Kotaku Awards 2014: Nominate Your Biggest Surprise Of The Year

As you may already be aware we're kicking off our awards at Kotaku Australia and, as always, we're looking for nominations. Today we're looking at the biggest surprises of 2014.

This is a fairly open category — and probably a little less serious — I'm just looking for things that surprised you in gaming this year. It can be a video game, a convention, an event, breaking news, a console, anything. Feel free to get creative.

Here are a couple of my own nominations to get things started.

Alien: Isolation PAX Australia Crossy Road Overwatch

Now let's hear your nominations. Drop them in the comments below!


    Have to say Wolfenstien...thought it was gonna just be another "eh" reboot. did not expect that to be as good as it is. :)

      Yep wolfenstein, it surprised the shit outta me.

      At the start of this year I would never have predicted that a new Wolfenstien game would have sat higher on my GoTY list than Destiny, Titafall, Assassins Creed: Unity, Forza Horison 2, or Watch Dogs.

      Honestly, if Dragon Age hadn't proven as impressive as it is, Wolfenstien may have been my Game of The Year.

      Last edited 25/11/14 8:14 pm

    South Park The Stick Of Truth. I have a feeling that because it was released in Feb, although everyone loved it immensely it's been forgotten in this year of gaming even though there hasn't been a great deal of great games come out.

      Wow did that really only come out in February? It was being hyped for so long I thought it came out last year. I picked up a collector's edition on a whim back in March and still haven't gotten around to playing it. It's next on my list, I swear.

      which console/PC did we all play this on?
      I want to get it but I have ps3, xbox 360 and a crappy PC

        Have it on PC, my tablet can almost keep it constantly at 30 FPS (the frame limit). Its got an Intel HD 4000 I think. Not really high system requirements.

        In reality, its up to you where you want to play. Its the exact same on all platforms (only PC has KB/M (not recommended) and higher resolution)

      I sort of bought it on a whim a few weeks ago for PC at EB Games (cheapest price its ever been for the PC version in the current sale) when only intending to buy Dragon's Dogma, and I'm having a blast. 10 hours in, only on the second day and I'm not bored, even as someone who only rarely watches the show. Props to Obsidian and the guys behind the show for making a game based on a movie/show that doesn't suck.

    Well Hearthstone was officially released this year, and I didn't expect it to be my addiction for the entire year (and still going strong). I vote Hearthstone

      Blizzard really does seem to have the secret recipe for videogame crack. No-one makes addictive games like they do. At least you can play for free to get your fix of Hearthstone.

    Shadow of Mordor - All though early reports were good I don't think people were really expecting a game on that level.

      Yeah, I think people were a bit iffy about whether the Nemesis system would be good or not. Turned out to be fantastic!

      I agree. When it came out and looked exactly like Assassin's Creed I dismissed it. 30 hours later I have definitely been proven wrong.

    Dunno about biggest, but I was pretty stoked about GTAV and MGSV on PC.
    Also, actually getting FFXV news and footage has been a nice change

    Borderlands the Pre-Sequel. At first it seemed like a cheaply made game to tide people over until Borderlands 3 but it ended up being the best designed game of the franchise.
    (and the Australian vibe doesn't hurt too)

    Assassins Creed Unity - Pre-order pants that make you go faster.

      I was going to nominate Unity. I'm a huge fan of the series and Black Flag was such a great improvement on III that I was really looking forward to Unity. Nothing this year surprised me more than the fact that two days after buying it, I was walking back to EB Games for a refund.


        Yes really. I thought I'd have a big story and enjoy the single player campaign, struggle with an FPS on a console, and it would see me through 'til GTAV HD or I dived into my pile of shame, or AC: Unity came out, or look something else shiny.


        The story was meh, but the mechanics are amazing. The single player is sparse, but running strikes and the raid with mates is a blast. Met a bunch of excellent new people, suspect some of them might even become meat friends in the long run. Playing EVERY DAY.

        Unity still in the box. Rogue installed but unplayed. GTAV HD installed but unplayed. PC not turned on for weeks. The only other game I've played is a bit of Kerbal Space Program on the laptop while the missus has the TV.

        What the? Where did that come from?

          I almost wish I didn't agree with you. I can't stop playing it.

    Wolfenstein: The New Order

    I knew it was going to be interesting and I really wanted it to be good since the last instalment in the series was a little bit underwhelming (despite being fun) but this game had a lot of fun with the alternate history route to just go off the wall with the power-at-all-cost themes set up in the original games. It contained a lot of really engaging human moments and approached disturbingly mature content with the appropriate gravitas while at the same time giving us cartoonishly evil Nazis to hate and shoot at. The balance was so finely tuned that a little more in either direction could have been disastrous.

    I knew it would be pretty good but I was actually impressed.

    EA - not charging us for pools!

      Definitely a pleasant, out of character surprise from EA!

        That really was a surprise. I think we have a winner. No votes needed. :)

    New 3DS in Australia and not US or Europe.

