Welcome back! The Game Awards have their nominees for each category and it seems like the public gave mixed impressions, despite very few surprises. I must say, this year’s nominees and categories in general are pretty unimpressive. 2023 was a strong year for gaming, although it had some weaknesses as well. It’s also marking a big turning point in the video game industry, such as moving away from physical media. Changes are coming, whether the world is ready or not. Here are my thoughts about The Game Awards and nominees at this point.
Baldur’s Gate or Tears of the Kingdom Will Win Game of the Year
I know Alan Wake II has some fans, but the big prize will most likely go to Baldur’s Gate 3 or The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Sorry, everybody can go home. There’s no meaning to the show. Sometimes, The Game Awards can be quite predictable. I haven’t played either game, so it’s hard for me to have an opinion. I never clicked with the Zelda series for some reason. Hardcore turn based games, such as Baldur’s Gate 3, aren’t my thing. According to gamers and critics alike, both titles are masterpieces. Overall, Baldur’s Gate 3 will have the most successful run at The Game Awards because it has a lot of serious momentum.
A Few Games Were Snubbed
I felt particularly bad for Final Fantasy XVI and the remake of Dead Space. For those of you who think remakes don’t deserve awards, Resident Evil 4 is in the category for Game of the Year. Just saying. I’m sure other amazing games that aren’t coming to mind were also neglected. Final Fantasy XVI is probably my personal game of the year and I thought Dead Space was much better than Resident Evil 4. To be fair, I’m sure both games would be Game of the Year nominees any other year, but 2023 was super competitive. As they say, to each thine own.
The Video Game Industry is Rewarding Alan Wake II for Ditching Physical Media
Truthfully, I haven’t played Alan Wake II yet. I’ll get around to it eventually. Alan Wake II looks very good, but it also gives a vibe of being frustrating and confusing. Should we reward that type of video game design with multiple nominations for The Game Awards, including Game of the Year? I don’t think so, but clearly, people in the industry disagree with me. 2023 was a particularly strong year for horror games. Is Alan Wake II truly so special? Probably not, but it’s the first major AAA game that’s not having a physical release at any point. That’s probably the real reason why it’s receiving so many accolades. The gaming industry to trying really hard to move away from physical media out of convenience. Just watch. This trend will continue in 2024 and beyond.
Some of the Categories Are Very Competitive
Game of the Year and many categories seem cut and dry. However, the potential winners for others categories are less clear. Best Narrative, Best Score and Music, Best Art Direction, and Best Performance have some real contenders. Several games had excellent music, memorable performances, and beautiful art design. These categories are showing a very clear evolution in video games. Today, many games have scripts, voice actors, composers, and VFX artists who are on the same level as Hollywood film talent. We live in a world where video games look more like movies and movies look more like video games. It’s a strange phenomenon indeed.
The Game Awards Stayed Away from Controversial Releases
What are the real reasons for keeping Hogwarts Legacy, Diablo IV, Starfield, and a number of other games away from the limelight? This year’s Game Awards is trying really hard to stay away from controversy. They found controversy anyway among Xbox fans, but I’ll touch on that part later. Hogwarts Legacy is a really good example. It was a great game, but the author of the Harry Potter book series is going through a toxic crisis right now. Therefore, The Game Awards wasn’t allowing Hogwarts Legacy in any category. More accurately, people didn’t vote for it.
Indie Games are Flying Under the Radar…as Usual
It’s rare for indie games to have their just desserts at The Game Awards. It Takes Two was a recent Game of the Year winner, but that’s a rare exception and it was a small release that was created by a major studio. It’s not really the same thing as a true indie game. The 2023 nominees for Game of the Year and most categories are AAA titles. I thoroughly enjoyed smaller releases, such as Killer Frequency, Fresh Start, and The Invincible, but those kinds of games rarely get attention in the awards circuit. Also, Stray received significant pushback from gamers when it was nominated for Game of the Year in 2022. That situation basically killed any opportunities this year for indie games. Sometimes the gaming community is downright toxic.
Best Action/Adventure Game, Best Action Game, and Best RPG Game are Becoming Ambiguous Categories
Exactly what is an action/adventure game, action game (without the adventure part), or RPG? Beats me at this point. Almost every modern game has a component of an RPG system, such as skill trees or EXP. It seems like these categories are a dumping ground for good games that didn’t quite make it on the list for Game of the Year, such as Star Wars: Jedi Survivor, Starfield, Lies of P, Sea of Stars, Final Fantasy XVI, Hi-Fi Rush, etc. It’s also a strong category for Game of the Year nominees that won’t likely win. For example, I’ll bet Best Action/Adventure Game will go to Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 or Alan Wake II.
No Major Accolades for Xbox Titles
Honestly, I’m not surprised titles like Redfall, Forza Motorsport, and Starfield were shut out. They simply weren’t Game of the Year material and Xbox should think about it. Redfall was terrible and a huge embarrassment for Arkane. I like Starfield, but it has many flaws. It was supposed to be Bethesda’s magnum opus that took years to create, so the end results are actually a bit worrisome. Forza Motorsport was probably Xbox’s strongest contender this year, but The Game Awards never pay attention to racing games. However, the Xbox community is flashing their outrage on social media anyway. Guys, 2023 wasn’t a great year for Xbox. Accept it and move on. They’ll have much stronger years ahead.
Video Game Adaptations are Getting Better
There was a time when video game adaptations were frighteningly awful, but the nominees for Best Adaptation are a decent group. The Last of Us tv show is a faithful adaptation on par with the video game franchise. Gran Turismo is serviceable, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is quite entertaining, and even the Twisted Metal show is okay in a campy way. I’m not sure if 2023 is a fluke or a major change in direction for video game adaptations. Time will tell, although I have little hope for the upcoming Borderlands film.
Most Anticipated Game is Showing an Underwhelming 2024
The nominees for Most Anticipated Game are Tekken 8, Star Wars Outlaws, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth, and Hades II. That’s it? I’m not even sure if the Star Wars game is coming out next year. It seems like developers put all their cards on 2023 and didn’t leave anything for 2024. That’s a scary situation and 2024 might be a very dull period for gamers. It will probably be less profitable for developers and publishers as well. Granted, this issue is a monster of their own making.
All right! What do you think about The Game Awards and the nominees? Do you find award shows overrated? What is your personal game of the year? Leave a comment. The Game Awards will take place on December 7, 2023 at 4:30 p.m. PST. The awards component might be entirely predictable, but we’ll probably see new and exciting trailers for upcoming games. Take care of yourselves, be courteous to each other, and game on!
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