The Game Awards started off on a personal, emotional, and ultimately uplifting note this year. Following the half-hour or so of pre-show footage, host Geoff Keighley took the stage to announce that Hideo Kojima, beloved creator of the Metal Gear Solid series, had been awarded the Industry Icon Award. Briefly summarizing the artist’s tumultuous year, from the cancellation of his project Silent Hills to being fired from longtime publisher Konami to being barred from accepting the awards won by MGSV at the 2015 Game Awards, Keighley stated, “We had to be back on stage this year to give one man a moment he was robbed of.”
Seemingly holding back tears, a smiling Kojima accepted the award and addressed the crowd, saying, “Last year I thought I lost everything. But I didn’t lose anything thanks to you.” Hideo Kojima is the man responsible for some of the best (and sometimes most convoluted) stories in video games. His creativity and influence are evident in every project he is a part of, making him one of gaming’s most recognizable creators. The sweetness of this award, and the flood of emotions that would have accompanied it had the people involved not restrained them, was tempered slightly by the shadow of the year that had preceded it. But the ripples of good vibrations from this moment were felt throughout the night’s presentation.
Developers took the microphone at every opportunity during the night to speak about how their games were meant to speak to the freedom and the sense of community that can be found within this industry. Whether it was Jeff Kaplan from Blizzard, YouTube Gamer Boogie2988, or voice actor Nolan North, the event was truly a celebration of not just games, but the people behind them. Such a night could not have got off to a better start than honoring one of the true visionaries of the medium. Sometimes all the pomp and attempts at being trendy at these kinds of presentations can make the whole affair feel somewhat disingenuous to me. Kojima’s “triumph” was one of the most genuinely heartwarming things I’ve seen all year. Well done Kojima. Now what is going on in Death Stranding?