The Game Awards: Geoff Keighley Rejects "Conflict Of Interest" Claims Over Death Stranding Cameo

In preparation for The Game Awards later this week, host Geoff Keighley has hosted a Reddit AMA about the show and what viewers can expect. While most questions were fairly straightforward, one prompted a longer response from Keighley: “do you feel that it’s a conflict of interest that you’re the producer of the event and in one of the games nominated for a good number of awards?”

This question is in reference to Death Stranding, the new game from Hideo Kojima’s studio, Kojima Productions. Keighley has discussed his friendship with Kojima on numerous occasions, and appears in Death Stranding as one of several celebrity cameos. In his response, Keighley promises that there is no conflict of interest to speak of, and gets into the specifics of the voting process.

“More than anything, the integrity of the show and the awards is the most important thing of all,” Keighley says. “I don’t vote on the nominees or winners–that’s done by a jury of 80 global media outlets that we list on the website. That process isn’t the result of me having a cameo in a game, but also because I work with developers on world premieres, announcements, sponsorships, and other aspects of the show. I want the jury to be ‘blind’ to all those other aspects.”

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He notes that while he is friends with several people within the industry, there are others who also hold him personally responsible when their games don’t win. “If I’m being honest it can sometimes be pretty lonely trying to keep everyone happy,” he says. “But I just have to stay true to the rules and voting and hope that, if I want to build something that stands the test of time, I act as ethically and fairly as I can.”

Keighley notes that his appearance in Death Stranding was recorded in 2017, for a promotional piece that was not used, and Kojima later asked if the motion capture could be used in-game. He did not do the voice acting for his character–that was performed by Matt Mercer. “I certainly get the concern,” he concedes. “As producer of the show I’m inevitably going to have relationships with people in the industry. That’s what allows me to do the show in the first place. The producers of the Oscars, for instance, are often (or almost always) people who produce movies. I don’t make games, don’t invest in games or own game stock. All I can do is be transparent about those relationships and make sure the voting is separate.”

The Game Awards airs December 12 at 8:30 PM ET. You can still vote for your favorite games to win before the show.

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