If you are someone who has followed The Game Awards (TGA) since its start, it can be fair to say that it has grown quite a bit since four years ago. There were many attempts to try and get a proper game award up and running, but through a lot of trial and error, the show has become just about as big as any day at E3. It’s a show that not only acknowledges the best games we got throughout the year, but it also serves as a preview of things to come the following year. The show itself still has issues that need grinding out, but overall, most people would say that it is a good show.
This year did get some big announcements and a fun sketch with the Muppets fighting off a goose. From a few small teasers of games coming next year and the future, and even the official announcement of the Xbox Series X’s console and name, all eyes were on what the final announcement of the show was going to be. Could Sony give us a game to look forward to at launch? Would Microsoft reveal another high-end game for us to enjoy in 2020? Who could the final DLC character in Smash Ultimate’s Fighter’s Pass?
The answer to all of those questions is a rather hilariously disappointing: No. Instead, we got to see the world premiere to a brand new game that isn’t actually a racing game: Fast & Furious Crossroads. And… well… it’s a video game. Yay?
A Vote of Zero Confidence
So there’s a Fast & Furious game coming soon: Should we care? According to the initial reaction: not so much, no. If you saw the trailer itself, you probably saw tons of issues such as graphics that look like they belong in the previous generation (or even on during the PS2 era and mobile), gameplay that doesn’t really inspire excitement, and even the trailer freezing around the 0:50 mark.
Even on the YouTube comment thread, people are not holding back on pointing out the flaws. Some say that this looks like something you’d see out of GTA V while others make mention of how Vin Diesel looked so much better in other games using his image such as Wheelman and The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena.
Fast & Furious Crossroads come from Slightly Mad Studios, the same team that brought us the Project CARS series. Fast & Furious Crossroads is set to be a “team-based, vehicular-heist action game set in the adrenaline-fueled Fast & Furious universe.” It will feature an authentic storyline that will give players access to gadgets and non-stop cinematic-style action in both single-player and multiplayer that will be revealed at a later time. The game will also feature Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Tyrese Gibson reprising their roles as Dom, Letty, and Roman.
Significance of Having the Final Announcement
Is it fair to say that The Game Awards usually end on one big, final announcement? Is it really that a big deal? The answer is… of course it is! At least up until this year. Let’s take a brief look at the history of their “Final World Premiere Announcement” so you understanding its significance.
Last year, when onlookers were getting ready for the “Game of the Year” Awards, the lights cut off and we got to see Joker running around before showing that he got an invitation to Smash Brothers Ultimate; a game that was about to come out in less than an hour. Needless to say, Joker did serve at not only the first character in Smash Brother Ultimate’s Fighter’s Pass, but we got to also enjoy a nice orchestra rendition for the game too.
In 2017, we got Metro Exodus. The third game in the Metro series, the game continued to tell the story of Artyom as he continues his continent-spanning journey to the far east with his allies. The game itself got generally favorable reviews and sits at around 82 on Metacritic across the platforms.
And then there were the games that didn’t do so well at launch.
And in 2016, we got… Mass Effect Andromeda closed out TGA 2016?! Ok, so we probably don’t need to go into details about how the game did when it did launch in 2017, but consider the state of Mass Effect was back then: how Mass Effect 3 was being declared as a “Must Play” back in 2012, a lot of people were rather excited to get their hands on this brand new story in a universe they have come to love in the trilogy. Obviously, it didn’t pan out, and Mass Effect was put on the shelf and was the start of bad things to come for BioWare, but let’s digress.
And since The Game Awards is five years old, we might as well talk about what the first final announcement was back in 2015. Remember how big Telltale’s The Walking Dead was? Well, they made an announcement for The Walking Dead Michonne. A three episode event which didn’t exactly grab the attention of players as much as the first two seasons, but was still something fans of both the series and the games got to look forward to.
As you can imagine, each game that was the final “world premiere announcement” was rather significant. Perhaps the best way to summarize all four announcements here is simple: a follow-up to a highly loved franchise (or in Joker’s case, the announcement of new fighters coming to Smash Ultimate in 2019). And really when you compare these four with what we saw with Fast and Furious, you can say that the one with cars feels rather lackluster in comparison. Even Mass Effect Andromeda got a higher reception from gamers than Fast and Furious Crossroads upon initial reveal.
Was there a better way to close out the show?
It really does baffle the mind why they thought Fast & Furious Crossroads was the best way to close the show. Of course, you can say it was for the star power of Vin Diesel but the history of Fast and Furious games is laughable. Not to mention with series like Need For Speed, one could argue that we already have had our Fast & Furious experience and done better than what we saw here.
Still, it begs to question then: could The Game Awards close their show on a different blockbuster announcement? The answer should be self-explanatory, but before we state the obvious one, let’s point towards a few games.
With the Final Fantasy 7 Remake coming in less than 80 days, we got a new trailer to excite everyone for it.
You had Grimes come out and perform for the audience music that will be coming for Cyberpunk 2077, which many would say was an amazing performance (or more so than Green Day).
And speaking about live performances to games–GHOST OF TSUSHIMA! After Sony’s State Of Play, we finally got to see it reappear with The Game Awards Orchestra playing the music to the trailer like it was God of War!
The Undermining of Series X
But above all of those, Microsoft made the choice to use The Game Awards to reveal not just the name of their next console: Xbox Series X (to which, it could have the same name issues like the Wii and Wii U. Xbox One X and Xbox Series X), but also the second game that will be coming to the console: Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2. How big that would have been to close out the show with not only a console reveal for the next generation, but to show Hellblade 2 as an exclusive title for the console.
They actually thought it was more important to show Fast and Furious Crossroads at the end instead of the Xbox Series X… Please say that out loud and tell me I’m not going insane writing that! Even if there was something in the agreements that said Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez had to be the ones to present the Game of the Year Awards, you could have shown Fast & Furious Crossroads at the pre-show, have them come out, talk about how excited they are for the game coming soon, their love for “Tuh-Ken,” and let them be goofy without using the trailer to make it feel even more dragged out.
Above all else, it should be noted that this isn’t just hating on the game for looking lackluster, or the presenters being a touch cringy but more to the idea that they honestly thought that Fast & Furious Crossroads was the best way to close out the show. That was a misfire and hope that when we get to The Game Awards 2020, the choice for which game they show as the last one is given much more careful consideration.
So will Fast and Furious Crossroads be a good game? Time will tell on that one when it comes out. The games from the Project CARS series are ‘generally favorable’ and it does serve as a nice alternative to the other racing games we normally get every year. For all we know, Fast and Furious Crossroads might be the best racing game next year. Perhaps much like how Mass Effect Andromeda had a great reveal, but a lackluster release, maybe this game had a weak reveal, but the gameplay will be worthwhile. If that were to happen, then I’ll be happy to eat some delicious crow and buy the game at full price when it arrives on May 2020 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.