The producer and presenter of the event anticipates that the first 30-45 minutes of the event, broadcast on the night between Thursday and Friday at 02:00 Italian time, will be “crazy”.
Geoff Keighley he was once known as a videogame journalist, specializing in behind the scenes storytelling, in particular. Today, thanks to the relationships and contacts built in his previous life, he is however more of a curator: he keeps many of the industry secrets in his head and works with almost every publisher to create The Game Awards, a celebration of video game development and annual event that shows, and often unveils for the first time, new video games. What was it like making this change for Keighley, though? “Well, I’d like to have more time to play”, he says with a laugh in the interview granted to Gazzetta.it. “We are so busy creating the show. I really want to play Halo, but I don’t have the time ”.
Like Switzerland –
Clearly, it wasn’t just a matter of changing priorities. Due to his position as a producer e host of The Game Awards, Keighley must often keep the criticisms of video games and companies for himself, ‘betraying’ in a sense what it was in the past. This impartiality has often drawn criticism, such as when he told the Washington Post he wanted to see how to “explore” Activision Blizzard’s involvement in the show, following allegations of workplace harassment and abuse in the company. Many have pointed out that he never wants to get too far off on important issues, although he has never specifically said anything like that. Keighley then elaborated on the speech in a published note su Twitter, in which it states that Activision Blizzard will have no involvement in The Game Awards this year, other than nominations for some of its titles. Nominations are not dictated by the organization, but by the media partners involved who cast their votes before the event.
Who wins the Game of the Year award? –
“It’s always difficult for me because I have to be the Switzerland of the situation,” explains Keighley. “I am not involved in voting and it is always difficult when a game is nominated and people get mad at me. I see it on my social networks every time. ‘Keighley screwed these people, Keighley is a fanboy of this game’ and things like that. I’m inextricably linked to the show and always put my face to it. I drive it, I own it, so in the end I’m always responsible. But that’s not how things are. I am happy to be Switzerland in this case, because by doing so I let people discuss and I can take a step back from the debate when for example someone asks me who should win the award as game of the year. And, honestly, this year? I think there is no favorite. There are certain years where I think, ‘ok, it’s going to be God of War or Red Dead’. This year, I could say Resident Evil is great, like It Takes Two and Psychonauts. Maybe Deathloop could be a favorite in some ways. This is a fun year for me, because the voters will be very divided ”.
The historical moment with Josef Fares –
Keighley is right. Even for someone who has written 2021 video games for a whole year, it’s hard to pick a winner. It would be nice to see Arkane, Deathloop developer, finally receiving recognition, but can you imagine Hazelight’s Josef Fares speech if he were to take the stage to accept the Game of the Year award for It Takes Two? It would be like a nuclear explosion. Fares put his signature on one of The Game Awards’ most memorable (and memorable) moments. You probably remember it: he joined Keighley on stage in 2017, politely asked if he could swear, Keighley said yes and Fares said “Yes fuck the Oscars” three times in a row while holding his middle finger in front of the cameras. An even more significant gesture, if you consider that the Swede is a former film director who has relatively recently moved on to video games.
“He had his reasons”recalls Keighley. “Luckily he didn’t say ‘fuck the Game Awards’, right? It would have been a lot worse for me if he had had it with our show. He was paying us a compliment. Before airing, he told me he had just landed from Sweden. The LA Times had opened that day and there was an article in The Game Awards. He was very upset because he thought we didn’t need to be compared to the Oscars, because we are doing our own thing in our own way. “
“It’s hard because you’re on a live show, so you have to look after a lot of things and, when the show starts, I feel so much pressure. We have two and a half hours of things to go through. In my presentations, I always say things like ‘Hi, welcome to our show. Let’s go ‘. That’s when he left and I thought ‘oh my god, what’s going to happen now?’. There were so many things to think about that were about to happen, so I was taken aback for a moment, but it was a great moment. He has always been a great friend of the show. We announced A Way Out at our first show in 2014. He’ll be there in person this year, and it’s also great that most of the nominees will be at the theater with him. “
That time with Elden Ring –
Outside of The Game Awards, Keighley has announced the return of the Summer Games Fest, a digital event created to fill the void left by E3, the annual video game convention held in Los Angeles. The pandemic has inflicted a possibly lethal blow to E3, while Keighley’s most accessible event took advantage of it to settle down and gain ground. Last June, after two years of people praying on their knees that he was at Keighley’s shows, it was at the Summer Games Fest that Elden Ring showed its first gameplay trailer, complete with a date (later postponed for a month. ). Looking back at the presentation of Dark Souls creator’s next game, From Software, you can clearly see the satisfaction on Keighley’s face as he says his name.
