ICYMI: A Full Recap of The Game Awards 2019

The Video Game Answer to the Oscars Holds Surprises

ICYMI: A Full Recap of The Game Awards 2019

This year’s showing of The Game Awards kicked off at The Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles on Dec. 12, 2019. Hosted by Canadian games presenter Geoff Keighley, the event also marks the fifth annual celebration of industry achievements.

In 2017, Keighley told the Los Angeles Times it was “his life’s mission” to create an Academy Awards-style event to present trophies for video games and the surrounding communities.

IGN host and online producer Sydnee Goodman hosted the pre-show event, taking an opportunity to present a selection of awards and world premiere game announcements.

Our recap shows every award and announcement in order of appearance, with commentary for notable speeches and world reveals.

Pre-Show Awards:

Best Community Support – Destiny 2, Bungie Games (Accepted by Mark Noseworthy & Luke Smith)

Other Nominees:

Apex Legends, Respawn Entertainment, Electronic Arts

Final Fantasy XIV, Square Enix

Fortnite, Epic Games

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, Ubisoft

Best Score & Music – Death Stranding (Accepted by Ludvig Forssell)

Other Nominees:

Cadence of Hyrule, Brace Yourself Games, Nintendo

Death Stranding, Kojima Productions, Sony Interactive Entertainment

Devil May Cry V, Capcom

Kingdom Hearts III, Square Enix

Sayonara Wild Hearts, Simogo, Nintendo

Best Esports Coach – Zonic (Accepted by Danny Sørensen)

Other Nominees:

Adren

Cain

Grabbz

Kkoma

Sockshka

Best Esports Event – League of Legends World Championship 2019

Other Nominees:

2019 Overwatch League Grand Finals

EVO 2019

Fortnite World Cup

IEM Katowice 2019

The International 2019

Best Esports Host – Sjokz (Accepted by Eefje Depoortere)

Other Nominees:

Machine

Redeye

Goldenboy

Candice

Best Esports Team – G2 Esports

Other Nominees:

Astralis

OG

San Francisco Shock

Team Liquid

Best Fighting Game – Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Bandai Namco Studios, Sora Ltc., Nintendo (Accepted by Doug Bowser)

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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – Nintendo

Other Nominees:

Dead or Alive 6, Team Ninja

Jump Force, Spike Chunsoft, Chunsoft

Mortal Kombat 11, NetherRealm Studios, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Samurai Showdown, SNK Corporation

Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser accepted the award in person, stating Ultimate was “more than just a fighting game” and thanked director Masahiro Sakurai for putting different game worlds “so seamlessly and so beautifully” with developers.

Pre-show World Premieres:

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order Rise of the Phoenix DLC Expansion 2, Team Ninja

Release: December 23, 2019(Nintendo Switch)

Salaam, Facebook Games

Release: Summer 2020 (Facebook Instant Games, Browser)

Maneater, Tripwire Interactive

Release: May 22, 2020 (PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC)

Humankind, Amplitude Studios, Sega

Release: Coming 2020 (PC)

No More Heroes III, Grasshopper Manufacture, Marvelous Inc.

Release: Coming 2020 (Nintendo Switch)

Square Enix entered the pre-show with a new trailer for the anticipated Final Fantasy VII: Remake, showing offnew plot elements surrounding protagonist Cloud Strife. The game is “available worldwide” on March 3, 2020.

2019 Game Awards:

After the award’s pre-show, host and creator Geoff Keighley arrived on stage for proceedings after a live orchestra performance of Death Stranding’s title track with CHVRCHES lead Lauren Mayberry.

Westworld co-creator and The Dark Knight screenwriter Johnathan Nolan arrived on stage to present the first major award of the evening.

Nominees for Best Narrative:

A Plague Tale: Innocence, Asobo Studio, Focus Home Interactive

Control, Remedy Entertainment, 505 Games

Death Stranding, Kojima Productions, Sony Interactive Entertainment

Disco Elysium, ZA/UM

The Outer Worlds, Obsidian Entertainment, Private Division

Winner: Disco Elysium, ZA/UM (Accepted by Helen Hindpere)

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Disco Elysium – ZA/UM

Members of ZA/UM accepted the first award of the night, with Helen Hindpere thanking a word-of-mouth for believing “this game exists when we first started talking about it,” and other developers for welcoming their team into the industry.

NBA player Stephen Curry made an appearance to present the award for the most outstanding athlete in Esports this year.

