The Top Ten Announcements from the Game Awards 2021

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Coming annually every holiday season, the Game Awards celebrates the achievements of the current year’s video game industry, crowning several titles for their enginuity, narrative and design along with many other categories. But between the celebrity appearances, musical performances and, of course, the awards themselves, the Game Awards also act as a platform for companies and developers to announce future projects, generating tons of hype for the upcoming years. Today we look at ten of the best and most exciting announcements made this year at the Game Awards 2021. 

Starting off strong, the creators of interactive action-adventure video games Heavy Rain and Detroit: Become Human, Quantum Dream, are now behind the next big title for the Star Wars franchise: Star Wars Eclipse. Taking place during the High Republic era and about 200 years before the Skywalker Saga, Eclipse will feature an original story and unique new characters, each with their own paths, abilities, and roles to play in the tapestry of events that could alter the carefully balanced peace in an uncharted section of the Outer Rim.” according to Lucasfilms Games and Quantum Dream. The game promises “an intricately branching action-adventure game” with new villains separate from the classic Empire and worlds wildly different than anything seen in films and games prior, re-introducing fans to an older galaxy before the Skywalkers and Palpatines ever even existed. 

After several tidbits of news sprinkled onto the internet in the past month, the Game Awards gave us the first official trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog 2. With Ben Schwartz and Jim Carrey returning as Sonic and Dr. Ivo Robotnik respectively, Sonic 2 will introduce the blue blur’s closest friends Tails – voiced by the original actress Colleen O’Shaughnessy – and Knuckles, – voice by Idris Elba – who will act as Robtonik’s personal soldier to go one-on-one with the Hedgehog. With a release date for April 8, 2022, the movie will follow the “Sonic v. Knuckles” storyline and promises the introduction of the Master Emerald, a common macguffin seen through many Sonic games alongside the more classic “Chaos Emeralds,” however it is unknown if the ladder will also be seen or not. Riding off the success of the first 2020 film, fans are excited to see where Paramount takes the speed demon. 

A small trailer was premiered during the Game Wards giving fans their first “look” per se at Monolith Productions, DC and Warner Bros. Games’ new project, a Wonder Woman video game. The trailer shows Princess Diana in her classic Amazonian armor with the golden Lasso of Truth and a voiceover from her mother stating “my daughter, a new threat comes to our shores, and I must call you home. Restore what has been broken.” The story will follow Diana “[uniting] her Amazon family and the humans from the modern world” according to Monolith, and will act as a single-player, third-person, open-world action-adventure game seeing the return of the Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor famous “Nemesis System”, where enemies get more and more difficult to fight as players get better at the combat, increasing the challenge of the game even when you’re technically fighting the same baddies from the beginning of your playthrough. 

On the more horror end of things, Bokeh Game Studio – founded by Gravity Rush and Silent Hill creator Keiichiro Toyama – announced their first project, a survival horror video game presumably set in modern Tokyo centered around grotesque, skeletal flesh spiders nesting inside people, all wrapped up perfectly by the video game’s title: Slitterhead. Bokeh Game Studios was set up by Toyama after leaving Sony Japan alongside Junya Okura – lead game designer for Gravity Rush – and Kazunobu Sato – producer for Team Ico’s The Last Guardian, all three working on the new Slitterhead alongside Silent Hill music composer Akira Yamaoka. With no confirmed release date beyond possibly coming out in 2023 and an unknown plot, many fans are left confused, scared and intrigued to learn more about what could be the next most horrific video game put to consoles. 

To go along with the Sonic 2 trailer, Sega’s next big title for the “Fastest Hedgehog Alive” was finally shown, Sonic Frontiers, “an open-world experience” which “will feature an original storyline” according to Sonic Boom writer Ian Flynn. Continued by Sonic Team USA creative officer Takashi Iizuka, “Sonic Frontiers is a huge leap forward for the franchise, delivering an evolved gameplay experience that can be enjoyed by longtime sonic fans and action-adventure enthusiasts alike.” Originally announced back in May 2021 as part of the Sonic central livestream to celebrate the franchise’s 30th anniversary, the game is said to be released Holiday 2022 and coming to the Nintendo Switch, both Playstation 4 and Playstation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X. 

