A few days ago Geoff Keighley announced the nominees for the Game Awards coming up in December 2022 where it’s the closet thing we have for the industry Oscars. And of course, like the Oscars, there’s always debate about snubs and whether nominees deserve their spots.
There were a couple of standout…strange things this year that caught my eye more than in previous years. Some might be personal preferences, but others just don’t make sense.
game of the year – This one is more opinion based, but some narratives form here. One is that Horizon Forbidden West shouldn’t be here, and it’s representative of Game Awards voters who like big, flashy AAA games too much. But on the other hand, I’d argue that Stray feels oddly out of place on this list because, despite his fun cat concept, it actually isn’t Well, at least not compared to other more revolutionary games like Vampire Survives or Immortality. But I think everyone expects this to boil down to Elden Ring vs God of War.
Best Narrative – The fact that Elden Ring was nominated for Best Narration sparked a number of controversies among press and fans alike, as everyone seems to have different definitions of what “narrative” actually means in a game. In general, for a story-driven game, it’s what the other four games featured here are, but Elden Ring, while leaning heavily into “lore” and “world-building,” has a brilliant centrality to the idea that it is narrative is controversial. Given all the story bits I’ve learned throughout the game’s various quests, I’d probably lean to the side that it is does qualify here, and there was good narration if you knew where to look, but I understand why it’s controversial.
best performance – This just seems like a no-brainer considering Manon Gage in Immortality is the entire game and it’s hard for anyone to even get close to her. Personally, I just haven’t liked Ashly Burch’s breathless Aloy performance for a while, even though I like Horizon as a whole and like Burch in other ways. And I think the voice actors for Brock, Sindri, Freya, Odin and Thor all landed a nomination over Sunny Suljic’s Atreus in my opinion, even if he has more screen time. I don’t separate this category by gender like the Oscars or Emmys, but maybe we need at least one Best Supporting Actor category as well.
Best Indie/Best Debut Indie – I really don’t understand why these are two separate categories. New large and small game studios are constantly being founded. Why does there have to be a separate “debut” category on a show where we already never see 70% of the actual awards given out?
Best community support – While my “home game” of Destiny 2 has won this in the past, I’m wondering what exactly that category is means, since it seems so nebulous. Is it the developers’ communication with the fan community? Does it implement proposed changes and frequent rebalancing? Is it literally player support, help players with problems in the game? Does it have a fun social media and community management team? It seems so nebulous.
Best Fighting Game – This is perhaps the strangest thing here as Sifu has been nominated for Best Fighting Game, a game that yes has a lot of melee combat in it, but the category is clear intended for PvP, competitive fighting games, like you start to pack in any physical combat game and you lose the structure of that category pretty quickly. Sifu should have been in Best Action or something like that as that category really isn’t for PvE.
Most expected – I hate this category. cut it Nintendo’s Breath of the Wild sequel has been running here for what, three years? It is ridiculous.
Best adjustment – I think this category needs a new name as most of the games here are not direct adaptations of games. Arcane and Edgerunners are set in the League of Legends and Cyberpunk 2077 universes, but they don’t, for example, adapt the literal games themselves. Maybe that’s just semantics.
So yeah, I think some tweaking needs to be done here as always. And I should probably figure out how to choose myself one of those years.
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