Best Esports Player:

Bugha

Perkz

S1mple

Sinatraa

Winner: Bugha (Accepted by Kyle Giersdorf)

Best Audio Design:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Infinity Ward, Activision

Control, Remedy Entertainment, 505 Games

Death Stranding, Kojima Productions, Sony Interactive Entertainment

Gears 5, The Coalition, Xbox Game Studios

Resident Evil 2 (Remake), Capcom

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, FromSoftware, Activision

Winner: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Infinity Ward, Activision

Best Strategy Game:

Age of Wonders: Planetfall, Triumph Studios, Paradox Interactive

Anno 1800, Blue Byte, Ubisoft

Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Intelligent Systems, Koei Tecmo Games Co. Ltd., Nintendo

Total War: Three Kingdoms, Creative Assembly, Sega

Tropico 6, Limbic Entertainment, Kalypso Media

Wargroove, Chucklefish

Winner: Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Intelligent Systems, Koei Tecmo Games Co. Ltd., Nintendo

Content Creator of the Year:

Courage

Dr.Lupo

Ewok

Grefg

Shroud

Winner: Shroud (Accepted by Michael Grzesiek)

Meme, Creative Director and Lead Art Designer for The Evil Within series Ikumi Nakamura appeared on stage to announce the award for 2019’s leading art directors.

Best Art Direction

Control, Remedy Entertainment, 505 Games

Death Stranding, Kojima Productions, Sony Interactive Entertainment

Gris, Normada Studio, Devolver Digital

Sayonara Wild Hearts, Annapurna Interactive, iam8bit Inc.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, FromSoftware, Activision

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Grezzo, Nintendo

Winner: Control (Accepted by Thomas Puha and Mikael Kasurinen)

A brief snippet of CyberPunk: 2077 revealed some of the influences for its soundtrack before singer Griff appeared on stage to perform a track. Artists attached to the game include Run the Jewels, A$AP Rocky and cellist Tina Guo.The game will be released on April 20, 2020.

Death Stranding star and Best Performance Nominee Norman Reedus stepped on stage to present the award for Best Action Game:

Best Action Game:

Apex Legends, Respawn Entertainment, Electronic Arts

Astral Chain, PlatinumGames, Nintendo

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Infinity Ward, Activision

Devil May Cry 5, Capcom

Gears 5, The Coalition, Xbox Game Studios

Metro Exodus, 4A Games, Deep Silver

Winner: Devil May Cry 5, Capcom (Accepted by Hideaki Itsuno)

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Devil May Cry 5 – Capcom

DMC 5 director Hideaki Itsuno credited fans for waiting 11 years for the sequel to release while “staying to my roots” in creating the game. Both Itsuno and his translator ended the speech by shouting “DMC is back!”

Muppet Labs scientists Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and assistant Beaker also made an appearance to reveal their (fake) VR game The Untitled Beaker Game and serves as a (fake) add-on the Untitled Goose Game.

An award for games delivering significant impact was also awarded (with an unexpected attack from the Goose):

Games for Impact:

Concrete Genie, Pixelopus, Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios

Gris, Normada Studio, Devolver Digital

Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to), Popcannibal

Life is Strange 2, Dontnod Entertainment, Square Enix

Sea of Solitude, Jo-Mei Games, Electronic Arts

Winner: Gris, Normada Studio, Devolver Digital (Accepted by Roger Mendoza)

Best Family Game:

Luigi’s Mansion 3, Next Level Games, Nintendo

Ring Fit Adventure, Nintendo

Super Mario Maker 2, Nintendo

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Bandai Namco Studios, Sora Ltc., Nintendo

Yoshi’s Crafted World, Good-Feel, Nintendo

Winner: Luigi’s Mansion 3, Next Level Games, Nintendo

Best Sports/Racing Game

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, Beenox, Activision

Dirt Rally 2.0, Codemasters

EFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020, PES Productions, Konami

F1 2019, Codemasters

Fifa 20, Electronic Arts

Winner: Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, Beenox, Activision

Best Mobile Game:

Call of Duty: Mobile, TiMi Studios, Activision

Grindstone, Capybara Games

Sayonara Wild Hearts, Annapurna Interactive, iam8bit Inc.

Sky: Children of the Light, Thatgamecompany

What the Golf?, Triband

Winner: Call of Duty: Mobile, TiMi Studios, Activision

Prolific Twitch streamer, Fortnite player and 2018 Game Awards Content Creator of the Year Richard Tyler “Ninja” Blevinsarrived to present

Best Multiplayer Game

Apex Legends, Respawn Entertainment, Electronic Arts

Borderlands 3, Gearbox Software, 2K Games

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Infinity Ward, Activision

Tetris 99, Arika, Nintendo

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Massive Entertainment, Ubisoft

Winner: Apex Legends, Respawn Entertainment, Electronic Arts (Accepted by Vince Zampella & Chad Grenier)

“This year has been crazy for us,” said Respawn CEO Vince Zampella in the team’s acceptance speech.

“For all the team that stuck around and believed and made this magic happen, thank you to the fans, thank you so much,” he said.

IGN pre-show host and producer Sydney Goodman returned from the Pre-show to present the award for games currently active with a large player base.

