On Saturday evening, Spike brought their annual VGA awards online for the first time in its history. The awards, now retitled VGX, was a three hour webcast event exclusively streamed on Viacoms Cable Network websites, Yahoo Screen, Xbox Live and Twitch. The event, which was hosted by Gametrailers own Geoff Keighley and Joel McHale(Community, The Soup) eschewed the traditional large award show format of previous years and instead replaced it with a format of interviews, award presentation, trailer reveals and audience participation, which drew mixed commentary from the audience. However, the evening had its share of highlights and lowlights, both from developers and the talent themselves
– TellTale Games makes two major announcements, The first announced at the beginning of the broadcast was a new Borderlands title, entitled Tales From Borderlands, joinly produced with Dallas Texas based Gearbox Software. The second was for the already rumored Game Of Thrones project in conjunction with HBO. Both titles will be releasing in 2014.
– Tim Schafer of Double Fine Studios revealed new game play from their new Kickstarted-funded project Broken Age and also confirmed that Elijah Wood(The Lord Of The Rings, Wilfred) will voice the lead male character Shay. The game was also revealed to be releasing in two parts. The first half of the story will be out January 2014 whilke the second will be out later in the year.
– Hello Games, developers of the wildfully successful Joe Danger revealed their latest project No Man’s Sky. The title, which is a completely procedural generated space/sci-fi simulator, was the surprise of the evening and elicited many positve comments online during the event. Release date for the game is TBA, but from the current online buzz, it will be worth the wait.
– Bungie revealed an all-new trailer for their next major project Destiny, which looked amazing. In addition, Activison announced prior to the event that the game will be released on September 9th, 2014 for XBOX One and PS4.
-Not to be outdone, Respawn Entertainment/EA also showed new footage from their upcoming title Titanfall, which included two new titan classes: (Ogre and Stryder) and also revealed one of the primary story elements in Harmon Robotics, which is the designer of the robotic titans. The game will be released March 11, 2014 for XBOX One, Xbox 360 and Windows PC will be exclusive to those systems for the lifecycle of the title.
–Remedy(Max Payne, Alan Wake) revealed an all-new trailer from their currently in-development XBOX One title Quantum Break. Currently there is no release date for the title, but from the footage shown it appears to be a genre-changer in both gameplay and storytelling
– Award winners this year were handled differently, as they were picked by the viewers via twitter hashtags. An innovative way to trim down on the acceptance speeches and pomp that other award ceremonies, which kept the show tightly ran and on time.
– Trey Parker and Matt Stone (South Park) presented the award for Game Of The Year to Rockstar North for Grand Theft Auto V. The team present, however, looked a bit dazed in their on-camera acceptance speech and looked even a bit dissapointed in the lack of festivites.
– Nintendo Of Americas Reggie Fils-Amie revealed new game play for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and once again hyped up his companies products. As usual, he came off aloof and unwilling to answer questions head-on concerning future products.
– Loiter Squad’s appearance was one of the oddest moments in live programing. The team, which consists of LA-based hip-hop collective Odd Future members Tyler The Creator, Jasper Dolphin, Taco Bennett, Lionel Boyce, and Earl Sweatshirt, conducted the strangest live standup in modern broadcasting when they not only did not stick to script, but also “tongue in cheek” riffed on the more controversial gameplay of GTAV, which drew laughs at first, but quickly turned to silence.
-The GTAV soundtrack concert at the end of the program was, frankly, a bad idea. Simply put, a live mixup of the soundtrack and on stage rap talent including the aformentioned members of Odd Future as well as A$AP Rocky, The Chain Gang Of 1974 and others, felt like a hipster appreciation party for 20-something white kids mixed with an NWA concert from 1992. While this writer is normally a fan of intellectual indie hip hop music, I could do with a little less n/f-bomb in my lyrics.
-Last, but most certainly not least, the co-hosting duo of Geoff Keighley and Joel McHale felt contrite and forced. Many times throughout the broadcast, we were reminded of how in touch Mr. Keighley was with gaming nerds while Mr. McHale played as the aloof, too cool, middle aged dude-bro comedic sidekick whom made uncomfortible comments all evening. From asking Reggie Fils-Amie his thoughts on the Seahawks to making comments concering a certain brother/sister relationship inclusion in Telltales upcoming Game Of Thrones title, the inclusion of Mr. McHale brought a flashback of his ill-fated hosting duties at the Ubisoft E3 press briefings in 2009 and 2010. Heres hoping Viacom takes the same approach and does not either back for VGX 2014.
For the first year of this new format, there were some parts that felt natural, while others felt forced. As it was hinted in the show by Keighley and McHale, there will be changes for the 2014 event, here is hoping these are taken seriously.
Best Fighting Game Winner: Injustice: Gods Among Us Best
Xbox 360 Game Winner: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Best Voice Actor Winner: Troy Baker as “Joel” – The Last of Us
Best Voice Actor Actress Winner: Ashley Johnson as “Ellie” – The Last of Us Best
Driving Game Winner: Forza Motorsport 5
Best RPG Winner: Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Best Action/Adventure Game Winner: Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag
Best Sports Game Winner: NBA 2K14
Best Mobile Game Winner: Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time
Game of the Year Winner: Grand Theft Auto 5
Best Independent Game Winner: Gone Home
Best Shooter Winner: Bioshock Infinite
Best Character Winner: The Lutece Twins
Studio of the Year Winner: Naughty Dog
Soundtrack of the Year Winner: Grand Theft Auto 5
Best DLC Winner: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Best PlayStation 3 Game Winner: The Last of Us
Best Nintendo Wii U Game Winner: Super Mario 3D World
Best PC Game Winner: Gone Home
Best Handheld Game Winner: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Best Causal Game Winner: Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Best Song in a Game Winner: “Will the Circle be Unbroken” performed by Courtnee Draper and Troy Baker
Most Anticipated Game Winner: Titanfall