January 27, 2023

If you have more than three hours to spare, you can watch the entire Game Awards presentation. If not, check out some of the best trailers below.

The annual The Game Awards ceremony on Thursday night was ostensibly about recognizing the best games to come out in the past year, and titles like God of War: Ragnarok and Elder ring ended the evening as big winners. But anyone who’s seen one of the annual Geoff Keighley-led awards shows in the past knows that The Game Awards aren’t really about the awards. They’re all about the myriad of “World Premiere” trailers and announcements for upcoming games coming this year and beyond.

In that spirit, we present Ars Technica’s first-ever “The Game Awards” Awards. The list below features our picks for the night’s most exciting, interesting, puzzling, or otherwise noteworthy trailers, all presented without the need to sit through more than three hours of awards show filler. Best of all, we can come up with the categories along the way, so we can award any worthy trailer we want.

So, without further ado, on to the prizes:

Hades II

Best Unexpected Sequel

Platforms: PC (with early access), consoles
Planned release: To be determined
links: Steam | Official website

The brief history of Supergiant Games only includes four games to date, and they’re all instant classics from 2011. Bastion until 2020 Hades. However, what none of them have been are sequels; Supergiant has a tendency to start over every time and create a new, strikingly original game from the ground up. So when a trailer for good Hades sequel showed up at The Game Awards, it was easily the most pleasant surprise of the night.

This time (according to an accompanying FAQ) you control Melinoë, a princess of the underworld who is trying to stop Chronos, the seemingly unstoppable Titan of Time herself. The settings and basic gameplay look very familiar in this trailer, even for a sequel. Then again, if you’re making a sequel to our favorite game of 2020, you might not need to change all that much.

Judas

Best “Bioshock” successor

Platforms: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S
Planned release: “Available soon”
links: Epic Games Store | Official website

Even without the introductory text screaming that it’s “from the creator of Bioshockit would be easy to clock Judas as a spiritual successor to Ken Levine’s popular franchise. Everything about this trailer screams “BioShock in space,” from characters who can “load” flame powers into the back of their hand, to using recontextualized folk music and old-fashioned set design to set the mood.

The trailer ends with a “Fix what you broke” message, not giving much context for exactly what that means. But the quick transitions between gameplay scenes feature enough heavily mechanized robots, destroyed space transports, and vague steampunk weaponry to pique our interest. Now that we are almost ten years ago Bioshock infinitewe can’t wait to see what Ken Levine and his new team at Ghost Story Games pull off in this all-new setting.

Dead stranding 2

The ‘Keep Going On’ Award

Platforms: PS5
Planned release: To be determined
links: Official website

Back in 2017, the trailer for the original Death stranding left us scratching our heads over what the hell we had just seen. And when we finally got to play the game in 2019, we can’t say the confusion has lessened that much.

The DS2 trailer starts off a bit more understandably, with a frightened mother figure cradling a baby as she tries to escape a shadowy threat on some sort of motorized unicycle. After she gets knocked down by a bullet and drops the baby to the floor, we go to Death stranding protagonist Sam Porter Bridges, looking at a huge metal levitating fortress rising from the black mud. “It’s time you hit the road and start a new journey,” we hear.

It seems relatively easy for Kojima, and despite the utter bewilderment of the first game, somehow we can’t wait to see what wild ridiculousness he has in store for us this time around.

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