Best Ongoing Game:

Apex Legends, Respawn Entertainment, Electronic Arts

Destiny 2, Bungie

Final Fantasy XIV, Square Enix

Fortnite, Epic Games

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege, Ubisoft Montreal

Winner: Fortnite, Epic Games (Accepted by Donald Mustard)

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Fortnite – Epic Games

Donald Mustard returned to the stage for an acceptance speech, reflecting on the online shooter’s progress while calling for more pushes to an evolving virtual world

“This idea that we need to lean into what a persistent virtual place can be and the more that we’re trying to experiment with stuff and try different things,” Mustard said.

“We’re finding more and more that our goal is to try to create a metaverse. To create a place where all IP can live together. Where all kinds of experiences can happen.”

Esports Game of the Year:

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Valve, Hidden Path Entertainment

DOTA2, Valve

Fortnite, Epic Games

League of Legends, Riot Games

Overwatch, Blizzard Entertainment

Winner: League of Legends, Riot Games

Best VR/AR Game:

Asgard’s Wrath, Sanzaru Games, Oculus Studios

Blood & Truth, Sony Interactive Entertainment London, Sony Interactive Entertainment

Beat Saber, Beat Games

No Man’s Sky, Hello Games

Trover Saves the Universe, Squanch Games

Winner: Beat Saber, Beat Games

Best Performance (Voiceover, Acting and Motion Capture)

Ashly Burch as Parvati Holcomb in The Outer Worlds

Courtney Hope as Jesse Faden in Control

Laura Bailey as Kait Diaz in Gears 5

Mads Mikkelsen as Cliff in Death Stranding

Matthew Porretta as Dr. Casper Darling in Control

Norman Reedus as Sam Porter Bridges in Death Stranding

Winner: Mads Mikkelsen as Cliff in Death Stranding

Fan Favourite Game: Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Former Nintendo of America CEO Reggie Fils-Aime appeared on stage, sporting his Fils-A-Mech sunglasses and character pin to present the award for the best first game release by an independent studio:

Fresh Indie Game:

Disco Elysium, ZA/UM

Gris, Nomada Studio

My Friend Pedro, Deadtoast Entertainment

Outer Wilds, Mobius Digital

Slay the Spire, Mega Crit

Untitled Goose Game, House House

Winner: Disco Elysium, ZA/UM (Accepted by Helen Hindpere)

Emmy-winning writer for Adventure time and notable voice actor Ashly Burch presented this year’s award for outstanding directing roles in a game production.

Best Game Direction:

Mikael Kasurien for Control

Hideo Kojima for Death Stranding

Kazunori Kadoi & Yasuhiro Anpo for Resident Evil 2 (Remake)

Hidetaka Miyazaki for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Alex Beachum for Outer Wilds

Winner: Hideo Kojima for Death Stranding

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Death Stranding

Hideo Kojima accepted the award on behalf of his studio Kojima Productions and thanked collaborators working four years for Death Stranding since his departure from Konami. He also credited Sony Interactive Entertainment and Guerrilla Games for providing the game engine.

“I really want to thank a lot of people who started this ship going,” said Kojima, through his translator.

“The small boat was also all the staff who came to work together.”

Fast and Furious series actress Michelle Rodriguiez announced the world premiere for the franchises’ new racing game Fast & Furious Crossroads scheduled for a May 2020 release.

Rodriguez reprises her role along with Vin Diesel, Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris who all appear in the game.

Co-star Vin Diesel also made a surprise appearance on stage and revealed the existence of an unreleased four-minute trailer for Fast Nine.

The live orchestra also returned with a medley scoring the nominees for Game of the Year.

Both Diesel and Rodriguez presented the event’s last award:

Game of the Year:

Control, Remedy Entertainment, 505 Games

Death Stranding, Kojima Productions, Sony Interactive Entertainment

Resident Evil 2 (Remake), Capcom

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, FromSoftware, Activision

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Bandai Namco Studios, Sora Ltc., Nintendo

The Outer Worlds, Obsidian Entertainment, Private Division

Game of the Year: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, FromSoftware, Activision (Accepted by Hidetake Miyazaki)

A standing ovation from the audience came for Sekiro director Hidetaka Miyazaki when he grasped the Game Award.

His translatorstated the studio was unsure about the game’s success due to its “difficult and complex elements,” but were reactive to the positive response from players.

Miyazaki  thanked the staff at FromSoftware and Activision for their support along the development. The studio promised to continue creating quality-content releases for fans.

The Game Awards 2019 World Premieres:

Xbox Series X System, Microsoft

Release: Holiday 2020 (Console launch)

Keighley took a moment to comment on the internet’s habit of leaks before revealing the world premiere of Microsoft’s new next-generation console Xbox Series X, slated for release in Q4 of next year.

