Pop Culture

The Game Awards Rushed Through Nominations, Acceptance Speeches To Play Ads

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 07: Actors Aaron Moten, Ella Purnell, and Walton Goggins speak onstage during "Fallout" Cast and Creator at The Game Awards at Peacock Theater on December 07, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

Christopher Judge’s fun and snarky comments against Call of Duty were a great way to start this year’s Game Awards, but that’s where most of the praise ends for this year’s program. Were the Game Awards 2023 even for gamers? This was a question circulating on Twitter, TikTok, and other social media platforms. The event lost its plot when advertisements and actors came before the actual games and game developers people cared about. Game Awards 2023 ran for approximately two hours, but only 30 minutes of the broadcast focused on video games.

People on social media who watched this year’s stream felt outraged and disrespected by the video game industry. Many took to social media to complain that the celebrity interviews ran longer than the thank-you speeches from the awards winners.

Various parts of the program were hard to watch. Those who ran the show displayed very little consideration for non-English speakers, who needed translators to get their message across. Lead Designer Eiji Aonuma for Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom had to shakily deliver his speech in less than a minute, even though he clearly had more to say about his game. Lead Audio Director Shuichi Kobori for Hi-Fi Rush practically had to rap his speech to fit the time limit, as if he were running after beats in his own game. Both developers had to speak faster because they had translators with them. If they had been given more time, maybe they would’ve been able to talk more about their award-winning games.

When Christopher Judge opened the program, daring the next person who would win Best Performance this year to beat his eight-minute speech in 2022, clearly he meant that sarcastically. Neil Newbon was crying over his win for Best Performance only to be told to “Please Wrap It Up” by a teleprompter barely a minute into the speech. He was talking about how Baldur’s Gate 3 helped so many people and made them feel visible. But his lovely message was cut short by ads about games coming out in 2024. Even the Game of the Year (GOTY) winner, Baldur’s Gate 3, wasn’t spared from the implicit one-minute speech rule imposed throughout the awards. Larian Studios wanted to pay tribute to their colleagues who passed during the production of the game, which took six years to complete. People wouldn’t know who they were, and CEO Swen Vincke was only able to squeeze in Jim Southworth, their recently deceased cinematic artist lead.

It’s painfully ironic to spend almost no time on award winners during an awards show. But nothing beats the cruelty of making the winner of Game of the Year cut his speech short while giving tribute to his colleagues who passed away. Advertisements, teasers, and trailers about upcoming games are welcome at awards shows. After all, these companies are reaching the very fans they hope will buy their games. But when all is said and done, the Game Awards 2023 were hijacked from gamers by celebrities and marketing campaigns.

It’s as if the awards show wasn’t produced with gamers in mind, who are only watching the program to see if their favorite title won anything this year. The show ran for nearly three hours, and not even an hour could be spared for the winners, who never even got to get on stage. If this was how production intended to run this year’s Game Awards, then listing off winners and recording their victory speeches might’ve made this a better show.

(featured image:  Anna Webber/Getty Images for Prime Video)

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