After 11 years, Remedy Entertainment has returned to announce the long awaited single to their famous action-adventure game, Alan Wake II. The trailer showcased the style and vibe of the sequel as a survival horror with transitions between the woods to a small town in a minor rainstorm and the main character – Alan Wake – warning the audience that “monsters wear many faces.” Remedy creative director Sam Lake made several comments about the sequel on the Playstation Blog following the game’s announcement, “Alan Wake 2 is our big fish. We are diving deeper than ever, into an ocean of darkness, […] Whereas the first Alan Wake had horror elements in it, it was an action game. Alan Wake 2 is Remedy’s first survival horror game. Our take on the genre. Our opportunity to truly connect the gameplay and the story. It is a deep, layered mystery.” The game is set to release sometime in 2023 and will be playable on Playstation 5, Windows PC via the Epic Games store and Xbox Series X. 

Somerville is a “Sci-fi action adventure that chronicles the lives of key individuals in the wake of a global catastrophe” according to developers Jumpship, a new indie game company founded by video game and movie animator Chris Olsen and co-founder and ex-CEO of Playdead, Dino Patti.  Much like Playdead’s Limbo and Inside, Somerville – set to release in 2022 – appears to be a side-scrolling action game with flat-shaded graphics which follows a family in a post-apocalyptic, “War of the Worlds” style Earth traveling through the ruins of civilization and discovering alien artifacts built to exterminate humankind. “It’s taken many early rises and late nights crafting this passion project of mine, and it’s a dream come true to be given the opportunity to bring others on who can help to make Somerville everything it can be.” Olsen has stated about the game, “I believe video games have a potential to transcend the mediums it borrows from to bring not only meaningful emotional experiences but ones you cannot get anywhere else.”

Developed by Daedalic Entertainment, Lord of the Rings: Gollum: The Untold Story is a single-player, action-adventure and open-world stealth game following Gollum on the hunt for and protecting his “precious” before the events of The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring. The game is said to have a focus on non-linear gameplay, work with NPC allies and Gollum’s split personality as a key element to the game. Based more off of J.R.R. Tolkien’s original books than Peter Jackson’s movie trilogy, the game will introduce us to a version of Gollum quite different from Andy Serkis’ iconic performance. Gollum: The Untold Story was originally set to release in 2021 but was pushed to the following year, and although the exact release date is still unknown, the game was slated to be available on Playstation 4 and Playstation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, Xbox One, Windows PC and Nintendo Switch. 

Premiering at the Game Awards with a full six minute long trailer showcasing our titular character and her band of warriors hunting down and attempting to slay a giant, Hellblade 2: Senua’s Saga is an action-adventure video game set in 9th-century Iceland following the events of the first game – Senua’s Sacrifice – which took place in late 8th-century Helheim, one of the nine realms of Norse mythology. According to the producers Ninja Theory, the entire trailer showcased was a blend of cinematic cutscenes and actual gameplay footage, promising a beautiful and dark third-person video game with gorgeous, shore-soaked graphics. With no known release date or list of consoles to be playable on, Senua’s Saga is not expected anytime soon since it’s so early in development, although hope has been extended to a possible 2023 release date. 

And to finish off our list, Paramount+ gave audiences their first look at the new American military sci-fi television series, Halo, written by Kyle Killen and Steven Kane and produced by Amblin Television, 343 Productions, and several other studios. The show will follow the 26th-century war between the United Nations Space Command and the alien race of the Covenant, and will specifically take place early in the war and before the events of the first Halo game. Pablo Schreiber is set to star as Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 with Jen Taylor reprising her role as Master Chief’s A.I. assistant Cortana and Natascha McElhone as Dr. Catherine Halsey, a scientist for the UNSC and creator of the Spartan-II project and Master Chief himself. Development started in 2015 and filming began in Ontario, Canada in 2019, although reshoots are underway for the first five episodes due to complications from the COVID-19 pandemic, but the expected release date is early 2022. 

Of course that’s not all announced. There was an Unreal Engine 5 demo released for The Matrix titled The Matrix Awakens. A new trailer for Elden Ring from Dark Souls and Bloodborne developers FromSoftware. The first show of gameplay for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League and Horizon: Forbidden West. The Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course DLC announcement. Several space related titles from Telltale Games such as Star Trek: Resurgence and The Expanse. A multiplayer horror game based on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The trailer for an off-Earth odyssey called Planet of Lana. And lastly a video game based off Dune titled “Dune: Spice Wars.” The Game Awards 2021 was big, even without several desired announcements, and sets up 2022 and 2023 to be very special years for the video game industry.