The Best Trailers At The Game Awards Were The Ones You Weren’t Paying Attention To

How good or bad you felt The Game Awards were this year depends entirely on what you watch it for. If you want your favourite games to win, you probably had a good time – a lot of crowd pleasers won, and better yet, for the most part, the winners felt like the right picks even in hotly contested categories. If you watched it to celebrate those winners though, you’re out of luck – speeches were cut short, if they happened at all. Watching it to see if the industry can come together after a hard year for workers was a fast pass to disappointment, and then we come to the reason most of the general public tuned in – the trailers. This year’s show had the best production and the fewest leaks, but there were a lot of trailers you might have missed in the crush.


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I’m never really sure what the distinction is between the pre-show and the real show, considering they take place back to back in the same arena. The pre-show has some award speeches (though off to the side rather than the main stage), and the main event often rushes through awards, while which awards are given out in which part of the show are largely inconsistent. The pre-show is indecipherably lesser, despite having all the basic ingredients of the real thing. That includes the trailers, and if you tuned in later, you would have missed some of the most interesting things The Game Awards had to offer.

Metaphor ReFantazio main character

It got off to a very strong start, announcing sequels to both Pony Island and Curse of the Golden Idol, followed quickly by Windblown. At first, I thought this was a dull, cutesy, wholesome, seen it all before trailer as a cartoon rabbit sat with a cartoon bat. Then the rabbit got its head blown off. The stylised, bloody violence immediately kicked this game into another stratosphere, and while the gameplay itself didn’t match the energy of the cutscenes, I’m already intrigued.

The pre-show closed (or perhaps the main show opened) with Metaphor: ReFantazio, Atlus’ new game in the SMT universe, and by far the best all-rounder of the aesthetics class. Some games looked more unique, others had a little more quality, but no game combined a fresh art style and a triple-A polish anywhere near as well.

TGA Trailer, Lost Records, Four children looking down into a well

Big guns were firing constantly throughout the show too, and while the much rumoured Elden Ring DLC reveal, plus my personal favourite of a reveal for either the rumoured Tomb Raider or Spyro game, didn’t appear, there were a lot of major surprises. A shadowdrop of Final Fantasy 16’s DLC, plus the reveal of God of War Ragnarok’s free Valhalla update provided cherries on top, while Rise of the Ronin, Monster Hunter Wilds, and Blade put an end to the lack of major new games appearing in ceremonies or showcases this year. The absence of GTA 6 or The Last of Us was not felt, although you do feel like if TLOU had plumbed for a big ol’ world premiere over a tiny trailer in GTA’s immediate shadow, it might have gotten more discussion. Then again, with Kojima bringing his maybe sorta trailer for OD, maybe not.

Still, even amongst these, it was the weirder titles that provided a lot of intrigue. Whether Light No Fire counts as a big gun, given the eventual sustained success of No Man’s Sky, is up for debate – but the quality the trailer brought is not. Likewise, Lost Records: Bloom & Rage has some name-brand recognition from Life is Strange, but it’s clearly no Kojima. Yet, for all the discussion of how movies meet video games, it’s Don’t Nod’s reveal that I find myself thinking about more.

I loved Untitled Goose Game but just didn’t get the trailer for follow-up Big Walk, but it’s definitely the sort of trailer that belongs in this ‘interesting but no one will talk about it’ kind of bunch.

Speaking of name brand recognition, Abubakar Salim (best known for his role as Bayek in Assassin’s Creed Origins) took to the stage to promote his new game Tales of Kenzera: ZAU, all about his connection to his father. It seems, unlike some other indie games that explore familiar connections, to very actively be a video game, with Salim voicing the hero of this 2D action platformer. Ikumi Nakamura was another guest on stage to promote her game Kemuri, a slick explosion of footsteps and colours. It’s currently without a publisher, so we could be waiting a while, but still, it was one of the standout set pieces of the whole event.

Of course it’s a big deal that Kojima has finally revealed his Xbox game, and everyone was always going to cheer for more God of War Ragnarok and Final Fantasy 16. Those things are worth celebrating. But after such a big showcase, it’s important to give oxygen to the more creative offerings less likely to sway the masses. Even if it didn’t let winners give their speeches, The Game Awards at least gave us that.

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