Over the past couple of days, it has become known that the Game Awards 2020 will have a host of guests who have very little to do with the gaming industry. Gal Gadot, Brie Larson, Christopher Nolan. Even Tom Holland was called. In our working chat, Andrey (@Magnus) joked that Jeff Keely needed to call Elon Musk for his change. And all this is not casual.
Firstly, many actors and celebrities are now “idle”. Not literally, but due to the coronavirus, the number of events has collapsed. Premieres have been postponed, filming is constantly delayed, and what is nevertheless organized usually takes place without an audience or completely online. And given that publicists and media personalities are trying to keep their clients occupied, The Game Awards has become an excellent solution. Because it’s 2021 and today video games no longer carry that cautious, somewhat negative connotation as they did 15 years ago.
Moreover, due to the pandemic, the number of gamers has even increased. While people were sitting in isolation, many found a new hobby or escape from boredom in games. There is no doubt that among them there are those who will name the winners. But Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, and Spider-Man are just bait. A way to lure an audience that has not yet had the experience of watching such shows dedicated to the achievements of the gaming industry.
An interesting symbiosis turns out. On the one hand, celebrities once again get into the frame, on the other hand, TGA attracts millions of new viewers. Last year, the event was called the “Oscar” from the gaming industry. The scale is still not the same, but perhaps the biggest difference is that the artistic value of most games is minimal.
Epic Games can run 10-minute Fortnite gigs as much as they want, raking in money on merch, but in terms of cultural baggage, the game is comparable to a brick wall full of graffiti. But, let’s take a look at the games that gamers voted for as part of the TGA 2020 Game of the Year:
- Ghost of tsushima
- The Last of Us Part II
- Doom eternal
- Spider-Man: Miles Morales
The winner in the face of Ghost of Tsushima is an incredibly beautiful and stylish game that makes you feel like a Japanese warrior. This is a personal story of retribution, struggle and quest, but will it feel like last year’s Joker, 1917 or Once Upon a Time in Hollywood?
The Last of Us Part II is closer to classic cinematography in terms of emotional, narrative and cultural load. Moreover, for both games, it would be quite possible to shoot Oskoran-based film adaptations filled with drama. Some fans even cut scene scenes, serving the story as multiple episodes.
However, sad as it may seem, most of today’s gamers are interested in Among Us, Fall Guys and other sessions where deep thought processes are not required. And this is not the fault of people – such is biology, why think if the release of a pleasant compound can be caused by primitive reactions. Even on my own I can say that if I do not apply conscious strength to understand history, motivations, philosophy, then my inner monkey turns on, which only wants to look at curvy ladies and dominate the enemy with the help of a big gun, club, bat, hammer, crossbow or any other weapon.
For some, this will be news, but in Call of Duty and Battlefield, I do not play at all to philosophize about war.
But this is the essence of almost all games. Because Activision is already making billions of dollars annually from domestic monkeys. Riot Games, for all its creativity, is in no rush to throw an ethical, emotional, historical or cultural challenge with Valorant or Legends of Runeterra. But he is actively developing virtual celebrities, which you can twirl as you like. But I don’t think the creatives had that goal.
I have no doubt that the gaming industry has produced projects throughout its history, the impact of which is comparable to the classics of cinema. But, as in the movies, for every icon, there is a truckload of consumer goods. Or even two. Games that aim to distract from reality.
It is curious that Cyberpunk 2077, which I only recently completed, is just closer to the Oscar format, at The Last of Us level. True, I cannot say that CDPR succeeded in fully revealing the germs that were laid within the framework of the plot. But, we will talk about this separately.
My main point is that for all of Jeff Keely’s attempts to make The Game Awards an award for artistically and culturally important projects, the vast majority of games lack such characteristics. This is neither bad nor good, but otherwise. However, maybe that’s why Joaquin Phoenix, Quentin Tarantino, Sam Mendes or Tom Hanks won’t be at TGA 2020.
So, everything is ahead. But this requires more developers, like Hideo Kojima, Neil Druckmann, or long-gone Ken Levin.