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The Game Awards 2021: Start times, how to watch, what to expect and all nominees

The Game Awards kick off at 5 p.m. PT, 8 p.m. ET.

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The annual Game Awards will broadcast from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. 

Game Awards

Today is the day of days for video games: The annual Game Awards, a night featuring a swanky award ceremony, a bunch of new trailers and a few world-premier reveals for the games of 2022 and beyond. 

Now playing: Watch this: Game Awards 2021: Watch all the trailers revealed
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We've already been teased with big news leading up to the show, including a proper look at The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, a trailer for the Suicide Squad game and a sneak peek at the upcoming Halo TV show. Show host Geoff Keighly has teased on Twitter that one world premier at the Game Awards has been in the works for two and a half years.

The 2021 Game Awards will be broadcast from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Dec. 9, a welcome return to normalcy after last year's all-virtual show. 

Apart from world premiere trailers and reveals, there's the actual awards themselves, which will also include musical performances and guest appearances by celebrities. Stars announced to appear on the show include Sting, Jim Carrey and Keanu Reeves.  Here's what you need to know about 2021's show.

When is the Game Awards?

The 2021 Game Awards start Thursday at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET. Viewers in the UK will have to wait up until 1 a.m., while those in Australia will have a start time of 12 p.m. AEDT. There's a preshow that kicks off a half hour before all of those times. You can watch the stream on multiple platforms:

What announcements should we expect?

Keighly has said that 40 to 50 games will be featured on the show in some fashion. Many of these will be already announced games, and some have already been teased. Beyond that, there'll be a few big surprises that we can only speculate about. Keighly told USA Today that there are "four or five" reveals on the scale of Elden Ring, so look forward to those. 

Among the games we know will be on the show are The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, which was originally scheduled for a 2021 release, and Destiny 2's Witch Queen expansion. Also announced for the show is Matrix Awakens, a tech demo for Epic's Unreal Engine 5, a trailer for Showtime's upcoming Halo series as well as one for Sonic The Hedgehog 2.  

Who are the 2021 Game Awards nominees?

This year's Game Awards have 30 categories up for grabs including Best Indie, Best Ongoing, Innovation in Accessibility, genre awards like Best Role Playing and of course Game of the Year.

Here are the nominees and categories. 

Game of the Year

  • Deathloop (Arkane Studios/Bethesda)
  • It Takes Two (Hazelight Studios/EA)
  • Metroid Dread (Mercury Steam/Nintendo)
  • Psychonauts 2 (Double Fine/Xbox Game Studios)
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Insomniac Games/SIE)
  • Resident Evil Village (Capcom)

Best Game Direction

  • Deathloop (Arkane Studios/Bethesda)
  • It Takes Two (Hazelight Studios/EA)
  • Returnal (Housemarque/SIE)
  • Psychonauts 2 (Double Fine/Xbox Game Studios)
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Insomniac Games/SIE)

Best Ongoing

  • Apex Legends (Respawn/EA)
  • Call of Duty: Warzone (Infinity Ward/Raven/Activision)
  • Final Fantasy XIV Online (Square Enix)
  • Fortnite (Epic Games)
  • Genshin Impact (MiHoYo)

Best Narrative

  • Deathloop (Arkane Studios/Bethesda)
  • It Takes Two (Hazelight Studios/EA)
  • Life is Strange: True Colors (Deck Nine/SQUARE ENIX)
  • Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (Eidos Montreal/SQUARE ENIX)
  • Psychonauts 2 (Double Fine/Xbox Game Studios)

Best Indie

  • 12 Minutes (Luis Antonio/Annapurna Interactive)
  • Death's Door (Acid Nerve/Devolver Digital)
  • Kena: Bridge of Spirits (Ember Lab)
  • Inscryption (Daniel Mullins Games/Devolver Digital)
  • Loop Hero (Four Quarters/Devolver Digital)

Best Mobile Game

  • Fantasian (Mistwalker)
  • Genshin Impact (MiHoYo)
  • League of Legends: Wild Rift (Riot Games)
  • Marvel Future Revolution (Netmarble)
  • Pokemon Unite (TiMi Studios/The Pokemon Company)

Best VR/AR

  • Hitman 3 (IO Interactive)
  • I Expect You To Die 2 (Schell Games)
  • Lone Echo II (Ready at Dawn/Oculus Studios)
  • Resident Evil 4 (Armature Studio/Capcom/Oculus Studios)
  • Sniper Elite VR (Coatsink/Just Add Water/Rebellion Developments)

Best Action

  • Back 4 Blood (Turtle Rock/WB Games)
  • Chivalry II (Torn Banner Studios/Tripwire Interactive)
  • Deathloop (Arkane Studios/Bethesda)
  • Far Cry 6 (Ubisoft Toronto/Ubisoft)
  • Returnal (Housemarque/SIE)

Best Action/Adventure

  • Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (Eidos Montreal/SQUARE ENIX)
  • Metroid Dread (Mercury Steam/Nintendo)
  • Psychonauts 2 (Double Fine/Xbox Game Studios)
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Insomniac Games/SIE)
  • Resident Evil Village (Capcom)

Best Role Playing

  • Cyberpunk 2077 (CD Projekt Red)
  • Monster Hunter Rise (Capcom)
  • Scarlet Nexus (Bandai Namco)
  • Shin Megami Tensei V (Atlus/Sega)
  • Tales of Arise (Bandai Namco)

Best Fighting

  • Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Hinokami Chronicles (CyberConnect2/Sega)
  • Guilty Gear -Strive- (Arc System Works)
  • Melty Blood: Type Lumina (French-Bread/Delightworks)
  • Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl (Ludosity/Fair Play Labs/GameMill)
  • Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown (Sega)

