And… the winner is God! This should be sounding funny because as mere mortals who can win against the Gods! That is the case in this year’s Game of the Year Award Ceremony. There were many speculations about “Red Dead Redemption 2”, where Rockstar Games put in a mammoth effort to simulate the spirit of The Wild West. The Santa Monica studio was a little behind, as they came up with a new look “God of War” after the end of the Greek saga. So, the expectations were high, the competition was tough and, in the end, God prevails over Man. “God of War” won the best game award for 2018, despite “Red Dead Redemption 2” winning 4 awards in various categories.
For movies, it is the Oscars, the ultimate accolade for someone who acts directs or works in the film industry. For music, it is the Grammy. For Football, it is FIFA The Best (which Lionel Messi is yet to win!) and for Gaming, it is The Game Awards. Computer games or electronic games are relatively a new form of entertainment compared to movies, music and sports; but it has one big plus! You can do anything in the world of gaming. You can be the hero of a mind-blowing adventure, a Rockstar with electrifying guitar play or a fabulous footballer. You just have to pick the right game and play! Simple as that.
The difficult job is to find out the best one from a number of new games which hit the stores; digital and physical, every year. There are academies to give the awards for movies or music, governing body of football to pick the best player on Earth. Who picks the best game?
Well, like many other industries, awards for best video games were presented by different entities. In the course of time, only a few have stood out like Oscar or Grammy, which is “The Game Awards”, started as Spike Video Game Awards and hosted by American TV Channel Spike TV. Initiated in 2003, the name got changed as “The Game Awards” in 2014 which is regarded as the pinnacle achievement in the video games industry.
The Award Ceremony took place in the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on 6th December. Glitterati’s from the world of entertainment like the director brother duo of Marvel Cinematic Universe – Anthony and Joseph Russo, academy award winning actor Christoph Waltz, Music composer Hans Zimmer and many more were present at the ceremony. Like many others, this award has also quite a few categories. As gaming is a diverse industry, there are a good number of collective and individual awards. The show stopper is the best game award, which is the crème de la crème! This year, the cream is even creamier.
The amount of money and time, spent behind the best two games of this year can easily surpass any regular Hollywood production. The announcement of the very first “God of War” game for PlayStation 4 came up almost 4 years ago. Initially, SONY was not interested to bring their iconic character KRATOS from PS2 and PS3. The hierarchy of SONY was not convinced by the last instalment of the series. But Cory Balrog, director of “God of War 2” convinced them for an entire reboot. During the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2017, the trailer of the new look “God of War” was launched. At that very moment, it was quite understandable that Kratos will rule 2018!
Though the game is the fifth release of the franchise, Balrog wanted to drop the numeric. He said, “We are re-imagining everything”. So, everything was changed! Earlier Kratos was a blood thirsty demi-god, who was a violent fighter wanted to take revenge against Olympian gods. In the new game, Kratos is a loving and caring father; who is on a journey with his boy, carrying the ashes of the boy’s mother to the top of the world. The storyline shifted from Greek Mythology to Norse Mythology, chained swords were replaced by a magical axe, entire game-play, camera movement and narration got changed, but still the core was there. The charm of playing a “God of War” game is the thrill of hunting mythical monsters, battling fabled Gods and become victorious. Actually, it gives a feeling like reading an epic and playing the role of the protagonist.
On one hand, there is an epic, involving Gods and monsters. On the other hand, there are gun-slinging cowboys, the very people who formed the western part of The United States of America. Ranches, wagons, railroads, horses, six-shooters, shotguns, hunting, tracking…. much more to do in a single game! Based on the period of late 18th century, when the Wild West was a dangerous place to be, how will it feel to play an out-law? Fans of Clint Eastwood will find it very interesting. If you have love for the famous “Dollar Trilogy” or the “spaghetti-western” movies, “Red Dead Redemption 2” is definitely your cup of tea. Vast map, numerous characters, diversity of the environment – all made the RDR 2 an all-time classic, just like Eastwood movies!
So, the choice was hard for the juries. RDR 2 had the fate of recent musical film “La La Land”. The movie earned 14 nominations in Oscar 2016 and won 6, but could not win the best picture award. This time the same thing happened to “Red Dead Redemption 2”. Rockstar Games got awards in 4 categories, but lost the prize of the best game to “God of War”. Cory Balrog also won the prize for the best Game director. Myth wins over reality, sword wins over the gun!
Though “God of War’ won the pinnacle prize, “Red Dead Redemption 2” is not something to ignore. If released in 2019, it might fetch all the awards in any ceremony. But in 2018, it was like Messi Vs Ronaldo, Sachin Vs Lara or Federer vs Nadal. There are strong references for both sides, but the end of the day, the judges had to pick one winner.
The Game Awards ceremony was also the launching pad for a few more exciting games. Ed Boon, the creator of “Mortal Kombat”, the famous arcade fighting game series, which gradually climbed to the 8th generation console for its immense popularity, announced the arrival of the 11th installment of MK franchise. Termed as “Mortal Kombat 11”, the trailer showed that mortals are still fighting against the Gods! The first glimpses of MK 11 showed us a gruesome fight between two most iconic characters of MK universe, Scorpion and Raiden. Attacking with multiple moves, spilling bloods, slashing with swords or piercing with moon-blade are horrifyingly interesting as gore, violence, and fatality are the key USPs of MK franchise. Dual role of scorpion gave a hint that there may be a redemption option which could help the gamer to alter the result. The trailer ended with a trademark fatality performed by Inferno Scorpion on Raiden, which tells that the MK 11 will be bloodier with much gore and violence from previous versions.
So, a “God” wins over “Man” at the night when another “God and “Mortal” revived their old rivalry. Really, it’s a funny world we live in!