This week, creator and host of The Game Awards, Geoff Keighley, revealed which games are in the running for prizes at his showcase in December. Dozens of games were named across over 30 categories. What was missing?
2023 was an incredible year for game releases (even as the greater video game industry spirals into more layoffs). It was going to get contentious one way or another, and Keighley resisted calls to expand the Game of the Year category beyond just six entrants this year. Baldur’s Gate 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom were shoe-ins, and Alan Wake 2 came from behind at the end of October to clinch another slot. Spider-Man 2, Super Mario Bros. Wonder, and Resident Evil 4 Remake closed out the group. Yes, in a year that’s in the running for the best ever when it comes to new games, a remake managed to beat out Bethesda’s ultra-hyped space epic Starfield, amongst other games.
The Game Awards nominations are voted on by 120 media outlets from around the world (Kotaku hasn’t historically participated and didn’t this year, either). It’s often a reflection of what games people had time to play as much as which games they actually thought were the best, and nobody has time to play every game, let alone finish it. I can think of three games off the top of my head that would probably be on my own GOTY list if only I had the time to play them.
Then there are the categories themselves, many of which are impossible to parse. There’s Best Indie Game which includes the product of a billion-dollar company (Dave The Diver), but also Best Debut Indie Game and Games for Impact, a tacit acknowledgement that there are tons of great smaller games that deserve a spotlight but don’t stand a chance against the slick blockbusters churned out by the bigger industry players.
The lines between genres also barely exist. There’s action games, action adventure games, and RPGs. Final Fantasy 16 could have been nominated for any of them, but it was put into the RPG category, despite having more in common with Devil May Cry than Dungeons & Dragons. Meanwhile Octopath Traveler II was nowhere to be seen. And don’t even get me started on Armored Core VI, another FromSoftware banger that it feels like they turned their noses up at because it was about mechs and faceless NPCs prattling away on walkie talkies. Someone had to get snubbed, but Rusty deserved better.
Make your case in the comments below for which game you think was unfairly snubbed from the 2023 Game Awards nominations across any of the categories and we’ll feature it in our round-up.