The Game Awards 2020 & some unchained connections

by Brandon Pham
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The biggest takeaways and how the podcast ties into some announcements

The Game Awards have always been a hype show sprinkled with some awards, but this year especially with all major events taking a back seat, the Game Awards was a welcome relief. Perhaps rolled into that excitement is because its taken place on the heels of two major console releases that promises to usher in  new-generational experiences. So yeah, the timing is perfect this year to get hyped! Although, overall, there wasn’t anything out-of-this world groundbreaking, there are some fun announcements directly related to the podcast contributions and/or connections. Just a few…but enough to humble brag. Without further ado, I broke it down to personal preference in separate categories: the OOO, Ehhh, and Meh.

The OOO

Okay, there were a few games that stuck out to me, and this could be tailored towards my bias of some soft connections to the podcast. However, at least these games showed potential that we all need right now. First off…

BACK 4 BLOOD

So for all those that follow the podcast, I briefly worked at Turtle Rock Studios working on what you can technically call a precursor to this game. I’ve also had my colleague, Scott Knapp, a bad-ass lighter several times on the show. However, here’s a brief history lesson: Turtle Rock was the original developer on L4Dead before Valve bought the studio and IP and even had Turtle Rock act as a satellite studio for Valve before breaking up. I’ve always been a fan of the L4Dead series and it was great to see the studio get back to form with this. I’ve always felt L4Dead 3 would do well if it was ever released, and now we get the spiritual successor.

It did make me wonder though, is Valve mad though? This is exactly what one would expect a L4Dead 3 would look like, with very familiar mechanics clearly ‘translated,’ and even the name ‘Back 4 Blood’ is anything but a subtle middle finger to Valve. But whatever, I could make do a good zombie game to get me through our zombie apocalypse (the pandemic) without the good part (zombies) right now.  What’s cool with this drop is alongside the cinematic trailer, Turtle Rock also showed off a gameplay trailer, too. A practice I hope every developer can take note of going forward. The game’s out on June 22, 2021 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

THE CALLISTO PROTOCOL

Speaking of breakups, one of the biggest challenges of 2020, besides the pandemic, was going from a co-hosting podcast to a lone host for the Game Dev Unchained show. However, it was great to see, Larry Charles making great use of his time at developer Striking Distance. He currently is the Lead level designer on The Callisto Protocol, which is a creepy looking game that’s got some serious Dead Space vibes. That comes as no surprise, as my old boss, Glen Schofield. from Sledgehammer Games, is the original  Dead Space developer and this game is coming in 2022.

OPEN ROADS

The last connection and something I’m looking forward to is Gone Home developer Fullbrights’ new game: Open Roads, starring Keri Russel (The Americans) and Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart). We’ve had both founders Steve Gaynor and Karla Zimnoja on the show several times and of course we all worked together on Bioshock 2 awhile back. In why I think we should pay attention to Open Roads is because Fullbright helped ushered in the indie scene in a big way in the early 2010s. To me, at least, they serve as a measure of what Indie can look like in the 2020s.

IT TAKES TWO

It Takes Two, from Hazelight, is a co-op platform adventure game. We recently had Kristopher Eng, from Elias Software on the show who is the Director of Audio for this game and it’s coming on March 26, 2021.

SEASON

Season looks incredible. Scavengers Studio revealed its second game, which will be available on PlayStation and Windows PC via Steam. In Season, players will explore a village and record the world’s history before a “cataclysm.” A release date was not given.

EVIL WEST

I’m actually playing through Red Dead Redemption 2 right now, so I am incredible invested in Westerns currently. So if you combine the Wild West with dark fantasy? I am in. From Flying Wild Hog and Focus Home Interactive, Evil West is a wild west game, but with vampires and other monsters. It’s coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X in 2021.

ENDLESS DUNGEON

Sega and Amplitude Studios have a new game called Endless Dungeon coming to both Windows PC and consoles. Apparently it both is and isn’t a sequel to the previous game, Dungeon of the EndlessYou’ll need to play the rogue-lite tactical action game to find out, I guess. From the trailer, it’s looking pretty stylish.

The EHHH

So these games were okay, and overall I need to see more to get excited about them. At most, it gets my half attention and I think most gamers will keep it in their radar of “sure, I’ll check it out, maybe.”

ROAD 96

It’s always rough to share the same stage with another game with a similar premise, Open Roads. Since I already highlighted one road trip game that means my allegiance has already been spoken for. However, this does look interesting… From the team behind Valiant HeartsRoad 96 is a procedural narrative adventure game. The game’s expected to take on pop culture of the 1990s, but no release date or platforms were revealed for the title.

ARK 2

Looking forward to seeing cars and Vin Diesel in Ark 2. I would say, watching this trailer made me realize many game characters use him as reference for the models. And this isn’t is his first time being in a game, where Chronicles of Riddick was a pretty damn good game, Ark 2 is coming in 2022.

PERFECT DARK

Developer The Initiative showcased a cinematic trailer for its new game: Perfect DarkI mean, I remember the game on early Nintendo systems, but I hope they really up the Splinter Cell/ Metal Gear formula spy thriller somehow. We’ll see…

MASS EFFECT

Bioware hasn’t been doing so hot, with two founders leaving in recent weeks and major bombs like Mass Effect: Andromeda and Anthem. Please refer to my Glassdoor Confessions episode for more information. Usually, when that happens, management comes in to take over creative control and say no more new IP exploration and go back to the tried-and-true games to make ‘some’ guaranteed money. I can’t help but feel that this Mass Effect is that.

DRAGON AGE

Same deal as above. The last Dragon Age game was released in 2014 — Dragon Age: Inquisition. “Time to make that money Bioware!” – EA Executive

MICROSOFT FLIGHT SIMULATOR TO XBOX SERIES X

Damn, dude. This looks like the realest game I’ve seen besides maybe a car game. I tend to look at theses games of what true next gen can bring with graphical fidelity and Flight Simulator delivers! But… its a flying game, nevertheless. So unless you are a pilot and currently on furlough because nobody is traveling anywhere because of the pandemic,  how excited can one be? Microsoft Flight Simulator is coming to the Xbox Series X in summer 2021. The game was released on Windows PC earlier this year. It looks very good on the console.

The MEhhhh

The games listed below are basically fluff and just additions to existing games. Nothing crazy, but has a strong following. So I threw all in this list below for you guys to appreciate. You’re welcome!

A NEW SUPER SMASH BROS. ULTIMATE FIGHTER: SEPHIROTH

Sephiroth will join Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as the third fighter in the Fighters Pass Vol. 2. Six characters in total with join the pass, alongside new stages and music. The full set is expected to be out by Dec. 31, 2021.

NEW AMONG US MAP

Though Among Us was released in 2018, it got super popular in 2020. And now, the game’s getting a new map, Airship, which developer InnerSloth showed off at The Game Awards. It should be familiar to Among Us players, but still exciting to learn.

FALL GUYS: ULTIMATE KNOCKOUT SEASON 3

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is getting a third season, and it’s coming to the game on Dec. 15. It’s a seasonal update, with a winter wonderland world, seven new levels, and 30 new costumes. Big Yeetus is still here, too.

MASTER CHIEF IN FORTNITE

In December, Fortnite fans found evidence that Halo franchise star Master Chief would come to Fortnite. Now, developer Epic Games has officially announced it, alongside some other cool items. Get on that warthog and ride. Master Chief is available in Fortnite now, alongside a Halo map, Blood Gulch. Some The Walking Dead characters are coming, too.

SWEDISH CHEF COMING TO OVERCOOKED

As always, Swedish Chef is always a Game Awards highlight.

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