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The Game Awards will deliver more gameplay, less CGI thanks to No Man’s Sky

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Lessons learned

The Game Awards statue

This year's Game Awards Show will feature more substance and less sizzle thanks in part to lessons learned from the bombastic lead up to No Man's Sky and the game's comparatively disappointing delivery, said host of the annual awards show Geoff Keighley.

"I have thought about the story of No Man's Sky a lot," Keighley told Polygon in a recent interview. "Did we create this black hole of hype that the developers couldn't pull themselves out of? Some of that was authored by me.

"There is a good moral of that story and it's part of what I'm trying to address this year; to have developers be more transparent about the state of their game."

The Game Awards will stream live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Dec. 1 to "celebrate the best games of 2016. While the event isn't aired on television, it will be streamed live on a variety of services including Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and YouTube. It will also be streamed in VR and for the first time, available to be watched live in China.

The show was created by Keighley in 2014 after he stopped hosting SpikeTV's VGX awards. No Man's Sky was announced during the final VGX show in 2013 and the first video for the game was premiered during The Game Awards’ inaugural show.

Since the game’s release, Keighley has been vocal about his concerns with the game prior to its release and how he feels it didn't live up to expectations at launch.

"I agree with the feedback and told that to [developer] Sean Murray," he said. "That game, when it was announced, everyone in their mind's eye came up with an idealized notion of what it was going to be.

No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky

"I knew the team and it was eight guys. The vision was never going to be achieved."

Keighley says the problems that arise from showing something early isn't just an issue that video game developers struggle with.

"The nature of showing anything in advance is challenging and it's a game of expectations," he said. "When Warner Bros. showed the first Suicide Squad everyone went crazy and the movie ended up being kind of not that great."

This year's Game Awards Show will focus on presentations that will provide "a little more context about what's there," Keighley said. Some of the games will be presented in an almost Let's Play format, with people playing a game for five minutes or so and showing off what's there, he said.

"We're going to have more diving deeper into games and gameplay," he said. "We're going to get deeper looks at premieres; they'll run four or five minutes.

"I think people will be surprised at the depth of some of the game content we will show this year."

He said in talking with developers, it appears they are all struggling with how best to present their games. Nowadays you have Steam’s Early Access, which essentially sells a person a still-in-development game, and you have games that have become services, with a constant flow of new downloadable content keeping it alive long past the typical shelf-life of a title.

"Six years ago if a game was announced in December and shipped in November and then was cycled again and again," Keighly said. "Now it's like there is no playbook, everyone does things differently and approaches it in a different way."