Besides announcing the big winners and unveiling new projects, this year’s Game Awards will also include a slew of yet-to-be-released game demos that will be free on PC, including Spiritfarer, Digital Trends’ E3 Best Visuals award winner.
Developed by Thunder Lotus, Spiritfarer has players control Stella, a ferry master who builds a ferry boat and embarks on a journey to explore the world while also befriending and caring for animal spirits before finally releasing them into the afterlife. Spiritfarer blew us away at this year’s E3 because of its unique lighting effects and highly detailed, hand-drawn 2D art style. While no official release date has been announced, Spiritfarer will arrive sometime next year for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Game Awards host Geoff Keighley explained in a Medium post earlier this week that for the first time in the show’s history, it will debut The Game Festival. A consumer-focused and digital-only event, providing more than a dozen limited-time demos to download and play on Steam.
According to Keighley, the original concept for The Game Festival was to emulate the hand-on experiences found at gaming trade shows and consumer events, like E3 or PAX East. “Now feels like the right time to take the next step with The Game Festival, a completely digital approach to the consumer event space,” Keighley said. “The Game Festival is designed from the ground up as an event without barriers, extending the benefits of a physical event to the global gaming community that watches The Game Awards.”
The games will be available until Saturday, December 14, at which point Valve will remove all the demos from its digital distribution platform. Other limited-time demos available for the next 48 hours include Chucklefish’s science-fiction RPG title Eastward, Nightdive Studio’s System Shock remake, the co-operative love story Haven by The Game Baker’s, and a bird-centric skateboarding game called SkateBird.
The Game Awards kicks off at 5:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. ET today, Thursday, December 12. It will be livestreamed on more than 60 platforms, including Facebook, Mixer, Steam, Twitch, and YouTube. Before the show airs, check out our predictions for which games we think will take home awards this year.
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