horror recreation from the workforce behind the defunct Useless House collection, referred to as The Callisto Protocol; and Evil West, which guarantees gamers the prospect to punch mutants as a steampunk cowboy.

In an evening that was heavy on violence, Sony launched a gameplay trailer for a brand new, non-violent recreation of exploration from the indie developer Scavengers Studio. Called Season, the sport is slated to premiere on the PlayStation 5 and PC. You play as a younger lady who used to dwell in an remoted village, however after an unspecified calamity, units out on her bicycle to doc as a lot of the world as she will be able to earlier than it’s washed away.

Keanu Reeves presents the 2020 Sport Award for Finest Director, which went to The Final of Us Half II. He reportedly stays breathtaking. (Twitch screenshot)

Nevertheless, the most important announcement at this yr’s Sport Awards, as soon as it turned moderately apparent that TLOU2 was operating away with all of the precise trophies, was the ultimate world premiere of the evening. In a brief animated trailer, Digital Arts and BioWare promised a long-awaited new recreation within the core Mass Impact collection. At time of writing, we don’t have a lot as a title for it but; the trailer merely ended with the phrase “Mass Impact will return.”

After the formidable however flawed reboot Andromeda in 2017, the Mass Impact collection — a landmark collection of science fiction action-RPGs that have been well-known for robust writing and interactive narratives — was typically assumed by followers to be lifeless within the water. The brand new trailer seems to vow a return to the unique trilogy’s continuity, with an look by collection mainstay and alien love curiosity Liara, which is just about all of the Mass Impact group wished for Christmas this yr.

It’s not an unmixed blessing, although. The brand new Mass Impact trailer can also be coming one week after two high-profile departures from Mass Impact developer BioWare, together with the unique trilogy’s artistic director (and ex-Microsoft worker) Casey Hudson. No matter optimism a fan has at this level ought to most likely be guarded and very conditional. BioWare additionally debuted the trailer for a brand new Dragon Age recreation, in a lot the identical spirit of Mass Impact; no gameplay was proven, and all followers received was a glimpse of the favored character Zevran.

Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam performs “Better Days” dwell from Seattle on the 2020 Sport Awards. (Twitch screenshot)

It felt a bit just like the Sport Awards ended up because the final port of name for a full yr’s price of gaming information, after a lot of the main occasions on the business calendar have been canceled as a result of COVID-19. The precise Awards themselves usually got here off like an afterthought this yr, with many classes’ displays coming all the way down to Keighley shortly studying them off a listing, presumably to make time to cram in much more hype for 2021’s gaming calendar.

Whereas this yr’s present lacked a few of previous years’ pageantry, it made up a number of the distinction with a star-studded efficiency. Presenters included actors Brie Larson, Tom Holland, Keanu Reeves, Tom Holland, and Gal Gadot; former Nintendo of America govt Reggie Fils-Aimé; voice actors Troy Baker and Nolan North; and movie director Christopher Nolan, who launched the presentation for Sport of the Yr.

This yr’s Sport Awards featured a handful of musical numbers, each throughout the pre-show and the primary broadcast. The London Philharmonic Orchestra contributed a pre-recorded broadcast, in celebration of the 35th anniversary of Nintendo’s landmark 1985 recreation Tremendous Mario Bros., the place it carried out a medley of well-known items of stage music from all through the historical past of the Mario franchise. The Philharmonic returned later within the evening to play an accompanying piece to the Sport of the Yr award, made up of music from all of this yr’s nominees.

Eddie Vedder, of all folks, additionally made a shock look, by way of video name from Seattle, to play an acoustic model of the Pearl Jam music “Better Days,” off the 2013 album Lightning Bolt. “Better Days” seems as a part of the soundtrack for Sony’s stealth/motion recreation The Final of Us Half II, as a part of an emotional second the place the sport’s protagonist Ellie and her foster father play a canopy model of it collectively. Talking after his efficiency, Vedder stated, “I really appreciate how [the song] was used.”

The truth is, this yr’s Sport Awards roughly belonged to The Final of Us Half II. A bloody revenge drama set largely in a post-apocalyptic Pacific Northwest, TLOU2 swept nearly each award it was up for, together with Sport of the Yr, Finest Sport Route, Finest Narrative, Finest Audio Design, Finest Efficiency (for Laura Bailey), the brand new class Innovation in Accessibility, and Finest Motion/Journey Sport.

Ghost of Tsushima, by comparability, solely collected one award, for Finest Artwork Route. Developed in Bellevue, Wash. by Sony-owned studio Sucker Punch, Ghost was nominated for seven awards this yr and misplaced six of them, all of which have been to fellow first-party PlayStation 4 unique TLOU2.

The InnerSloth workforce accepts the 2020 Sport Award for Finest Multiplayer by way of distant video name. Left to proper: Marcus Bromander, Forest Willard, Amy Liu. On the smartphone: Victoria Tran. (Twitch screenshot)

InnerSloth’s 2020 success story Amongst Us received happier information, profitable awards for Finest Cellular Sport and Finest Multiplayer. The InnerSloth workforce accepted the awards by way of a Zoom name from their residence base in Redmond, Wash., with artist Amy Liu delivering their acceptance speeches for the workforce. Current rent Victoria Tran, InnerSloth’s Vancouver-based group director for Amongst Us, was additionally in on the decision by way of a smartphone held as much as the digicam.

 

As promised some time again, Amongst Us additionally introduced its latest map throughout the recreation. Known as the Airship, it trades within the spacefaring aesthetic of the opposite accessible backgrounds for extra of a 19th century zeppelin really feel. It’s slated to be launched early subsequent yr.

Amongst Us‘s new map, the Airship. (Twitch screenshot)

Different awards for the Pacific Northwest growth scene got to Valve Software program’s Half-Life: Alyx, which picked up Finest VR/AR Sport; the Xbox Sport Studios-published journey recreation Inform Me Why, which took residence the Video games for Influence trophy; and the latest version of Microsoft Flight Simulator, which received Finest Sim/Technique Sport. Microsoft additionally introduced by way of a brief trailer that Flight Simulator will premiere on the Xbox Collection X|S in the summertime of 2021.

The Sport Awards have been operating since 2014, which payments itself because the “biggest night in video games.” Based by Geoff Keighley to exchange the defunct Spike Video Sport Awards present, the Sport Awards selects its nominees every year by assembling a global jury of worldwide media and “influencer” shops. The winners in every class are then chosen based mostly upon a 90/10 break up of votes from that jury, by way of confidential poll, and votes submitted by followers.

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