“We worked on it for two or three years”Keighley reveals. “At every show I got questions about the game and even at last year’s The Game Awards, people really wanted something. It won the most anticipated game award but they weren’t really ready to show it. There was a lot of pressure. And that’s the big thing people don’t understand – the things they want, sometimes developers just aren’t ready to show them. There will certainly be situations again this year where we want to show things, but the developers simply won’t be ready ”.
“I was very happy because the trailer was great. It was a great asset, a highly anticipated game that lived up to expectations. There were so many good things in that trailer, so yeah, I was really excited to be able to bring it to people. This year? Oh dear, there are probably four or five things at that level. I can’t wait to show them to people. Summer Game Fest was a new thing that I had just created. The fact that From Software bet on me and Summer Game Fest was the place where they would do something more traditional than you usually see at E3, that meant a lot to me. It was a huge honor to work with the guys from From, so stay tuned, there might be more to come… ”.
La vera next-gen —
According to Keighley, people will have an idea of the “vero gameplay next-generation allo show”, so expect at least one or two big reveals for PS5 or Xbox Series X | S. He reads all the rumors online – most of which are wrong, it would seem – and knows what games people are hoping to see. Some may be at the event, others haven’t even begun a negotiation, and there will be other games you don’t even know exist, or completely new announcements from major studios.
“This is the fun part,” he adds. “Because there will always be someone who will say ‘I want this developer to be there, making this game’ or ‘I want this sequel’. But what happens if a new IP comes up? Probably six or ten of our games are things that people don’t even know exist, but we’re going to unveil them on the show in a fun way. We’ll see how it goes, but I’m pretty confident. It’s a very diverse lineup, made up of many studios from across the industry. This year the show turned out really well. There will always be people who are disappointed because Game X hasn’t been featured or the studio they wanted hasn’t brought something. But overall, I think this is one of our strongest lineups we’ve ever had in the history of the show. “
Watch out for the first half hour –
When he says he hopes to unravel the games in a fun way, Keighley speaks of collaborations between game creators and the team behind The Game Awards. They work together on each presentation, making sure each trailer is shown in a way that excites the audience. “The most important thing for me is to really have a partnership with these studios,” says Keighley. “It’s fun for me. I wake up most mornings and think, ‘oh, here’s a new kind of trailer.’ It’s a very collaborative thing. Some think we just get the trailers and air them, but we work with the developers on their cuts, we provide advice, we try to collaborate on the theatrical aspect of how these things are revealed on the show. “
At least, that’s what happens close to the show’s start date. The Game Awards, however, it always begins with fear. Every show starts from scratch and no one can dictate the release schedule, often not even video game publishers. It is like playing with chairs until the last useful moment before the broadcast. “It’s fun to know these secrets, but it also creates a lot of pressure,” explains Keighley. “What will be ready in time? And, since I don’t make the games myself, the fear is always: what if a year there is nothing to announce at The Game Awards? We have asked for all the things the internet wants, but maybe they are not ready or maybe they have been postponed. So I always live in fear that we won’t have enough announcements on the show, but every year it seems to work out somehow. “
“Last year was pretty tough because of the pandemic – so many things have been postponed and moved. I think we made it there too. We’ve had Mass Effect, Perfect Dark, Sephiroth in Smash, and so many other great things. But this year, especially in the first 30 or 45 minutes of the show, we have some really important things ”. The Game Awards hasn’t aired yet this year, but Keighley and his team are already looking forward to the next challenge. “Once we get into the new year and all the world premieres, it’s going to be a crazy show from that point of view,” he says. “I tell you”. What a great motivator fear is, right?
Written by Kirk McKeand for GLHF
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The Game Awards, interview with Geoff Keighley: “5 announcements at the Elden Ring”