The Biggest Announcements and Reveals from the 2021 Game Awards
The 2021 Game Awards celebrated gaming’s best in 2021 while also giving fans a glimpse into what’s ahead with some rad reveals. Major awards went to Deathloop (Game and Art Direction), Guardians of the Galaxy (Best Narrative), Forza Horizon 5 (Best Audio Design and Innovation in Accessibility), Returnal (Best Action Game), Kena: Bridge of Spirits (Best Indie Game and Best Indie Debut), Tales of Arise (Best RPG), and Maggie Robertson took home the Best Performance award for her performance as Lady Dimitrescu in Resident Evil: Village. Most importantly though, Hazelight’s It Takes Two took home some of the biggest awards including Best Multiplayer Game, Best Family Game, and the coveted Game of the Year award deservingly accepted by director Josef Fares.
Between all the awards was possibly the strongest lineup of announcements the Game Awards has ever had. We got some updates on some previously announced games, both big and small, as well as unexpected reveals. Not everything will be touched on here, but for now, here are the biggest headlines and announcements from the 2021 Game Awards.
Sonic the Hedgehog Shows Up Big
As expected, the Game Awards were a big night for Sonic, even without any nominations, as both the first trailer for the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was dropped along with the first look at the new game from Sonic Team. Our first look at the next Sonic movie actually gave fans a lot to be excited about as we get a formal first look at veteran Tails actor Colleen O’Shaughnessey voicing the character in the film as well as Dr. Eggman’s new look, the Master Emerald, and the reveal of fan-favorite Knuckles (voiced by Idris Elba). Overall, it was a great trailer that shows a lot of potential to rival the first film with how its drawing more resemblance to the games and the jokes about Sonic brining out his inner Batman and Eggman reuniting with his former #2 are already landing incredibly well. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is set to release on April 8th, 2022.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 wasn’t the only Sonic news though as we also got a short glimpse into the previously teased Sonic Team game, which is now officially titled Sonic Frontiers. No gameplay was shown, but the game is set within a vast forest area with ancient ruins and giant mountains. Based on the sweeping landscape shots, we can only assume that this means that the game will be open world, which will be a major milestone for Sonic and could make good use of his speed. Sonic Frontiers’ first official showing certainly leaves you eager to see more and the game is currently set for a Holiday 2022 release.
Telltale is Back?
Telltale Games was mostly revived after being purchased by LCG Entertainment a few months after shutting down in 2019 and we got a glimpse of their first two games adapting notable properties. Telltale is set to create their own adaptations of Amazon’s The Expanse and Star Trek, titled Star Trek: Resurgence. Resurgence feels like a fitting title for Telltale given everything that’s happened, and it’ll be interesting to see their distinct storytelling techniques be a part of these popular sci-fi franchises.
DC Surprises Fans with Monolith’s Wonder Woman and Suicide Squad Gameplay
DC hit back at Marvel’s domination in the gaming space with some standout reveals at the Game Awards. First, the reveal of a Wonder Woman game being in development by Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor developer Monolith absolutely blew my mind. Monolith showed they’re a very talented studio with their Middle-Earth games and a Wonder Woman game is the perfect kind of unexpected choice that’ll be awesome to more of soon.
Rocksteady also delivered a first look at gameplay for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, set to release in 2022. The reveal showcased unique gameplay for each of the four members as the squad looks to kill a possessed Flash. Rocksteady’s created a massive city-scape playground for players to run and gun their way through and the gameplay variety looks absolutely insane. King Shark can mow enemies down with a gatling gun or just nom on their heads, Harley Quinn can swing from a grapple hook delivering colorful shots and blows with her baseball bat, Captain Boomerang can run as fast as his mouth and use teleport boomerangs, and Deadshot can create unique vantage points with his rocket-pack and his gun gameplay looks like it could be a blast. Suicide Squad continues to look like an ambitious game for Rocksteady and with WB Montreal’s Gotham Knights also set for next year, 2022 could be a breakout year for DC.
Alan Wake 2 Revealed; Remedy’s First Survival-Horror Game
Over a decade after the original Alan Wake, Remedy is finally making a sequel that debuted with an eerie, striking trailer. According to creative director Sam Lake, Alan Wake II will be the first survival-horror game from Remedy. Alan Wake already had some horror vibes to it, but the fact that Lake is saying that the sequel will be full blown horror is super exciting and Alan Wake II will likely be one of the most highly anticipated games going forward until its 2023 release.
Xbox Delivers First Looks at Hellblade II and the Halo TV series
Microsoft and Xbox heading into a strong new era is more apparent than ever and the Game Awards was a great showing of that. Aside from scooping up some awards, including Halo: Infinite winning the Player’s Choice Award, we finally got a deeper look at Ninja Theory’s upcoming sequel to Hellblade, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2. Personally, the trailer left me a little mixed. While it gave a great glimpse into the game’s bleak atmosphere and a visually stunning giant, the “gameplay” was a tad disappointing. I just hate when they show gameplay with no HUD or strong indicators that it really is gameplay, but host Geoff Keighley did confirm that it was, which is pretty impressive because of how seamless it was between cinematic and gameplay. Hellblade II is a very important first-party game for Xbox and while there’s still no release date for it, it’s great that we got another glimpse at its immersive visuals.
We also got a trailer for the new Halo TV series coming to Paramount+ in early 2022. In short, this series looks incredible with the way it’s bringing iconic locations and Master Chief (played by Pablo Schreiber), himself, to life. It definitely got the budget that’s needed to bring Halo to life and looks incredibly impressive. As PlayStation attempts to give their franchises live-action TV adaptations, the Halo TV series presents some stiff competition.
Star Wars: Eclipse Debuts; New Game from Quantic Dream
The reveal of Quantic Dreams’ long-rumored Star Wars games, officially titled Eclipse, was probably the biggest reveal of the night. Set in the High-Republic era of Star Wars, Eclipse debuted with possibly the most beautifully cinematic Star Wars trailer of all time with every image introducing endless possibilities for what players could experience. Now, the only question is: what kind of game is Quantic Dream making? Is Eclipse going to be like their other choice-driven narrative games or is it a big action epic that’ll be unlike anything they’ve made before? The answers are still unclear, but Eclipse looks really awesome and is easily one of my most anticipated games.
A Bunch of Updates
Throughout all the big reveals, there were also some smaller updates and announcements for pre-existing or already announced games. Elden Ring, which won the award for Most Anticipated Game for the second year in a row, delved into some of its fantasy lore with a new trailer. Among Us is taking its deception to VR. Destiny 2 showcased its upcoming expansion, The Witch Queen, that brings Mars back into the story. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands revealed more story and gameplay beats from its wild Dungeons and Dragons riff. Forspoken showed more amazing magic gameplay and movement with another trailer that revealed the game’s May 24th launch. The long-awaited Cuphead DLC, the Delicious Last Course, was finally given a full reveal and a release date and while the showing of Ms. Chalice gameplay and the new island was awesome, that release date is unacceptable. The DLC was originally announced in 2018 and the fact that fans are going to have to wait now until June 30th just to play a DLC is really frustrating considering some triple-A games get made faster in that timeframe.
Keanu Reeves and Carrie Ann Moss also stopped by to deliver some news about The Matrix including a new trailer for The Matrix: Resurrections. The new trailer for Resurrections gave fans a glimpse into Neo (Reeves) stepping back into The Matrix to meet a familiar, but younger face. The clips from other Matrix movies being shown on a projector were incredibly fascinating and while fans are waiting for Resurrections to hit theaters and HBO Max on December 22nd, they can now check out an Unreal Engine 5 demo that takes them straight into the Matrix.