Xbox Games Done Quick: SGDQ 2020 highlights

Luke Albigés - August 25th 2020

Games Done Quick is always an amazing time, and it was wonderful to see the organisers manage to pull together a fully remote Summer Games Done Quick this year. Despite the change in format, the 7-day, 24-hour speedrun marathon still raised a whopping $2.3 million in donations for charity. It was a week packed with incredible runs around the clock, pretty much all of which are now available in VOD form on the GDQ YouTube page. But with so much there to watch, we thought we'd go through and pick out some of the best runs from the event for your viewing pleasure.

Since so few top speedruns are done on console (high-level players prefer PC where possible, which typically slashes load times and allows for easier modding for practice), we picked out some truly awesome runs of games that are available on Xbox, so you could theoretically dive in and try this stuff out for yourself. It's not as scary as it seems, either. For all the one-frame tricks and well-practiced techniques, many games also have skips and glitches that can be replicated easily enough by pretty much anyone. Before you do, though, sit back and watch the masters at work...

Yakuza Kiwami 2 (Froob, 1:52:52)

Player attitude can make or break a GDQ run, especially a longer one. Fortunately, Froob is one of the most entertaining and engaging runners we've encountered in our years of following GDQ events, with the skill and knowledge to back up that wonderful presentation. Most of us could play Yakuza games for 100+ hours and still never see the credits thanks to all the glorious distractions they lay on, and it's testament to Froob's resolve that he manages to avoid the allure of even once just kicking back in an arcade to play some Virtua Fighter. He skips all the cutscenes, so aside from bosses and a few key story beats, it's really not that spoiler-y a run, and it just serves as an amazing showcase for the wide and wacky world of this criminally underrated franchise. We know exactly what series protagonist Kiryu would say about this run: "That's rad."

Rayman Legends (DepressingChild, 1:30:24)

Platform games are a speedrunning staple, and seeing them get absolutely destroyed never gets old. Here, we get an expert demonstration of just how cool Ubisoft's beautiful Rayman revivals look when the player finds their flow, and everything from execution to routing is outstanding throughout. DepressingChild makes the Invasion time trial stages (some of which are brutal in casual play) look trivial, and the varied nature of the game means the run just flies by. We've always loved Globox, so to discover that he is actually Scientifically The Best was a delightful extra treat from this run. No matter how much you've played the modern Rayman games, we guarantee you'll see tricks and skips in this run that you would have never thought possible.

Crypt of the NecroDancer: Amplified (SpootyBiscuit, 14:53)

Okay, this one will blow your mind. Musical roguelike Crypt of the NecroDancer is a tricky enough game at the best of times, let alone when you pick the most challenging character of the lot. Coda is an absolute nightmare — game speed is doubled (and you die if you ever drop a single beat), gold is deadly, you're locked into the weak default weapon, and you can't go above half a heart. While Spooty's run gets off to a rough start with a few early deaths, he finds his flow after a few minutes and manages to get a decent build up and running. From there, it's just an insane display of skill, reactions, and knowledge, all to the (double-time) beat of an absolutely killer soundtrack. To give you an idea of just how hard this feat is, there's an achievement for finishing this run (Impossible, Right?), and not a single player tracked here has unlocked it... reckon you've got what it takes to be the first?

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (sandyX, 36:44)

News flash: Bethesda games tend to be pretty broken. Even in casual playthroughs of Elder Scrolls and Fallout games, it's not uncommon to encounter various bugs and glitches, so it's hardly surprising that many of the more beneficial ones can be replicated by skilled players. That's precisely how sandyX is able to blaze through Oblivion in a little over half an hour, with the 'no out of bounds' stipulation in play to prevent simply skipping the entire game and hitting the credits in under five minutes. Yes, that's a thing that you can do in Oblivion. These runs are always a joy as you never know just how the runner will break the game next, and it's fascinating to look back on such a well-regarded game and see it exposed for the hot mess it actually is.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps (sickynar, 35:50)

Given the popularity of Super Metroid and similar games in the speedrunning community, Ori was always going to fit in well at GDQ. Moon Studios' beautiful sequel hasn't even been out for six months and already, the optimisation of this run is just incredible. It has everything — simple feats you could pull off at home, smart skips that shave minutes from the run, frame-perfect tricks that bust the game wide open — and flies along at a breakneck pace, with commentary somehow managing to keep up and explain all the cool techniques on show. The impressive stuff starts less than a minute into this crazy run, and it doesn't let up for the duration.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Kaadzik, 2:09:42)

This one is less Wild Hunt and more Wild Ride. The run seems innocuous at first, but it isn't long before things take some weird turns. Roach can fly, apparently, and a glitch we see soon after allows Geralt to race around the world in a permanent fast-forward state. Needless to say, that gets abused throughout the entire run, and is as endlessly amusing as it is useful. Just like the Yakuza segment, it's always amazing to see these absolute epics get torn down in just a couple of hours, so it's definitely worth finding the time to check out this great run.

Baba Is You (Punchy, 22:39)

Okay, so we broke our own rules, and that's oddly fitting for this game. Baba is You sadly isn't on Xbox, but it is one of the most inventive and ingenious puzzle games of recent years, and this run is just too good to not share. Baba is You's core mechanic is that puzzles are solved by meddling directly with the rules and logic of the game, represented by on-screen tiles. By shoving these around, you can form sentences that alter properties, locations, quantities, win conditions, playable characters... just about everything. If it sounds confusing, that's because it is, and that's part of what makes this quick-fire run to the super-secret ending so special. Punchy and friends try their level best to keep up with the action, but the struggle is real when some levels can be over in the blink of an eye.

And that's your lot! Of course, these are just a few of the amazing runs from over the course of last week's event — we're still catching up on all the runs that happened while we were doing boring human things like working and sleeping, so there are guaranteed to be a few belters that we haven't got to yet. If you missed the event but would still like to donate to Doctors Without Borders, you can do so all year around via their own site. Got a suggestion of a run we should check out? Or maybe you just really enjoyed one of these runs? Let us know below!