Kotaku Awards 2014: Biggest Surprise Of The Year

Kotaku Awards 2014: Biggest Surprise Of The Year
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I like this award. It makes me think of the times that video games were great. Find who or what was our biggest surprise of the year.

And the winners are…

Reader’s Choice

Shadow of Mordor
This is a great choice. In video game land, the Lord of the Rings franchise was famous for pumping out workmanlike slasher/RPG type games. No-one expected this seamless, polished fusion of Assassin’s Creed and Batman: Arkham Asylum.


Wolfenstein: The New Order
Similarly, when old, classic series get the reboot something usually gets lost. On rare occasions the developer takes things in a direction no-one could possibly expect and somehow succeeds.

Editor’s Choice

Alien: Isolation
There was always this small inkling that Alien: Isolation might be good. But we were fragile and sensitive after the debacle that was Aliens: Colonial Marines. We weren’t sure if we could love again. This was a game by Creative Assembly, a studio who had never created a game like this, working on a property that was completely burnt out and hollow. How could it possibly succeed?

But the concept was so strong that we were strung along by it. Creative Assembly were sincerely talking a good game, they sounded like they knew what they were doing. The said the right things.

Turns out they actually followed through on what they promised. In this day and age that feels like an anomaly.

When it was first realised I said that Alien: Isolation was the bravest AAA game of the year, and I stand by that. It might end up being the best AAA release of the year full stop, if AAA even means anything any more.

But for me it was definitely the most surprising.

I wasn’t expecting a game filled with such incredibly varied encounters. I wasn’t expecting a game that felt genuinely emergent. I wasn’t expecting it to be so fucking intense and scary. I wasn’t expecting it to come together as this amazing package.

I wasn’t expecting it to be so flat-out good.


New 3DS Releasing In Australia in 2014
How could you have predicted this? Nintendo releasing a brand new console in Australia before Europe and the US? This still blows my mind to this day.


  • Where’s my Shovel Knight!?
    Where’s my Shovel Knight!?
    Where’s my Shovel Knight!?

    I’m playing the Shovel Knight song.

  • Hrm, Ok, those are fair results.

    Though personally, I wasn’t THAT surprised by Shadow of Mordor. Probably personal bias, but being a huge LOTR/Middle Earth fans, I already thought it would be good. not to devalue its surprise factor tho.

    Wolfenstein on the other hand I thought was gonna be bland and throwaway. so for me, that was the bigger surprise.

    • I thought Mordor was a massive surprise because I hadn’t been following the game at all and then I started hearing about all the shady deals that the publisher was making with Youtubers and all that. So I was expecting a stinker. Then the reviews started coming in.

      And the Nemesis system. I didn’t expect such a great new mechanic from what had the potential to be licensed garbage.

  • Fairly big surprise for me this year was how good Borderlands The Pre-Sequel represented the stereotype Australian without making it cringeworthy.

  • I wasn’t that surprised by Mordor, but that’s because I watched a dev-diary video where they played the game for twenty minutes and explained the nemesis system and showed off some delicious combat. From that video onward, I knew it was a must-buy.

    If anything is surprising about it, it’s the heavy-handed marketing bullshit. They didn’t need to buy positive reviews, they were going to get it naturally. Worst spend of marketing resources ever in recent memory.

  • Bought a PS4 for Alien Isolation. Loved it. Old gamer here, barely play these days, but Alien:Isolation was a collection of astonishingly sound creative decisions married to inspired design set within the coolest licenced property never to have been properly exploited by videogames. Good choice Mark.

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