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An Interview With Geoff Keighley About The Game Awards 2021 And The Game He’d Love To See Announced

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Final yr’s The Recreation Awards present was the most important but when it comes to viewership. Rising greater than 84 % year-over-year to the tune of a staggering 83 million livestream views, The Recreation Awards has grow to be one of many online game business’s largest occasions. However we aren’t simply tuning in to search out out which title will probably be topped Recreation of the Yr; we’re additionally there for the World Premieres, which shine the highlight on new video games we’ll be enjoying within the years forward. Some publishers save their largest surprises for The Recreation Awards, a present that nearly didn’t exist.

For a decade, Keighley was the producer and host of Spike TV’s Video Recreation Awards, a present that began robust within the early 2000s, however fizzled out in 2013 attributable to poor viewership numbers and criticism over the present’s format. For the 2014 present, Spike wasn’t going to broadcast it on TV, opting as a substitute to stream it on-line. Keighley didn’t agree with Spike’s path and dropped out of the presentation. For unknown causes on high of Keighley’s departure, Spike canceled that yr’s occasion within the eleventh hour. That didn’t cease Keighley from having an awards present that yr. He labored with publishers to fund a brand new present merely titled The Recreation Awards. Given the diminishing returns of Spike’s present, he didn’t know if this new program would draw folks in. That yr’s livestream netted almost two million views – a good quantity – however the true victory was the format and tone of the present. This was the format folks had been clearly searching for. In every following yr, The Recreation Awards’ viewership has doubled and is now one of many highest considered packages of any leisure medium.

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In October, I caught up with Keighley as he was finalizing plans for this yr’s present. He as soon as once more serves the twin duties of producer and host. He has at all times been open in regards to the ups and downs of The Recreation Awards, and at all times appears relaxed, regardless of how shut the present is to airing. This yr, he tells me he has too many World Premiere reveals and feels horrible turning publishers down.

The Recreation Awards grew from 45 million viewers to an unfathomable 80 million in a single yr. Given we had been sheltering in place in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, are you able to converse to how the expansion was probably tied to that?
I’m nonetheless amazed we had been capable of do the present final yr. That occurred proper when the second lockdown was simply beginning. We had been in Los Angeles, and within the days main into the present, we had been not sure what was going to occur. We had a satellite tv for pc truck parked exterior my home simply in case I must broadcast the present from residence. We had this set we had been constructing on daily basis and had been nervous [the show] would get canceled if the federal government was going to close down the town. [The pandemic] was getting more and more worse, virtually on daily basis as we led as much as the present. I didn’t imagine the present was occurring till the day earlier than. I used to be like, “I suppose we’re actually going to get an opportunity to do it.”

It was actually difficult to tug it collectively and do issues over Zoom and work out how you can do it safely with our group with all of the testing and every part round it. The victory was simply attending to do the present. I used to be type of depressed for months pondering that we weren’t going to have the ability to do it. The truth that it really did so nicely was unimaginable. Seeing it develop was actually heartwarming.

There are at all times two sides to the coin, although. Success on one, and on the opposite, the strain for this yr. Can we continue to grow? We by no means take into consideration the viewers numbers. We don’t sit round and plot a method to get one other 10 million viewers. We simply concentrate on making an superior present for the group.

For security issues, the pandemic continues to throw kinks into reside occasions. At this cut-off date, you’re planning on returning to an in-person format with an viewers. Does it really feel like enterprise as ordinary, or are you planning on having that satellite tv for pc truck in ready once more?
The large distinction this yr is now we have vaccines. We had a yr of studying the method round how you can do this stuff. We determined fairly early that we’re going to return to the Microsoft Theater, and we’re going to construct our set and have our orchestra there. There are plenty of protocols and prices about, like, doing a present like this, and the testing and every part concerned in doing it. We’re planning on doing a full-scale present on the theater. This will probably be our largest set but. It’s our largest manufacturing. We’re going full tilt with the total expertise, however conserving security in thoughts. We do have contingency plans if there may be one other variant or points pop up. How can we pivot and type of do one thing totally different?

