The 2020 Game Awards are over. The event — which toasts the video game industry and celebrates the achievements of developers and esports athletes each year, and is usually broadcast from a large event space — took on a new, virtual format this year on account of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. Throughout the length show, upcoming titles, such as new entires in the “Mass Effect” and “Dragon Age” franchises were teased. Updates to existing popular games — including a new map in “Among Us” and the addition of Master Chief and two “Walking Dead” characters to “Fornite” — also made a splash at the show.
Perhaps most importantly, the winners of the titular awards were announced. “The Last of Us Part II” was the winner of the ceremony’s marquee award — Game of the year — while also securing the most wins across the board, picking up seven awards.
If you missed the event, you can watch the entire thing in the embed below, or catch up on our reporters’ perspectives in the live blog below.
The latest game reveals
Every year, publishers share updates and tease upcoming titles at The Game Awards. Elise Favis and Gene Park are watching the event, and highlighting the biggest reveals.
“Mass Effect” is coming back, and The Game Awards gave us our first (very short) glimpse. The first clue was a Mass Effect relay, and then an N7 logo, with snow being brushed off it by Liara, a character fans will recognize from the previous games in the series.
Many of us have been waiting patiently for a remaster of the “Mass Effect” trilogy, and once BioWare finally confirmed that it was indeed in the works, they also confirmed that a new “Mass Effect” game was in development. This looks to be it, and we can’t wait to play. No release date was given, outside of a short message at the end of the teaser that said “Mass Effect will continue.”
Ruined King: A League of Legends Story
Last year, Riot announced that it was expanding the universe of “League of Legends.” “Ruined King: A League of Legends Story” is part of that vision. This story-driven, turn-based RPG arrives in 2021.
Master Chief in Fortnite
Master Chief is coming to “Fortnite.” While “Halo Infinite” was delayed until fall 2021, the protagonist of the influential first-person shooting series is available in the game tonight. “Fortnite” also added the classic Blood Gulch map from the first “Halo” game as a creative mode map. Two characters from “The Walking Dead” TV show were announced as additions to “Fortnite” as well.
A new map for “Among Us,” the incredibly popular multiplayer murder mystery game, was revealed. It takes place on an airship, with new tasks and environments including a kitchen. The map arrives in early 2021. Geoff Keighley is also now a cosmetic in the game, with a new mask based on his likeness.
“Evil West” is a new IP that looks to mix Western vibes with gothic horror.
Monster Hunter Rise
“Monster Hunter Rise,” scheduled to release in March on the Nintendo Switch, released a new, slick trailer that showed more gameplay. The trailer also promised a demo next month.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Gates of Oblivion
Bethesda announced that the multiplayer “The Elder Scrolls Online” will be receiving a new expansion to the world of Tamriel, titled “Gates of Oblivion." It arrives in 2021.
It Takes Two
“It Takes Two” is a colorful new cooperative adventure from the mind of Josef Fares and his studio Hazelight, and it’s a tonal shift from his previous cooperative title, “A Way Out.” This one follows the adventures of a husband and wife who have turned into dolls and have to navigate all kinds of wacky environments. Fares also said that the game comes with a “buddy pass” system: every purchased copy includes a second free copy to encourage cooperative play.
“Road 96” is a procedural road trip game, from the creators of “Valiant Hearts: The Great War.” You must escape from a “country in turmoil” and reach the border to get to safety.
Evil Dead: The Game
Cult-favorite horror movie “Evil Dead” is getting its own video game, which looks to take place at the iconic cabin in the woods. We saw familiar characters, like Ash, with his chainsaw-arm. This multiplayer experience can be played against friends in PVP or through co-op. “Evil Dead: The Game” arrives in 2021.
Ghosts 'n Goblins: Resurrection
“Ghosts 'n Goblins: Resurrection” is a reboot that takes inspiration from the famously difficult 8-bit classic from Capcom. It will feature updated graphics while maintaining the original’s 2D gameplay.
A trailer of in-game footage was shown for “Odyssey,” a space adventure game with first-person shooter elements.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout season 3
The next season of “Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout,” which earlier in the night won best family game, was teased during the show. The battle-royale that took this summer by storm is getting a third season centering entirely on a snowy theme. Premiering December 15, it comes with new costumes (i.e. penguin suits and cute winter get-ups), new mini-games, and new emotes.
