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VGAs 2011 – Round-Up

VGAs 2011 – Round-Up

So the VGAs happened in the early hours of morning UK time, kicking off at 1am and drawing to a painful conclusion at around 3.30am or so. That probably wasn’t the exact time but after two hours of Felicia Day chopping fruit, cock jokes and will.i.am appearances, my eyes were starting to bleed and my brain was turning to mush so whatever.

Point is, VGAs are supposed to be a celebration of gaming. It wasn’t. I’ll get onto that in a second. But first, here’s what was shown off:

Mass Effect 3 – A new trailer for BioWare’s RPG which showed (confirmed?) that the third part of the trilogy would be moving in an action direction. There wasn’t anything new gameplay wise, especially not in the aftermath of the highly publicised leak, but the level of polish and scale of the action was what you’d expect. It would just be disappointing if you wanted to see the RPG side of the formula.

The Last Of Us – Surprisingly, this was shown to be Naughty Dog’s new game, not Uncharted 4 or a new Jak title (they spoke to us about what to expect from the next Uncharted title in the next issue of Play, so look out for that). The trailer showed a man and a daughter, struggling to survive in a world over-run by zombie creatures. Think I Am Legend for reference. Visually, it’s clearly done by the same team responsible for Uncharted, although the tone was pretty sombre and bleak. Looks very interesting, especially as the focus seems to be on the story side of survival, something Naughty Dog will be able to pull off with its collective Uncharted experience.

BioShock Infinite – There wasn’t an awful lot new shown off in the latest trailer for BioShock Infinite, with the biggest difference being that Elizabeth’s… physique has been toned down slightly. The trailer mainly focused on her interaction with NPCs. Looks brilliant but it’s a shame the trailer didn’t really open up and show off the game.

Command & Conquer Generals 2 – This is BioWare’s new title. The shortest trailer of all on the night, it didn’t show us anything other than this will be a Command & Conquer game that falls in line with the series traditions (at least visually) following the craziness of Red Alert 2.

Fortnite – The new project by Epic Games. It looks like a cross between Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead, with the cartoony look as far away from the Gears of War vibe as you can get. No word on platforms yet.

Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD – Originally thought to be an announcement at the VGAs, this was actually revealed the night before. It’ll be a PSN release which takes levels from Tony Hawk Pro Skater and Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, presumably with the gameplay mechanics (such as manuals) of the latter.

Amazing Spider-Man – Not a particularly amazing trailer, mostly because anyone who’s played Spider-Man games this gen will struggle to see how this looks any different. It’s not indoors, so it has that over the recent Edge of Time disaster.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron – An effective trailer, as it uses the increasingly common trick of having slow music contrasting with the explosive action in the background. Hard to pinpoint anything that’s particularly dazzling or new but it looks interesting, at the very least.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance – This was leaked just before the VGAs kicked off but was the biggest surprise of the night. Platinum Games, of Bayonetta and Vanquish fame, has taken over development duties with the three-minute trailer being a lot faster paced and excessive than the old trailers for Metal Gear Rising were previously. The Revengeance title, as awful as it is, is sadly official and shown off in the trailer to confirm it. The slashing/cutting mechanic has survived but Kojima seems to be positioning this as a spin-off as much as anything else, which has allowed Platinum room to make Revengeance deliciously OTT.

And those were the games that were shown off. There was a hint at Batman: Arkham World thrown in during the night’s proceedings, but that could be people willing to see a sequel tease where none exists. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim walked off with Game of the Year award.

Unfortunately, Skyrim producer Todd Howard decided not to dragon shout and FUS DO RAH the entire show off the planet and forever from our minds, because the VGAs was mostly awful. A weird mix of washed up celebs (American Pie cast, Charlie Sheen), awkward jokes (pointing out Alfred Hitchcock has the word cock in it) and needless comedy skits (Felicia Day eating cream pies or something), the VGAs exist at that point where producers want to drag gaming towards mainstream but neither side is really interested in the other.

This isn’t just us being grumpy because it’s 3.51am and we really want to sleep either. As much as seeing Hulk Hogan and LL Cool J prompted nods of approval, it was seeing the developers there – Miyamoto’s speech, Hideo Kojima’s endearingly awkward English, Sefton Hill being as humble as he’s ever been – that meant a lot more than having endless C-celebs being trotted out to ake dick jokes and dishing out ‘gamers are nerds lol!’ high-fives.

The re-emergence of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance will likely cause the most chatter over the coming weeks but in the immediate aftermath, people are just talking about how bad the VGAs are. Fingers crossed then that it’ll improve next year because gamers deserve an awards show that gives them a real stage to celebrate our hobby and on this performance, VGAs are not that stage.