“Series X will lead us into the future,” said Xbox head and Microsoft Gaming VP Phil Spencer, who stepped onto the stage to discuss the console’s capabilities.

“Our fastest, most powerful Xbox will set a new bar for performance, speed, compatibility. Developers around the globe are already hard at work building games for Xbox Series X.”

He also revealed the “early development” of Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, a follow-up to 2017’s action-adventure Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice and serves as a launch title for the Series X.

Commercial breaks during the stream also revealed The Joker coming as DLC for Mortal Kombat 11 and a new free Expeditions game mode update for Control.

Godfall, Gearbox Software

Release: Holiday 2020 (PlayStation 5)

Counterplay developer Keith Lee and Gearbox Publishing President Steve Gibson stated the game looks to “reinvent combat” within an explorable new fantasy universe and third-person combat.

“We call it a looter-slasher,” Lee said.

Gibson also stated the game was an exclusive for the upcoming next-generation console.

“It was so amazing to us, we had to call our friends over at Sony, our friends over at Epic,” said Gibson, adding they wanted to make Godfall work for next generation hardware and engines.

Bravely Default II, Silicon Studio, Square Enix.

Release: 2020 (Nintendo Switch)

Prologue, PlayerUnknown

Release: TBA (Systems TBA)

Epic Games director Donald Mustard spoke with Keighley about an exclusive event in Fortnite with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. A special message from director  J.J. Abrams encouraged players to attend in-game while a free TIE-Whisperer glider is also being given to participants during the movie sneak peek.

Rey, Finn and the Sith Trooper were also surprise released as downloadable character skins ahead of the event on Saturday, Dec, 14 at 2PM EST in Risky Reels.

Sons of The Forest, Endnight Games

Release: TBA (Systems TBA)

Ruined King: A League of Legends Story, Airship Syndicate, Riot Forge

Release: TBA (In development for consoles and PC)

A first-ever story based RPG is coming based on the League of Legends franchise and players get to control the original game’s champions in a different way.

Comic book artist Joe Madureira spoke with Keighley about the teaser, taking RPG and adventure elements from Battle Chasers and Darksiders to create a new turn-based game with League champions.

“The story takes place after Burning Tides,” Madureira said.

“So everyone believes Gangplank is dead, Bilgewater is in chaos and you’ll actually play as some League champions and explore Bilgewater, The Shadow Isles and we have a lot of other surprises as well,” he said, adding Poros are also mandatory to Ruined King.

Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance, Wizards of the Coast, Tuque Games Inc.

Release: Coming Fall 2020 (Systems TBA)

Apex Legends: Mirage’s Holo-Day Bash Season Update, Respawn Entertainment, Electronic Arts

Release: Now (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Keighley’s awards speech was interrupted by Apex Legends character Mirage, who delivered holiday greetings from the stage’s screen.

He also showcased a part of the game’s winter makeover and a nutcracker screen. An update for the game was immediately dropped after the video call, bringing new cosmetics and limited game modes for its first Holo-Day Bash.

Weird West, WolfEye Studios, Devolver Digital

Release: TBA (Systems TBA)

Magic: Legends, Perfect World, Cryptic Studios

Release: TBA (Systems TBA)

A surprise release for VR brawler Path of the Warrior was released for the Oculus Quest immediately after its announcement.

More details arrived for Sucker Punch Studios’ stealth-action adventure Ghost of Tsushima which included a new cinematic trailer (scored by a live orchestra behind the stage screen) and a release window for Summer 2020.

Microsoft introduced the turn-based Gears Tactics  which includes over 40 hours of campaign levels set within the Gears of War franchise and is slated for release on Xbox One and PC in April 20, 2020.

Naraka: Bladepoint, 24 Entertainment, NetEase

Release: Coming 2020 (PC)

Redhill Games announced a new first-person tactical coop game called Nine to Five, with an online multiplayer alpha sign-up available now.

Grammy Award winning rock band Green Day appeared on stage with a performance and their own release for the Green Day Music Pack for Beat Saber, along with a 360-degree feature for all levels.

New World, Amazon Games

Release: May 2020 (PC)

Convergence: A League of Legends Story, Double Stallion, Riot Forge

Release: TBA (In development for consoles and PC)

Creative Director Lee Thomas stepped onto a platform to discuss the second story-based game set in the League universe.

According to Thomas, Convergence is a “single player action-platformer” where players assume Ekko, a young character who invents a time device and can navigate through warped parts of the LoL world.

Surgeon Simulator 2 was also announced during a commercial break in the streams, with added multiplayer features to the over-the-top medical sim. A release yet has yet to be announced, while players could sign up for a beta online.

The revived studio Telltale Games announced episodic series The Wolf Among Us 2 and continues the decisions of Bigby Wolf in the Fables Universe.

Keighley’s sixth annual The Game Awards show is expected to take place next year in December, 2020.