We’re doing a standard present with some capability restrictions on the viewers and another necessities. We now have to see if persons are snug touring, together with internationally. We’re not sure about that. That’s everybody’s private determination. I’m excited to be again in a venue. A lot of the recreation corporations, once we discuss to them this yr, all of them like the thought of lastly having the ability to get again to doing one thing in individual. I’m honored that we’re type of the primary occasion that’s going to do one thing with folks gathering in a secure and managed method.

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Given final yr’s success, I’ve a sense each writer and developer is leaping on the probability to be part of the present.
Typically, persons are actually constructive on eager to be part of the present. And I see a few of that’s bodily presence, however so much wish to contribute content material. One of many biggest issues final yr, was in the course of a pandemic, all these builders had been capable of make superior trailers and provides us content material to place within the present. When it comes to issues to be introduced on the present, now we have extra video games this yr than ever earlier than. We’re in a pleasant place that individuals wish to be part of the present. And , it’s an award present, however more and more, I feel extra we wish to use it as a car to type of share information on video games. In order that’s this type of inside steadiness that we’re placing.

The opposite factor that’s within the background is there’s plenty of these streaming exhibits and films primarily based on video games. We’re attempting to determine how you can navigate a few of that, like The Witcher and the Cuphead exhibits, in addition to the Uncharted film. That is the primary yr we’re attempting to navigate how you can embrace a few of that stuff. They’re primarily based on video games, however not really video games.

You stated you may have extra reveals than ever. What can we count on from them?
As at all times, we attempt to steadiness issues between brand-new video games to updates on video games that individuals actually care about. There are additionally live-service video games that would have content material dropping the night time of the present. This yr, now we have plenty of stuff being introduced for the primary time on the present, which is thrilling. I really feel like subsequent era has began however it hasn’t actually in a method. And I don’t imply that to disparage any current video games, however there’s [new stuff] coming down the pipe from first- and third-parties. The set up bases of the present consoles have restricted how a lot stuff is popping out. I imagine 2022 is when the jets actually get turned on. We’ll have a pair issues in our present that I feel are going to be actually next-gen. Experiences that I feel will excite folks in regards to the future and the place video games go. And I’m not simply saying simply first-party video games. There are technical showpieces that I’m enthusiastic about. After which we even have a steadiness between large franchises with small builders, and smaller groups are doing actually fascinating issues. It’s a consistently shifting goal. I’ve stated this earlier than, however some issues drop out the week earlier than the present, and there are additionally new issues that present up on my doorstep every week earlier than the present.

I at all times inform the story of Within the Valley of the Gods from Campo Santo, the studio with Valve now. They got here to me two weeks earlier than the present. I’m like, “That is wonderful. The place was this trailer three months in the past?” Folks suppose [the show] is all plotted out nicely upfront. Typically it’s, however oftentimes issues are simply shifting. I really feel fairly assured that now we have a extremely good lineup that’s going to excite folks. I’ve additionally realized that you must handle expectations as a result of everybody has a special recreation of their thoughts’s eye.

I feel subsequent yr goes to be actually thrilling for video games total. There’s a lot content material popping out.

The 2020 present needed to make many lodging for the continuing pandemic; Innersloth celebrates Amongst Us profitable Finest Multiplayer Recreation from a distant location

Determining the place the reveals go must be an enormous jigsaw puzzle. Have you ever discovered what the primary and final reveal will probably be? They at all times appear to be two of the large ones.
Good query. I feel I type of know the very last thing, which goes to be actually cool. And the very first thing, I feel I do know, however it may shift round a little bit bit. The positioning of issues within the present is at all times fascinating. Some corporations are very particular about the place they wish to be within the present. I truthfully don’t make these calls till most likely a few month earlier than the present once we actually see every part that is available in. The minute I say sure to one thing, one thing else may present up. We maintain it fluid. We positively have a superb sense of the stuff that’s early and late within the present. After which there’s a bunch of cool stuff in the course of it as nicely. We wish to shock folks with stuff they aren’t anticipating.