Best Debut Indie

  • Kena: Bridge of Spirits (Ember Lab)
  • Sable (Shedworks/Raw Fury)
  • The Artful Escape (Beethoven & Dinosaur/Annapurna)
  • The Forgotten City (Modern Storyteller/Dear Villagers)
  • Valheim (Iron Gate/Coffee Stain)

Best Family

  • It Takes Two (Hazelight Studios/EA)
  • Mario Party Superstars (NDcube/Nintendo)
  • New Pokémon Snap (Bandai Namco/The Pokémon Company/Nintendo)
  • Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury (Nintendo)
  • WarioWare: Get It Together! (Intelligent Systems/Nintendo)

Best Sports/Racing

  • F1 2021 (Codemasters/EA Sports)
  • FIFA 22 (EA Vancouver/EA Sports)
  • Forza Horizon 5 (Playground Games/Xbox Game Studios)
  • Hot Wheels Unleashed (Milestone)
  • Riders Republic (Ubisoft Annecy/Ubisoft)

Best Sim/Strategy

  • Age of Empires IV (Relic Entertainment/Xbox Game Studios)
  • Evil Genius 2: World Domination (Rebellion Developments)
  • Humankind (Amplitude Studios/Sega)
  • Inscryption (Daniel Mullins Games/Devolver)
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator (Asobo Studio/Xbox Game Studios)

Best Multiplayer

  • Back 4 Blood (Turtle Rock/WB Games)
  • It Takes Two (Hazelight Studios/EA)
  • Knockout City (Velan Studios/EA)
  • Monster Hunter Rise (Capcom)
  • New World (Amazon Games)
  • Valheim (Iron Gate Studio/Coffee Stain)

Most Anticipated Game

  • Elden Ring (FromSoftware/Bandai Namco)
  • God of War Ragnarök (Sony Santa Monica/SIE)
  • Horizon Forbidden West (Guerrilla Games/SIE)
  • Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo)
  • Starfield (Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda)

Best Art Direction

  • Deathloop (Arkane Studios/Bethesda)
  • Kena: Bridge of Spirits (Ember Lab)
  • Psychonauts 2 (Double Fine/Xbox Game Studios)
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Insomniac Games/SIE)
  • The Artful Escape (Beethoven & Dinosaur/Annapurna)

Best Score and Music

  • Cyberpunk 2077 (Marcin Przybylowicz, Piotr T. Adamczyk, Composers)
  • Deathloop (Tom Salta, Composer)
  • NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139 (Keiichi Okabe, Composer)
  • Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (Richard Jacques, Composer)
  • The Artful Escape (Johnny Galvatron & Josh Abrahams, Composers)

Best Audio Design

  • Deathloop (Arkane Studios/Bethesda)
  • Forza Horizon 5 (Playground Games/Xbox Game Studios)
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Insomniac Games/SIE)
  • Resident Evil Village (Capcom)
  • Returnal (Housemarque/SIE)

Best Performance

  • Erika Mori as Alex Chen, Life is Strange: True Colors
  • Giancarlo Esposito as Anton Castillo, Far Cry 6
  • Jason E. Kelley as Colt Vahn, Deathloop
  • Maggie Robertson as Lady Dimitrescu, Resident Evil Village
  • Ozioma Akagha as Julianna Blake, Deathloop

Games for Impact

  • Before Your Eyes (GoodbyeWorld Games/Skybound Games)
  • Boyfriend Dungeon (Kitfox Games)
  • Chicory (Greg Lobanow, Alexis dean-Jones, Lena Raine, Madeline Berger, A Shell in the Pit/Finji)
  • Life is Strange: True Colors (Deck Nine/SQUARE ENIX)
  • No Longer Home (Humble Grove, Hana Lee, Cel Davison, Adrienne Lombardo, Eli Rainsberry/Fellow Traveler)

Best Community Support

  • Apex Legends (Respawn/EA)
  • Destiny 2 (Bungie)
  • Final Fantasy XIV Online (Square Enix)
  • Fortnite (Epic Games)
  • No Man's Sky (Hello Games)

Innovation in Accessibility

  • Far Cry 6 (Ubisoft Toronto/Ubisoft)
  • Forza Horizon 5 (Playground Games/Xbox Game Studios)
  • Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (Eidos Montreal/SQUARE ENIX)
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Insomniac Games/SIE)
  • The Vale: Shadow of the Crown (Creative Bytes Studios/Falling Squirrel)

Content Creator of the Year

  • Dream
  • Fuslie
  • Gaules
  • Ibai
  • TheGrefg

Best Esports Game

  • Call of Duty (Activision)
  • CS:GO (Valve)
  • DOTA2 (Valve)
  • League of Legends (Riot Games)
  • Valorant (Riot Games)

Best Esports Athlete

  • Chris "Simp" Lehr
  • Heo "ShowMaker" Su
  • Magomed "Collapse" Khalilov
  • Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev
  • Tyson "TenZ" Ngo

Best Esports Team

  • Atlanta FaZe (COD)
  • DWG KIA (LOL)
  • Natus Vincere (CS:GO)
  • Sentinels (Valorant)
  • Team Spirit (DOTA2)

Best Esports Coach

  • Airat "Silent" Gaziev
  • Andrey "ENGH" Sholokhov
  • Andrii "B1ad3" Horodenskyi
  • James "Crowder" Crowder
  • Kim "kkOma" Jeong-gyun

Best Esports Event

  • 2021 League of Legends World Championship
  • PGL Major Stockholm 2021
  • PUBG Mobile Global Championship 2020
  • The International 2021
  • Valorant Champions Tour: Stage 2 Masters