“Ark 2” debuted, starring Vin Diesel in the dinosaur-based action adventure. The trailer was cinematic, and didn’t appear to show any gameplay. The original game, released in 2015, maintains a healthy community today.
A new game called “Season” will have players biking across fields and uncovering the remnants of “disappearing cultures,” said Game Awards host Geoff Keighley. The short trailer was serene and beautiful, though few details were shared.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Season 1
The debut of Season One of “Warzone” for “Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War” was announced, along with a new close-quarters map, Rebirth Island. The update launches Dec. 16.
“Crimson Desert” is a new open-world Western fantasy game made by South Korean studio Pearl Abyss. The gameplay showed very impressive engine work with a dizzying amount of environmental and particle effects. The game looked a bit busy, but the combat appeared tight and impressive. This might be one to watch.
Dragon Age 4
BioWare fans rejoice: the highly anticipated role-playing game “Dragon Age 4” was briefly teased at The Game Awards. “It’s time for a new hero,” narrates Varric, whose instantly recognizable voice told us more about what we can expect. Solas, another character from “Dragon Age: Inquisition,” was teased as well.
“Endless Dungeon,” a new isometric action game from publisher Sega, debuted featuring a pretty, cel-shaded art style and a somber tone.
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
“Disco Elysium,” the gritty noir detective story that was one of the best role-playing experiences of 2019, is getting a definitive version called “The Final Cut.” Coming March 2021 as a free upgrade on all platforms, players will be able to experience the game with additional content, including new quests and full voice acting for every single line of dialogue (in the original, only some dialogue was voiced).
Fullbright, the studio best known for adventure games such as the award-winning “Gone Home” and “Tacoma,” announced a new game called “Open Roads.” The trailer features a young woman in a car, as her mother drives her through the countryside. The girl speaks about her grandmother and a mysterious past, explaining that she’s found secrets about her grandma, like the mention of a burglary ring and “some sort of lost fortune.” The game stars Keri Russell and Kaitlyn Dever. No release date was given.
Warhammer 40,000: Dark Tide
New gameplay was shown for “Warhammer 40,000: Dark Tide,” the newest entry in the strategy series “Warhammer.”
The Callisto Protocol
“The Callisto Protocol,” announced for 2022 by Striking Distance Studios, is a science-fiction survival horror game. Glen Schofield, CEO of the studio, is the creator of the celebrated survivor horror series “Dead Space” from the now-defunct Visceral Games.
Hood: Outlaws & Legends
Focus Home Interactive announced “Hood: Outlaws & Legends,” a new multiplayer game taking place in the medieval age.
Back 4 Blood
“Back 4 Blood” was revealed for the first time, the spiritual successor to the incredibly popular multiplayer survival horror series “Left 4 Dead.” In “Back 4 Blood,” the developer, Turtle Rock, says they wanted to go “bigger,” with “20-foot tall monstrosities” that will take considerable effort to defeat with the help of friends. No release date was given, but a closed alpha begins Dec. 17.
A new sequel to “Perfect Dark” was announced, by Xbox first-party studio The Initiative. “Perfect Dark” was released for the Nintendo 64 by Rare Games in 2000, shortly after the studio revolutionized the console first-person shooter with “Goldeneye.” “Perfect Dark” was a spiritual successor to “Goldeneye,” but the franchise has languished through the years as various follow-ups didn’t offer much more. The game was notable for having some of the more imaginative guns out there, including an alien sniper rifle that allowed players to shoot through the entire stage.
Sephiroth joins the battle
Sephiroth, the one-winged angel and the most popular role-playing villain of all time, is being added to “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” joining protagonist Cloud, who was introduced in the Wii U game. Sephiroth is wielding his signature Masamune sword, and seems to be able to summon Meteor, the world-ending attack. The trailer teased a lot of violence (even implying that Mario was stabbed; his overalls were revealed to have been snagged on Sephiroth’s sword) ending in a climatic final battle with Cloud that echoed the film, “Advent Children.” The trailer said Sephiroth would be available later this month.
