The Phantom Pain unmasked at VGA 10

The tenth annual Spike TV Video Game Awards was broadcast worldwide from Sony’s Studios in Culver City last night.  The event was on Spike TV and simulcast on various websites and Xbox Live.  The VGAs have often been criticized for crude antics and sophomoric humor but, was surprisingly a little more tasteful in its tenth iteration. Hosted by Samuel L. Jackson, the festivities kicked off with a South Park video which started off the bleeping with a bang.  The real controversy of the night started with the showing of the second world premiere game trailer, for a game called The Phantom Pain.

The trailer for The Phantom Pain looks really good but, the name doesn’t really roll off the tongue in a way that sounds credible.  Sitting in the press room at the event, Jason Evangelho from Forbes.com was wondering aloud as the trailer played if this was a new Metal Gear game.  That seemed a little unlikely considering the release of Metal Gear Rising:  Revengeance is still a few months off.  A web search of the credited production team, Moby Dick Studio, which is a telling name itself, reveals a newly constructed website.  The Site reveals the studio’s head as Joakim Mogren.  Interestingly, Joakim can be an anagram of Kojima and Mogren contains the word ogre, which is Kojima Productions’ top secret project.

VGA 10 took a moment to recognize Hideo Kojima for Metal Gear’s 25th anniversary and a Konami after-party was held at the Greystone Manor Supperclub in West Hollywood.  This left plenty of time to question Konami reps about The Phantom Pain trailer.  Without ever verbally confirming the connection, the winks, knuckle bumps and other non-verbal cues all but confirm the assertion.  A few guests at Konami party were also wearing Moby Dick Studios shirts.  The only question that remains is whether this game is Metal Gear Solid 5 or something else.

In regards to the rest of the Video Game Awards, there were some great trailers and few real surprises.  South Park: The Stick of Truth looks like it will be great fun and the more niche Dark Souls 2 getting precious screen time was a complete shock.  Additional gameplay footage from the new Tomb Raider, The Last of Us and Bioshock: Infinite drew plenty of applause.  In another surprise, the downloadable content for Assassin’s Creed 3 and Halo 4 got their trailers showcased as well.

 

 

 

 

Halflife 2 deservedly won game of the decade for allowing us all to expect more out of shooters.  The surprisingly fun The Walking Dead game shockingly won game of the year honors.  As good as The Walking Dead game is, putting it in the same category as the other games seems unfair.  On an expectations level, I agree but in an apples to apples comparison, there’s no way it’s on the same level.  The other travesty of the night is that Claptrap from Borderlands won the character of the year award which to this writer, is akin to naming Jar Jar Binks as the best Star Wars character.

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