We’re at that time of the year again, the time where we reflect on a year of amazing video game content and then reduce it down to one, all mighty, one in a million experience to determine the best game of the year. Thankfully most of the work will be done for us by the Game Awards, the annual end of year celebration that’s now more known for its reveal of No Man’s Sky than anything else related to it.
Despite the usual fair gracing the big ‘Game of the Year’ award, including Inside and Uncharted 4, there’s plenty of indie representation across the various categories, including a nod to both Oxenfree and Firewatch for Best Narrative. Worthy recipients, wouldn’t you agree?
Overwatch and Uncharted 4 lead the nominations, both picking up a handful for Game of the Year, Action or Adventure Game of the Year, Best Art Direction and Best Game Direction. It’s not surprising at all given the success of both games over the past few months, though Overwatch has plenty more left in the tank going forward.
Arguably the most entertaining and interesting award every year is the Best Performance category, something a lot of other gaming awards sadly bypass. This year there’s a few familiar names in Troy Baker (as Nathan Drake’s brother Sam in Uncharted 4) and Nolan North (as Nathan Drake himself), whilst Emily Rose rounds out a trifecta of nominations for Naughty Dog’s big hit for her role as Elena. They’ll go up against the dynamic Firewatch duo of Cissy Jones and Rich Sommer, along with Mafia 3’s Alex Hernandez.
There’s also a number of indie categories, with Firewatch and Inside taking on Stardew Valley, Hyper Light Drifter and The Witness for Best Independent Game. One of our favourites of the best twelve months, That Dragon, Cancer, picked up a nomination for the Games for Impact category, along with 1979 Revolution, Block’hood, Orwell and Sea Hero Quest. The Games for Impact honours games that take on real world issues and advocate for social change.
Among the other categories, eSports has plenty of representation with nominees for Best Player, Best Team and interestingly, ‘Best eSports Game’. I say interesting since there’s a couple of older titles on there, notably DOTA 2 and CS:GO, up against Overwatch and Street Fighter 5. And something called League of Legends, not sure what that is.
Despite many of them being unavailable due to cease and desist orders and the like, the Best Fan Made Game includes Pokemon Uranium and Project A2MR. Speaking of Pokemon, Pokemon Go made the cut for Best Mobile Game and Best Family Game. I’m sure a lot of families would agree and perhaps disagree with that nomination.
There’s a few surprises in the mix too. Both Doom and Titanfall 2 picked up Game of the Year nominations, ahead of Battlefield 1 and Firewatch. Gears of War 4 was only able to pick up one nomination for Multiplayer Game of the Year. There’s also a few notable names missing, including recent releases Dishonored 2, Watch Dogs 2 and upcoming releases Final Fantasy XV and Pokemon Sun/Moon, all of which missed the cut off dates for possible nomination. Steamworld Heist is also missing from the indie lists, despite being one of the best rated games of the past year.
You can find all the nominations and categories via Polygon. The Game Awards 2016 run December 1st, stay tuned for our thoughts on the winners and the new games that will (inevitably) be revealed on the night.