Geoff Keighley Responds to Concerns Over Death Stranding Nominations at The Game Awards

Geoff Keighley Responds to Concerns Over Death Stranding Nominations at The Game Awards

In the wake over concerns of Death Stranding's nominations at The Game Awards, producer Geoff Keighley says he is aware of the concerns.

In just a few weeks, the eyes of the games industry worldwide will be on The Game Awards, which is returning for its fifth annual ceremony in mid December to honor the biggest achievements in games in the past year. While this year’s awards ceremony is already recognizing some of the most acclaimed titles of the year such as The Outer WorldsSekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and more, one of the biggest nominees of the show, Death Stranding, has had its share of controversy given past connections to the award ceremony and its host/producer, Geoff Keighley.

In a feature published on Kotaku, The Game Awards producer and creator Geoff Keighley provided some responses in regard to recent debate over the nominations of Death Stranding at this year’s ceremony. Specifically, Keighley expressed that he “respect[s] and appreciate[s] the concern,” in an email to Kotaku, and added a bit more clarity on his role with the show and the voting process.

A large part of the recent debate over Death Stranding and its nominations at this year’s entry for The Game Awards has come from the very public and friendly relationship that Keighley and Death Stranding director Hideo Kojima have had over the years. This has also tied in to Death Stranding having several promotional appearances at The Game Awards through new trailers, along with Keighley himself having a cameo appearance in the game as one of the Bridges holograms that players can encounter. Kojima also has a role on the advisory board of The Game Awards, as noted on the show’s official website.

This of course has led to questions from viewers (and the industry as a whole) of bias and potential conflicts of interest, with Death Stranding having earned nine nominations at The Game Awards (the highest of any game at the show this year). However, in Kotaku‘s piece, Keighley reiterated in his comments that he has no direct involvement with the voting process for The Game Awards and the selection of nominees, seeking to distance himself from the actual nomination process.

Specifically, Keighley stated that in regard to the concerns of possible bias with Death Stranding, “this is why we have the FAQ right at the top of the website to make the process clear.” He also added that “in my role as show producer I work closely with game publishers and developers on a number of levels, so [I] leave the judging to media outlets that provide a wide critical assessment.”

Keighley’s comment is in reference to the voting jury of The Game Awards, which is comprised of over 80 different media outlets, content creators, and other representatives from across the games industry. The voting jury ultimately decides on the nominated games for each category, and once nominees are selected, both the jury and online fan votes decide the winner, with the fan votes only accounting for 10% of the final result.

In regard to Kojima’s role on the advisory board of The Game Awards, Keighley addressed that the board largely meets to discuss “broad stroke discussions” of The Game Awards as a production and to “guide and advance” its mission. However, Keighley addressed that the board has no direct involvement in either the voting process or selection of its voting jury.

Given Keighley’s personal connections to the game itself, it’s no surprise that Death Stranding‘s showing and nomination tally at The Game Awards would draw criticism of potential conflicts of interest. However, personally speaking I feel that Keighley has been transparent about both his role with the production and the voting process of the show itself, and that he is making earnest attempts at keeping himself separated from the actual awards process.

The Game Awards 2019 will air on Thursday, December 12, 2019 at 8:30pm ET/5:30pm PT through its official website and various other streaming platforms.