Daily Reaction: The VGAs – What We Know, What We Think, What We Want

December 6, 2012Written by Sebastian Moss

The annual Spike TV Video Game Awards show is happening tomorrow, but if you plan on watching it, it’s probably not because of the awards, but rather because of the reveals. With our ears eagerly listening for insider whispers, the Daily Reaction crew of Seb and Dan discuss these reveals.

Seb: A lot of people bash the Video Game Awards, and don’t worry, I’m going to do that presently, but first I have to congratulate them on finally streaming the show worldwide live. I can actually watch the bloody thing live.

Ok, now that the pleasantries are out of the way, it’s time to state the obvious – So far, the VGAs have been a series of horrible shows filled with clueless celebs, punchlines that we wouldn’t even say on Bad Gamers and copious product placement. As the closest thing the industry currently has to the Oscars, its immaturity and general cheesiness perpetuates the ‘13yr old CoD gamer’ stereotype that many view gamers as fitting into.

But, honestly, I don’t mind that much, I just zone out and wait for the next reveal. With gamescom, E3 and TGS having passed and most Q4 games out already things could turn rather dull. The VGAs is that little end of the year highlight that gives us a taste of what’s to come the next year.

The big reveals of previous shows include – Skyrim, Uncharted, Batman Arkham City and, of course, The Last of Us. Last year, TLOU blew people away with a reveal worthy of winning E3, let alone a TV show. It introduced a brand new IP from arguably the best dev of the gen, and boy did it look good. Now, they’re teasing it again.

Dan: While the VGAs are not really regarded with as much prestige as expos like E3 or TGS, they do have a great ability to bridge the gap between the core audience, like you the reader, and the general public who wait for gaming news to reach them. With that, sadly the method of breaching into the households of millions of TV watchers is to speak to them in the language they are most familiar with – meaning bright lights and pretty colors. This isn’t in any way to say that the games industry is above senseless shilling, but more that the spectacle doesn’t focus on the products as much as the presentation. Luckily as Seb has said, there are bits of the show that were meant for us the gamer, and that is really the reason to tune in.

The biggest reason by far for most people will be the trailer for The Last of Us, a survival horror styled game made by Naughty Dog, who brought us the Uncharted series. Having proved numerous times this generation to be able to meld action, suspense, and characterization into a single game with high production values, and the idea that they are taking on what seems to be their biggest project yet, is only one of many reasons to be excited.

Not only will we see the latest from Naughty Dog, but we will see my most anticipated game for early 2013, BioShock Infinite. Having seen the depths of Rapture and what it meant to live under the sea in a world of sadistic corruption, the idea that Irrational Games is now set to take us airborne leaves me full of wonderment. While other games have played with the concept of airborne cities, and travel, the way in which Ken Levine and his team seem to transport the player into a living world is almost unparalleled, and will be a shining example of how far we really have come as an industry. Here’s the teaser.

One of the best examples of just how far we have come as an industry will be the debut trailer for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2. Once a side scrolling NES game, now a dark and brooding action adventure that pits you in a cinematic world of monsters. The ability for a game to portray more than suspense, and eye candy, Castlevania should be able to recapture a number of people who played games as kids, and remember the original Belmont and his feud with Dracula. Luckily, this portrayal of evolution is not the only example of progression within the industry, as we will also see just how far one of the most revered female protagonists has fared over the years.

Seb: Yes, exactly, that’s where Tomb Raider comes in. Mrs Uncharted, before Uncharted, and walking DD billboard for all that was wrong with the misogynistic game industry of old (oh how things have changed). Now Lara is back, and the focus is moved away from her chest towards actual gameplay. Previews have been very positive, and by the sounds of it they’ve worked very hard to make it different to Uncharted with far less linearity. The teaser trailer is painfully short and utterly pointless, but I’m still excited to see the full thing.

The Gears of War (omg, Xbox game talk alert) is far more aggressive, but it’ll have to be if they want to convince gamers that Judgment will live up to the series’ reputation with a different developer and no CliffyB.

Another title that needs to prove itself is Obsidian Entertainment’s South Park: The Stick of Truth, which has been confirmed to be shown at the event. Considering the delay, staff layoffs and the impending demise of publisher THQ, it’s vital we see a strong product.

As for the Assassin’s Creed III: The Tyranny of King Washington DLC trailer and Halo 4: Spartan Ops DLC trailer, I can’t say I’m going crazy waiting to find out more about it, I’m already interested in new games.

It’s what’s rumored that is far more titillating. With Bungie having promised Destiny details soon, the time for them to announce the game is running out. Could we finally see the Halo dev’s big sci-fi MMO?

Producer Geoff Keighley also teased that there’s going to be a old-school game coming, although no one knows what it is:

Have an amazing VGA announcement coming together for old-school gaming fans….this one is very special to me personally.

Considering it’s special to him, I’m having a hard time trying to think of classic games that included mountain dew…

As for what I want, I’d love to see what Sony Santa Monica’s big new IP is, but considering they’re also doing GOW: Ascension, I’ll settle for Guerrilla Games’ instead.

Dan: As that we are running out of heritage titles that would have a significant presence as a current gen game, it would be interesting to see what exactly Keighley is talking about. Given that we are reaching an age where PSone games are being considered old-school by some, and era of 8 and 16 bit are mostly picked clean. So it will be an interesting show, and hopefully this isn’t just a bit of fluff to get people excited for Battletoads 2013.

The biggest thing that could be shown at the VGAs are next-gen titles, as we know the consoles are in production, and so are numerous titles, it would be a good place as any to do some unveils on the last gaming event of the year. Luckily, given the recent comments by Keighley on the Major Nelson podcast saying that there will be games shown that will be coming out “far beyond summer of 2013”.

This could only add to the credence that we will see next-gen titles, probably in teaser form, and also sadly without platform information since next-gen has yet to be officially named. As to what I want, I want a goddam Last Guardian release date already.

Luckily though, we only need to wait a day to see the last major industry event of the year, before we all start writing Santa a shopping list for next year.

What do you want? Will you bother tuning in, or just watch the trailers here on PSLS right after? What’s your favorite flavor of Doritos? Let us know in the comments below, or photoshop product placements onto Seb and Dan‘s Twitter pages.

Be sure to email DR ideas, podcast comments and pics of your VeryGoodAss nominations to [email protected]. And check out this DR on how to win Far Cry 3.