I am one of those who will admit at the drop of a hat how much I dislike awards shows, but considering that The Game Awards is more like a parade of game announcements with a few awards thrown in just so they don’t lose the right to the trademark, I try and make an exception each year and tune in. This year I was a bit behind schedule, so I tuned in during what felt like the 9th hour of the show. The best part about this event is that waiting until the day after might be the better option, as I don’t have to sit through the awards and acceptance speeches, and I am not subjected to expectations that I both know and care about all of these “content creators” they slip in between trailers.
That semi-aggressive preamble out of the way, I only saw a few items which caught my eye. These are their stories.
The Expanse: A Telltale Series
Telltale was such a stalwart fixture in the gaming landscape filled with brown and black landscapes, space marines, and Korean elf-women wearing washcloths as battle armor. For all the hype that BioWare gets about air-quote storytelling air-quote and more-air-quotes meaningful choices more-air-quotes, Telltale was really the torchbearer in both regards. Hearing that they were shutting down a few years back was a blow to the industry, but if you’re gonna be a phoenix, using The Expanse as the wind beneath your wings is the most metal option you could possibly employ. Considering the book series has recently ended, and the last season of the TV show has just started, this is exactly the right time for this announcement.
Star Trek: Resurgence
And when it rains, it pours. Refugees from the original Telltale fallout have formed a new studio to keep the hope alive, and holy shit they landed Star Trek. We haven’t had a Star Trek game since…Star Trek Online (no, I am not counting mobile games here). This could have gone the way of Star Wars, focusing on action and shooting and “Souls” or whatever, but they did not and I am happy for it.
So I guess we’re now in the age of Victorian Chic, eh? OK, we can work with this: It’s an under-represented genre maybe because the fashions of the day don’t lend themselves to running and gunning, but for a survivalbox game? The premise sounds a bit like a New World and Crowfall’s gender reveal party, planned and thrown by Icarus: Victorian-era folks have somehow found their way into “The Fae Realm” thanks to what I’m sure is some steampunk device, and have to traverse these increasingly dangerous lands to find the last human settlement of Nightengale at the end of the road. With no concrete details yet, we can only guess that players will be able to harvest and build to survive before being punted to the next zone, lest they die in a gruesome roguelike fashion. I haven’t bought into Icarus yet myself, but I’ve thought about it, so I’m putting this on the wishlist as a maybe better alternative.
I should put this one above Nightengale, as I think I will enjoy it more, and I am sure I can easily corral friends into playing. Remember Defiance? Remember their arkfalls, which would show up on the map and draw dozens of players from around the zone to fight in crazy scripted, multi-staged battles of escalating proportions? I got that vibe from this trailer along with a little bit of Destiny and a little bit of Ubisoft’s open world games. The 80’s-leaning patina with the logo and the odd choice of background music in the trailer throws a bit of a mental curveball for me, but I still found myself on the Steam page for the game, furiously clicking the “Add to Wishlist” button.
Caught My Eye
Horizon: Forbidden West
Horizon is one of the best IPs in years and has been a major tent-pole for Playstation. People love the gameplay, and it looks gorgeous. It’s also one of those games I have tried to play again and again but keep bouncing off of, not because of the game, but because I get distracted. This Holiday, if and when the price on the PC version of Zero Dawn drops to stocking-stuffer levels, I’ll pick it up and try and finally get through it, because I want to move on to Forbidden West.
Homeworld is one of those touchstone games that People of a Certain Age and Proclivity mention when they want to establish their bona fides. I played the original when it was original and enjoyed it a lot despite not being a huge fan of RTS games. I had always thought I wanted to play Homeworld 2, then the remaster, and the Deserts of Kharak, but never did. I’m glad to see Homeworld still pushing on, and Homeworld 3 is a beautiful departure in this age of sprawling, rocky and forested landscapes in games, but I don’t feel the same pull from this one that I once did with the franchise.
Halo: The TV Series
This was not a secret, but DAMN. Halo live action content has been languishing for decades now. Sometimes we get non-standard treatments for a thing, and they don’t quite work out, as we later realize that if they had just waited a few years the outcome might have been different. I think now in the age of Deep Streaming Service Pockets and the release of a new flavor of Halo with Infinite, all excuses for making this live-action series don’t hold up any longer, and I am absolutely here for it.
I’m not entirely sure what’s going on here. Shattered world? Check. Low-poly desaturated graphics? Eh, check, I guess. Bearded dude protagonist? Trite, but OK. But then we get some kind of Horizon: Zero Dawn meets Control-type feelings and I’m somehow interested to learn more.
Dune: Spice Wars
It’s the Decade of Dune, folks! The original RTS, released sans blockbuster raise-to-consciousness, is apparently considered a classic that’s still being modded and played today. Why not strike with the iron is hot to create the Dune Merchandising Universe? We don’t get to see any gameplay here, but it’s stated elsewhere that this is another RTS with 4x elements game so it’s going to be in the same wheelhouse that appeals to current Dune RTS fans.
The Matrix Awakens
I haven’t looked into this beyond this presentation, but apparently The Matrix Awakens is an Unreal 5 tech demo that is only for PS5 and XBSX/S. That means I’m out, so you all have fun with that. Marketing hooooooo!