    Also, I was surprised that the current gen has continued to sell so well despite the games not being exactly stellar. Solid but not stellar

    Bayonetta 1 getting thrown in with 2, and on its own disc in its own case and everything. Smash Bros Wii U getting pushed forward a week. Duck Hunt Dog getting resurrected. 3DS homebrew kicking off. Amiibos not being region-locked. New 3DS releasing here before any other western market. Bruce Willis was dead all along.

    I don't know if it is just me understanding the gaming market better but seems to be a lot of deceit and unfair practices in the business. I know most company's do this to a degree but I don't know of any other industry where you can blatantly false advertise / sell a faulty product and the consumer having no rights after purchase.

    At least from a PC player point of view, consoles may be different.

      It's long enough ago that I can't find anything about this on the 'net and I'm starting to doubt my recall, but I seem to remember when a game, I think it was Dam Busters, came out way back on 8-bits, the publishers thought it was so hard they didn't bother putting the later levels on the tape and had to fix the "error" when players complained that the later parts of the game wouldn't load.

      Anyone else of my advanced years remember this?

      Anyway, the games industry has had a shonky reputation as long as there's been a games industry.

        I have not played a game this year that didn't require either a large patch to fix, ample time spent trying to make it run at all, realised what I was lead to believe wasn't truthful, day one DLC or had parts of the game locked unless you paid for some stupid edition ( looking at you Elder Scrolls Online ) not to mention reviewers bought giving games like COD high 9/10 scores.

        The industry seems to be in worse state than ever with no sign of change.

        Again my personal opinion with what I have experienced over the last year or two.

          I suspect that'll get better.

          Companies have taken a PR black eye over that so far, and console makers are also getting grief about their cert processes because of broken games.
          Several companies took hits to their share values as well (EA with Battlefield, 2K with NBA, and Ubisoft with Unity).

          Anecdotally the story was that publishers didn't expect the new consoles to actually do that well, and so didn't put much effort into development. When they sold like gangbusters they found themselves on the backfoot and had to rush development.
          That's allegedly the reason we're seeing so many games delayed and so many remasters of last gen games. It could also be why indies became such a focus too.

      It's not just you. Some of the business practices of major game developers this year have been disgraceful. If what they have done is not illegal, it ought to be.

    Would definitely be Wolfenstein or South Park. Never been a fan of either, but found both extremely enjoyable.

      South Park on which console or PC?

        Not sure how relevant that is, but PC for both.

          Just interested as I want to buy South Park and Wolfenstein, but not sure which platform to get them on.

            Oh, fair enough. South Park had a few issues when I played it (nothing closing and restarting didn't fix), but I think they've been fixed by now. Wolfenstein had some optimisation problems, but nothing game-breaking, and again, it's been out long enough that they should be fixed by now. They're both on steam - might be worth seeing how low they go during the Christmas sales.

            As for PC or console... from what I've heard, it's up to personal preference for both. From what I've read, Wolfenstein sticks at 60fps on both current gen consoles, so unless you're a stickler for 1080p60 ultra, or must use a keyboard and mouse (and judging by your indecision, I'd guess not), there's no major difference. And, South Park's aesthetic means it'll be pretty much exactly the same no matter which platform you get it on.

    - Grid Autosport : Was VERY sceptical after Grid 2, but it's a genuinely awesome racing game.
    - Spintires
    - Star Citizen FPS reveal : Considering how revolutionary they are aiming to be in the space-sim genre, I was always concerned that the FPS felt slapped on. But the reveal showed how revolutionary this game will be even for FPS mechanics! Also, the event in Melbourne was freaking awesome!

    I've also got a negative surprise
    F1 2014 - I was surprised just how AWFUL this game is! [Codies is getting pretty hit or miss eh?]

    Last edited 25/11/14 11:13 am

    I was surprised by just how unpolished and unoptimised Ass Creed Unity turned out to be. I'm surprised Ubi (yes, even Ubi) would release a game in that kind of state.

    Also, I nominate:

    Never Alone
    This War of Mine
    Valiant Hearts: The Great War
    Hatsune Miku Project Diva F 2nd

      Ah, keep forgetting I wanna get Project Diva F 2nd!

        If you aren't getting it digitally you might want to jump on that, because I've heard people say that retailers aren't carrying many (if any) copies. I got mine from ozgameshop.

    Infamous Second Son. I know what you're thinking, but with the new console i thought they would do a Unity and care too much about graphics and not enough about the game itself. I was pleasantly surprised, as it not only had good gameplay, but it also looked amazing.

    The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, in particular...

    The spaceman sequence. That was awesome.

    Mario Kart 8 - just so fun or maybe MArio Kart 8 DLC with Link and associated tracks

    Another one for Wolfenstein.

    I enjoyed South Park, nay I adored it, but a game breaking bug prevented me from getting more than halfway into it... given that it was developed by Obsidian, I was not surprised.

    Wolfenstein. Was not expecting to cry during a Wolfenstein game but I did.

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