Century Age of Ashes
Right before the show formally began, “Century Age of Ashes” was announced. The game will allow players to ride dragons through the skies and engage in “epic multiplayer battles.”
The gameplay debut trailer of “Nier Replicant” showed similar, character-action gameplay to the critically acclaimed sequel, “Nier Automata,” which was developed by Platinum Games. Now developed by Toylogic, “Replicant” aims to introduce a new audience to the preceding story of “Nier,” which was released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game became a cult hit, but the series didn’t get attention until it was touched by Platinum Games, the creators of “Bayonetta.” “Replicant” hopes to replicate that success, while telling the origins of the “Nier” universe and updating its combat mechanics. The gameplay also showed “bullet hell” gameplay similar to that featured in “Automata.”
Some background information on the event …
Despite the restrictions of a remotely-produced show, the event still promises to be an ambitious one, with guests ranging from Keanu Reeves, who performed in the new “Cyberpunk 2077,” to Christopher Nolan, Gal Gadot and Eddie Veder, among others, making appearances throughout the broadcast.
For background on the event, here’s our story on how showrunner Geoff Keighley created The Oscars of gaming, and another story on how Keighley communicated with fans over Zoom in the run-up to the 2020 event. The nominees for all of the categories at The Game Awards 2020 can be found here.
Prior to the award ceremony, The Game Awards announced its inaugural Future Class list, a collection of 50 individuals — developers, journalists, accessibility advocates, content creators and more — who highlight the diversity of the video game industry. The full list of Future Class members, along with more information on each, can be found here.
Keep tabs on the latest award winners below.
Game of the year: “The Last of Us Part II”
Best narrative: “The Last of Us Part II”
“The Last of Us Part II” won best narrative, its second award of the night. We praised its story in our glowing review, which follows Ellie, who is no longer a young girl, but a 19-year-old woman living in a harsh, kill-or-be-killed world plagued with zombies. Like its predecessor, this game provides narrative excellence as it examines relationships and tribalism in dire circumstances. But most of all, the game makes the player question who the heroes and the villains are, often subverting expectations completely.
Writer Halley Gross accepted the award with a speech, thanking co-writer and now co-president of Naughty Dog, Neil Druckmann, as well as the fans. “These characters mean so much to us and we’re touched that they resonated with you as well,” she said.
Best game direction: “The Last of Us Part II”
Best performance: Laura Bailey as Abby in “The Last of Us Part II”
Laura Bailey, who performed as Abby in “The Last of Us Part II,” won best performance for her role. Abby was a new and divisive character in the franchise, and Bailey gave her incredible depth through tremendous voice acting and motion capture. Bailey gave an emotional speech via Zoom, thanking the fans, saying, “Thank you for your support, your love, your passion, and allowing yourself to go on this journey with Abby and me.”
Best art direction: “Ghost of Tsushima”
Best action game: “Hades”
Games for impact: “Tell Me Why”
Player’s voice: “Ghost of Tsushima”
Best indie game: “Hades”
Best multiplayer: “Among Us”
“Among Us” won the 2020 best multiplayer award, despite the fact that it was released in 2018. The game reached newfound popularity the last several months, culminating in congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) playing the game with influential streamers in an effort to get out the vote in advance of the U.S. elections.
Best score: “Final Fantasy VII Remake”
Most anticipated game: “Elden Ring”
Innovation in accessibility: “The Last of Us Part II”
Content creator of the year: Valkyrae
Best ongoing game: “No Man’s Sky”
Best fighting game: “Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate”
Best role-playing game: “Final Fantasy VII Remake”
Best sim/strategy game: “Microsoft Flight Simulator”
Best action-adventure game: “The Last of Us Part II”
Best mobile game: “Among Us”
Best VR/AR: “Half-Life: Alyx”
Best sports/racing game: “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2″
Best family game: “Animal Crossing: New Horizons”
Best audio design: “The Last of Us Part II”
Best community support: “Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout”
Best debut game: “Phasmophobia”
Best esports athlete: ShowMaker
Best esports coach: Zonic
Best esports event: League of Legends World Championship 2020
Best esports game: “League of Legends”
Best esports host: Sjokz
Best esports team: G2 Esports