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 to industry Oscars. And naturally, like the Oscars, there’s always conversation about snubs and whether nominees deserve their spots.
This year, there were a few standout…weird things that I noticed more than in past years. Some may be personal preference, but others just flat-out don’t make a ton of sense.
game of the year – This one is more opinion-based, but there are a few narratives forming here. One is that Horizon Forbidden West shouldn’t be here and it’s representative of Game Awards voters liking big, flashy AAA games too much. But in contrast, I’d argue that Stray feels weirdly out of place on this list, as despite its fun cat concept, it’s not actually that good, at least not compared to other more revolutionary games like Vampire Survives or Immortality. But I think everyone expects this to come down to Elden Ring versus God of War.
Best Narratives – The fact that Elden Ring got nominated for Best Narrative generated a bunch of controversy among press and fans, as everyone seems to have different definitions of what “narrative” actually means in a game. Generally, it’s for a story-heavy game, which the other four games are nominated here, but Elden Ring, though it leans heavily into “lore” and “worldbuilding,” the idea that is has a brilliant central narrative is debatable. Given all the story bits I did end up learning throughout the game’s various quest, I’d probably lean on the side that it does qualify here, and there was good narrative if you knew where to look, but I get why it’s controversial.
best performance – This one seems like simply a no-brainer, given that Manon Gage in Immortality is the entirety of that game and it’s hard for anyone to even come close to her. On a more personal note, I just didn’t like Ashly Burch’s breathy Aloy performance for a while now, even if I like Horizon as a whole, and like Burch in other things. And I think the voice actors for Brock, Sindri, Freya, Odin and Thor all may have landed a nomination above Sunny Suljic’s Atreus, in my opinion, even if he has more screen time. I don’t get separating this category by gender like the Oscars or Emmys, but maybe we need a Best Supporting category at least as well.
Best Indie/Best Debut Indie – I genuinely don’t understand why these are two separate categories. New game studios, big and small, are formed all the time. Why does there need to be a separate “debut” category here in a show where we already never get to see like 70% of the awards actually presented?
Best community support – While my “home game” of Destiny 2 has won this in the past, I do wonder what exactly this category means, as it seems so nebulous. Is it dev communication with the fanbase? Is it implementing suggested changes and frequent balancing? Is it literally player support, helping players with in-game issues? Is it having a funny social media and community management team? It seems so nebulous.
Best Fighting Game – This may be the weirdest one here, as Sifu was nominated for Best Fighting Game, a game which yes, contains a lot of hand-to-hand fighting, but the category is clearly meant for PvP, competitive fighting games, as if you start putting any game with physical combat in there, and you lose the structure of that category pretty quickly. Sifu should have been in Best Action or something like that, as this category is not for PvE anything, really.
Most Anticipated – I hate this category. cut it Nintendo’s Breath of the Wild sequel has been on here for what, three years? It’s ridiculous.
Best adaptation – I think this category needs a new name, as most of the games here are not direct adaptations of games. Arcane and Edgerunners take place in the universes of League of Legends and Cyberpunk 2077, but they are not adapting the literal games themselves, for instance. Maybe this is just semantics.
So yeah, I think there need to be some tweaks here, as ever. And I should probably figure out how to vote myself one of these years.
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