The Game Awards 2017 are coming in just two weeks, on December 7. The biggest, industry voted video game awards around, they’re always one of the glitziest ways to look back and pay tribute to a year of gaming well done. But they’re also important for an even bigger reason. Hot, hot reveals and delicious trailers.
Since their start in 2017, The Game Awards have premiered a raft of huge, industry-defining games, and given us deeper looks at even more exciting, previously only glimpsed, projects. This year’s show will be no different. Whether you watch live in the US, or rush to the internet first thing the next morning in the UK and Europe, The Game Awards are going to be a great place to get a fresh, giddy look at the gaming landscape of 2018. So I thought it time to look at the likely appearances, peer between the lines of hype and release schedules, and make a few educated guesses at what we might see. Those guesses, you will very quickly find, are below. Let me know what you’re hyped about, and what you want to see, in the comments.
Death Stranding gameplay
There are a good many reasons to expect this one. Firstly, we’re well, well overdue seeing any evidence of Hideo Kojima’s enigmatic Death Stranding as an actual game, beyond the stark, haunting CG cutscenes we’ve been treated to so far. Obviously the Metal Gear creator has decades of fan and industry goodwill behind him, but at some point he’s going to have to restoke that love with something tangible. And we’re nearing that point now. Death Stranding was, after all, announced 18 months ago, in summer 2016.
In addition to that, Kojima has serious previous with the Game Awards. It’s no secret that he’s good friends with Awards organiser Geoff Keighley, who has rather vocally supported the director over the years. And Kojima’s work has been a highlight of two previous Awards shows, Death Stranding appearing in 2016, and Metal Gear Solid 5 premiering in 2014, and being nominated for four awards and winning two in 2015. And Kojima-bud – and Death Stranding actor – Guillermo Del Toro has recently hinted that he expects to see some gameplay very soon…
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: The Champions’ Ballad
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s final piece of DLC, Champions’ Ballad, is due for release on a currently unconfirmed date in December. The Game Awards will be Nintendo’s last shot to get the expansion out in front of a wide audience beyond its established fanbase. A Zelda-ccentric Nintendo Direct is surely coming soon, but as Breath of the Wild’s last hurrah, Nintendo will likely want to get Champions’ Ballad some serious, showboating exposure in front of the entire industry.
For such a big, Christmas release, we know surprisingly little about Champions’ Ballad, other than that it will be story driven and have a very big focus on Zelda as a character, so the Game Awards would be a great place to give it the big, cinematic, showstopping treatment. Plus, upcoming Nintendo games have made several appearances during previous Game Awards’ trailer sequences, with Breath of the Wild itself being demoed in 2016.
A big Bethesda reveal
Not Elder Scrolls 6. Seriously. That’s not happening for a long time. But there is definitely an argument for something big coming from the House of Skyrim this year. You see there’s a downside to the publisher’s grand, E3 2017 press conference statement that ‘All of this is out this year’. All of Bethesda’s big games are now out, and there’s nothing on the horizon. But Bethesda is not a studio that tends not to have things on the horizon. With a huge clutch of the biggest and best franchises in the industry in its stable – from Scrolls, to Fallout, to Doom, to Dishonored, to Prey, to Quake, to Wolfenstein – it is surely gearing up for its next phase of hype.
At the narrow end of the wedge then, there’s at least the chance of another showing and release date for currently undated, 2017 launch of Quake Champions. Some Prey DLC is quite possible as well. At the super-optimistic end of the scale though? Well Doom 2 is surely in production, and even just a logo and shotgun cocking animation would make this year’s Game Awards explode, while also instantly putting all eyes on Bethesda and Id for E3 2018. And while the Elder Scrolls 6 isn’t happening any time soon, we also know that part of the reason for that is that the ES and Fallout studio wants to branch out into other creative projects. And there is the matter of that mysterious, space-based RPG…
After its vague but fan-pleasing appearance at Microsoft’s E3 2017 press conference, EA and BioWare’s Destiny-like, social, co-op, power-suit shooter-cum-RPG is now poised for a proper reveal. Set for launch in 2018, Anthem will need to make a second splash soon if it’s to dominate the gaming conversation next year. And let’s face it, after the furore around EA’s other big current shooter, Star Wars Battlefront 2, the publisher could do with an exciting – and nicely distracting – PR win.
With Destiny 2 now out, and its first big expansion, Curse of Osiris, due out a couple of days before the Game Awards on December 5, the shooter landscape of 2018 is now wide open for the taking. Being a major, potentially “10 year” investment for EA and BioWare, Anthem would do very well to throw a flag into that earth very quickly, and the Game Awards would be the perfect place to do that.
LawBreakers: Season 2
Okay, this one is a long shot. ****, LawBreakers: Season 2 isn’t actually a thing that really exists. And the chances are that unless you’re part of the game’s small but dedicated community, you’ve probably already forgotten that LawBreakers even exists. But a relaunch of the game early next year actually makes a great deal of sense, to the point of becoming a favourite hunch of mine.
One of the best pure FPS of 2017, the class-based, multiplayer shooter is a riot of smart character design, puristic, arena-shooting control, and creative yet incredibly accessible abilities. Although scuppered by an unfortunate release window that saw it put out into the No Man’s Land just before the big autumn gear-up (and just weeks before Destiny 2), LawBreakers studio Boss Key Productions has since worked itself silly on upgrading and evolving the game with a community-minded dedication all too rarely seen. The next logical step would seem to be an official relaunch to get the word out beyond LawBreakers’ current community. Having been shown off pre-release at the Game Awards 2016, this year’s show would be a perfect platform to promote a second phase, ideally starting in the quiet spring period of 2018.
A super outside-bet, this one, particularly given the game’s so-far five year gestation and total lack of launch date. But the upcoming, futuristic RPG from Witcher studio CD Projeckt Red is getting closer to release (well, a rumoured 2019 launch, anyway), which means that we’re getting close to that key, 18-month hype period. There’s been no official word from the developer, but it has recently hired a fair number of staff, which implies that production on the game is ramping up.
So, while knowledge of Cyberpunk 2077 has been kicking around for a long time, underpinned so far only by an official announcement and single CG trailer, now would be the time to make an official re-announcement, and get the early, ‘proper’ pre-publicity rolling. Um, if that makes sense. ****, we’ve had an amazing Blade Runner sequel this year. There will never be a better cultural springboard to launch Cyberpunk 2077 from, nor an easier way to guarantee a boatload of cross-media coverage linking the game to the movie in a lazy but deeply effective way.