On Thursday, December 7th, the annual Game Awards took place and, while it was a more subdued show compared to past years, in my opinion, there were several new announcements and reveals that are worth highlighting. As such, I’ve compiled my seven most important announcements and trailers from the show. There may be some I missed or could be considered more important but, hey, my list, my rules. So without further ado, let’s dive right into this year’s Game Awards Highlights.

No Rest For The Wicked

It would be disingenuous of me not to admit that I was only half-watching this trailer until I saw this is the new title from Moon Studios, the creators of Ori and the Blind Forest. It was then that my eyes went wide and I was fully invested in the genre-shift unfolding before me. In an industry with so many games releasing every week or even every day it’s become harder to know which games will be the ones to give your undivided attention to so studios with a track record instantly pique my interest. Ori and the Blind Forest, both its original and sequel, are some of the best modern Metroidvania games so to see the studio shift towards a more top-down action RPG is intriguing on its own but the gameplay helped push that even forward. The game looks stunning, much like the team’s previous works, and manages to give off an incredibly brutal feel to the moment-to-moment gameplay and creatures. I have very high expectations for this title and can’t wait to learn and see more this March. Hopefully, this is another 2024 release we can sink our teeth into but, until then, if you haven’t played the Ori games then I highly recommend giving them a look.

Visions Of Mana

Did someone say JRPG?! Well, acton-JRPG. In my 20+ years of gaming, I’ve never touched the Mana games. I own Adventures of Mana on Vita and have seen the remake, Trials of Mana, many times and have considered giving it a try but have never taken the plunge. After seeing the announcement trailer of Visions of Mana, a brand new entry in the series, I went ahead and downloaded Trials of Mana to give the series its fair shake and get excited about Visions. To be honest, I don’t have a lot of background to go off of but this new game looks cute and fun, which is enough for me. It’s no high-budget JRPG like Final Fantasy XVI but I love that Square Enix continues to support all ranges of games so I want to continue to support them. Once I’ve had some time to play the predecessor I plan to give my thoughts and keep a close eye out for more news of Visions of Mana next year.

Final Fantasy XVI DLC

For 2023, Final Fantasy XVI sits among my favorite games of the year. It’s flawed and far from perfect, especially in a year with such insane highs, but the announcement of DLC, and a shadow-drop the first one at that, was awesome news. I haven’t decided if I’ll play Echoes of the Fallen right away or wait but it’s been enough time since I’ve completed the game that I’m itching for a little more. The DLC looks to become available towards the end of the game but just before the point of no return to provide a new location, enemies, and levels to experience. In addition, early next year, we’ll receive the second and final DLC for FFXIV which will give us the missing eikon from the base game, Leviathan, to battle. While DLC probably isn’t necessary for Final Fantasy XVI, I’m happy it exists and eager to dive in.


To be honest, while I love Konjima’s games, I’m at a level of non-hype for OD, at least not until I see more. In an industry full of broken promises, I can’t allow myself to be hyped for anything without any gameplay shown, especially when what’s being sold is more of an experience, maybe an experiential movie, rather than a game. However, when running through the show’s highlights, it would be wrong of me not to include something as important as Kojima’s OD, a new collaboration with Microsoft. That said, I would also be wrong if I didn’t say I’m not optimistic and trust Kojima to create something new and interesting. For the uninitiated, OD was previously announced as a Microsoft-partnered project, utilizing its cloud technology to create a new experience for the platform. At the Game Awards, we got a first sneak peek at the general vibe of the project and an announcement that Jordan Peele is also working on it, which does increase my interest. To top it off, the presentation on stage invoked the famous PT demo, which we can only assume is a general nod to what it’s going for. OD will certainly be equal parts interesting and confusing but I suspect we’ll be waiting quite some time to get a full idea of what Hideo Kojima’s newest project after Death Stranding 2 will be.

Marvel’s Blade

Of all the game announcements, this one was the biggest, genuine surprise for me. Arkane, the studio best known for Dishonored and now the developer of Marvel’s Blade, is in an awkward spot these days so I don’t know what to fully expect from this one. Even though this is not the same internal studio, Arkane is coming hot off what could have been the most disappointing game of the year (until some others aggressively stole the spotlight) in Redfall, another vampire-focused game like Blade, made by Arkane Austin. Marvel’s Blade, to its credit, is in development at the flagship studio, Arkane Lyon, known for Dishonored, an extremely under-appreciated series of games, and Deathloop, a worse game than any of the Dishonoreds, in my opinion, so Arkane isn’t at the height, for me, that it was once at. At the end of the day, however, I’m optimistic as this announcement came out of left field so anything is possible. All we know is that it’s still very early on, not really in full development yet, and that it’ll be 3rd person so something a little bit new for the studio. I’ll have my eye on this one but I don’t expect to hear anything concrete until 2026 or 2027, if standard timelines are to be expected.

Hellblade 2: Senua’s Saga

Continuing Xbox’s presence at the show, Hellblade 2, despite its marketing flubbing until now, is one of my most anticipated games coming next year and this trailer helped to cement that even more. The original Hellblade took a few attempts for me to understand and it wasn’t until I tried playing with headphones on that it finally clicked and I fell in love. Fast forward to now and Ninja Theory has access to Microsoft’s wide pockets to make what looks like one of the most visually impressive games to date. There were moments throughout the trailer where I wasn’t sure I was seeing a video game but instead a live-action movie. As long as Senua’s Sage retains what made the original special while giving it more diverse and expansive gameplay options, I can see this being one of Microsoft’s highest acclaimed hits in years. My only hope is that we won’t have to wait nearly a year for it to be released and instead see it within the first half of 2024. Hey, a boy can dream.

Monster Hunter Wilds

For the final announcement of the show, it needed to be something big, something to really surprise and delight and, while it might not be as glamorous to the mainstream viewers, Monster Hunter Wilds, the latest mainline release of Capcom’s biggest franchise, yes not Resident Evil, does fit the bill. Following Monster Hunter World, which Wilds looks to be more in line with for scope, and the seminal Monster Hunter Rise, this will be the biggest Monster Hunter game to date. To many, Monster Hunter may be very niche but, in reality, it’s a juggernaut of a franchise that took until MH: World to feel truly accepted in the West. The game that finally sold me was Monster Hunter Rise which first came to Nintendo Switch and added a lot of much-needed mobility and quality-of-life features that stole dozens upon dozens of hours from me as one of my favorite games that year. Monster Hunter Wilds will be massive and I can’t wait, even if it’s not releasing until 2025.

And with that, we wrap up another year of The Game Awards, our yearly December showcase where Geoff Keighley can flex his industry muscles and give us something fun and new to talk about. I’ve become accustomed to sitting down and watching the show each year so it’s great to be able to jot down some of my thoughts this time around. Cheers to another year as we approach 2024.