Any new awards this yr?
We don’t have any new awards. The accessibility award will probably be again this yr. We’ve been toying with a pair classes that I feel we’ll add sooner or later. We’re not fairly there but, although. I feel finally we’d do an award for greatest adaptation with all these streaming exhibits, films, comedian books, and different issues popping out. I feel there’s one thing fascinating there. There’s simply not sufficient but. I feel within the subsequent couple of years, that’ll be one thing. And we’re additionally pondering a little bit bit about user-generated content material being made in video games like Fortnite, Core, and Roblox. Once more, I don’t suppose we’re fairly there but, however that’s one which I feel is on the radar for the longer term. This yr, it’s just about the identical.

Geoff Keighley has been the host and govt producer for The Recreation Awards since its inception in 2014

You talked about you’re constructing the most important set but. I can’t even wrap my mind round what it may very well be. You have already got large statues on it, one of many largest screens on the market, and a whole orchestra. What’s the area for?
We simply maintain including extra yearly. We now have a extremely cool video flooring that we’re doing that’s type of a video display screen. It’s actually fascinating. We haven’t revealed a number of the musical company, however we’ve obtained wonderful, enormous names doing that. Yearly I feel we’re slowly constructing this present into what I hope is the most important award present in leisure, which simply occurs to be about video games. We’re cautious this yr clearly due to Covid, however that has not stopped us. I feel you’ll see it’s positively our most formidable set. We’re upping the size and scope. It’s a little bit little bit of a harmful recreation to play, however yeah, we wish to maintain constructing, create extra of a spectacle.

How restricted will capability be?
It is going to quantity within the hundreds, however it’s not going to be a full home. We’re simply attempting to regulate the numbers a little bit bit.

Latest years have seen elevated concerned from Hollywood expertise. John David Washington (Tenet) offered final yr’s Finest Narrative class

You highlighted one thing lots of people are feeling about PlayStation 5 and Xbox Sequence X: a scarcity of video games which are constructed only for these machines. What are your ideas on next-gen gaming up to now?
I discussed earlier that I feel next-gen has began, however we haven’t actually seen a ton of showcases, proper? I’d say Forza Horizon 5 is actually spectacular. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Aside is a cool showcase, and I like the DualSense – that controller simply provides folks a lot alternative to think about the place video games are going to go. We haven’t seen plenty of new next-gen IP but. Returnal might be the very best instance of that up to now.

These techniques are so highly effective, and there’s a lot alternative there, however this has been a tough yr for builders to make these video games whereas working from residence. Lots of stuff has been delayed. I’ve video games that we had been going to announce final yr at The Recreation Awards, and we’re most likely going to announce this yr. They had been delayed no less than a full yr. Some folks misplaced a yr or two in growth. There are plenty of delays which have affected next-gen and that pipeline of content material. It was nonetheless a superb yr, however I feel subsequent yr and past are going to be thrilling. The factor that I feel has occurred with plenty of these next-gen containers is folks purchase them but play their previous video games on them. They give the impression of being higher, proper? It’s a greater high quality of life. The connect charge with these new techniques has not been nice, partially due to the Recreation Cross factor, but in addition to play Warzone or Fortnite or stuff they have already got. Despite the fact that persons are shopping for the techniques, they don’t have these true next-gen showcase titles to play. They’re coming. These are those which were delayed. Efficiency seize is actually arduous to do in the course of Covid. All of those story video games that we love take plenty of time to make.

Of any recreation that hasn’t been introduced, what’s one recreation franchise that you just wish to see come again? What would you like to have as a World Premiere?
I’d like to see BioShock come again. I’ve missed that franchise so much. Infinite, I nonetheless consider. I miss that franchise. An superior new BioShock can be hype. I’m additionally a Valve fan, so something Valve-related can be enjoyable to see. Top-of-the-line video games I performed prior to now yr was Crash Bandicoot 4. That was an superior recreation. I wouldn’t thoughts seeing a few of these basic franchises come again in a brand new method, like a brand new Jak & Daxter.


The Recreation Awards will probably be held on December 9, reside from Los Angeles’ Microsoft theater. It is going to broadcast around the globe and might be considered from numerous streaming providers like YouTube and Twitch.

This text initially appeared in Problem 341 of Recreation Informer.



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