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The Game Awards 2016 Highlights: 'Death Stranding', Mass Effect, 'Overwatch'

The Game Awards brought lots of trailers, some awards, and a moment of real reflection.

by Danielle Riendeau
Dec 2 2016, 1:00pm

Image above: 'Uncharted 4: A Thief's End' screen courtesy of Sony

The Game Awards 2016 have wrapped up, and hoo boy, were there a lot of trailers. There were awards, too, and a few musical acts, and even a razor-shilling robot! Here's a look at the most noteworthy news coming out of the event.

Death Stranding Has a New Trailer, Remains Confusing

After a loving marriage proposal introduction, Hideo Kojima came up to accept his Industry Icon award and show off a new trailer for Death Stranding, his upcoming project, first unveiled at E3 this year. 

The new clip was full of the kind of lovingly-rendered, pregnant imagery we've come to know and love (depending on your tastes) from Kojima: babies in bottles, soldiers and tanks, a mysterious black oil that looks a little like the stuff that came out of the best years of The X-Files. Mads Mikkelsen also cries black oil tears. 

We don't really know much about the game yet, but the new trailer was reportedly drawn from PS4 Pro footage.

Above: 'Death Stranding' trailer from The Game Awards

The Impact Award Goes to That Dragon, Cancer

Amidst the bombast of an award show heavy with marketing and some awkward scene transitions, Ryan Green from Numinous Games gave a teary, brave speech upon accepting the Impact Award for That Dragon, Cancer. The game is about his family's real-life struggle with their young son's cancer. It was a very real, very human moment, of which host Geoff Keighley said, "Well, that's the reason we do the show," as the camera cut back to him.

Nolan North Takes a Stand (For Naughty Dog and Sony?)

Nolan North won best performance for his (final?) turn as Nathan Drake in Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. As the veteran voice actor gave his remarks, he included some strong words about the state of the current SAG-AFTRA strike that's affected voice actors in the industry. North praised the work of every developer at Naughty Dog, stating: "Their performance matters more than mine. And that's important in this day and age, with all this talk going back and forth. Because without their performance, my performance wouldn't matter. It wouldn't even exist."

It's always good to praise developers for their hard work, but North's comments can be seen as a slap in the face of striking voice actors, especially because he started with "Performance matters," referencing the #performancematters hashtag that striking actors have been using. Hey, yeah, things aren't so bad if you're as established and prolific as Nolan North, but for a very different side of the industry voice acting experience, read our interview with Final Fantasy XV voice talent Ray Chase.

Mass Effect: Andromeda In Action

Mass Effect: Andromeda screen courtesy of EA

Mass Effect: Andromeda was shown in a heavily edited segment that showed glimpses of actual gameplay footage: including a character-heavy scene, some NOMAD (think the MAKO of the first game, but supposedly better) sequences, and a more-open-than-usual combat arena. It hit all the right Mass Effect-y notes, minus the space-dating.

Overwatch Wins Game of the Year

Overwatch won big last night: for best multiplayer, best eSports game, best game direction, and, oh yeah, the big one: game of the year. Accepting the Best Game Direction award, Jeff Kaplan was quick to thank the incredible Overwatch fandom for their support, and yeah, that was the right move.

Overwatch itself is a fun, colorful, well-balanced game. But Overwatch fandom is even more fun to follow: it's an inclusive, diverse group of players and creators who just really, really love these characters, and watching that group of folks grow and play and make their art has been one of the greatest pleasures of 2016, for me.

Blizzard's Ray Gresko hit on the positive, warm and inclusive tone of the game upon receiving the Game of the Year statue: "We've been very happy with how the game has been received, we're also extremely proud that this game and the world that we're building has a message and it's a message about heroism. It's a message about diversity. It's a message about a bright and positive and hopeful future."

That was the high note that I think we all needed the show to end on.

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