Of all the award shows for the gaming industry, I think The Game Awards is the most legitimate. It’s definitely the most popular, drawing in over 26 million viewers last year across all platforms, but I also think that Geoff Keighley and the rest of the team behind the show do an excellent job with both the presentation and nominations. Tuesday morning, Geoff announced the nominations for this year’s ceremony, which will be held on Thursday, December 12th.
I’m not going to cover every category because, let’s be honest, many of you don’t give two flying fucks about who wins Best Audio Design or Best Art Direction. Also, I think some of these awards are going to be won by a landslide. I think Ewok is a lock for Content Creator of the Year, the kid that won the Fortnite World Cup will win the eSports POTY, and Fortnite will sweep most of the eSports categories (eSports GOTY, Best Ongoing Game, Best eSports Event). Still, some of the categories are fucking loaded and will be hotly contested.
So, here is a breakdown of the big categories and who I think should (and will) walk away with the trophy:
Best Action/Adventure Game
Of all the triple-A categories, this is probably the hardest one to predict because I loved all of these games. Well, almost all of them. Borderlands 3 and Control are OK games but they’re a tier below the rest of the nominees. And while I think Death Stranding is getting more shit than it deserves, it also doesn’t hold a candle to the other 3 in terms of overall quality. The Link’s Awakening Remake very well could walk away with this award, but I think its gonna come down to the Resident Evil 2 Remake and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. I’m going to talk about these two titles a ton later, so I’ll spare the details for now. I really think this is a complete toss-up, but since I need to give a prediction I’ll say Resident Evil 2 will probably win by the narrowest of margins. (see more below).
Who should win: Resident Evil 2 Remake
Who will win: Resident Evil 2 Remake
Best Action Game
Unlike the previous category, I think these games are a little more balanced in terms of quality. You’ve got the great games (Astral Chain, Devil May Cry 5), the good games (Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare), the “eh” game (Metro Exodus), then you have 50 feet of horseshit, and somewhere beneath that is Gears 5. I really liked Astral Chain and it is definitely worthy of the award if it receives the nod, but I think I’d have to give the slight edge to Devil May Cry 5 due to the more complex combat system. The game as a whole just does an excellent job making you feel like a badass as you slay demons left and right with any of the 3 characters. Unfortunately, I don’t think any of that is gonna matter because somewhere deep down in my gut I feel like Gears 5 is taking this award home. It absolutely shouldn’t, but it was so heavily promoted and well received by the media and community that I really can’t shake the feeling that it’ll steal this category. God, I hope I’m wrong.
Who should win: Devil May Cry 5
Who will win: Gears 5
I seriously LOL’d when I saw the Kingdom Hearts 3 nomination. Blows my fucking mind that it is nominated for anything, to be honest. The story sucks, the voice acting reached a new level of garbage, the RPG elements have little to no impact, and the gameplay is boring as hell. Really, with all due respect to the other nominees, I think this is The Outer Worlds award to lose. I’m still playing through the game myself, but it just seems like the best all-around title and I love how it feels like a mashup of the Fallout and Mass Effect franchises. Keep an eye out for Disco Elysium though; I think it could be a sneaky dark horse title to steal the award away from The Outer Worlds. I’d give it a 33% chance.
Who should win: The Outer Worlds
Who will win: The Outer Worlds
Best Multiplayer Game
Ok, I see you Geoff! I see that Tetris 99 nomination! I don’t think it has a chance to win, but I love the recognition! This category is pretty easy to me: it’s either Apex Legends or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. And while I prefer playing CoD right now, I think Apex Legends has to win this category. When it dropped in February, it was the freshest game on the market and I honestly thought it would dethrone Fortnite from the top of the competitive scene. It didn’t maintain it’s momentum throughout the year, and yes it is incredibly flawed, but it’s still the best multiplayer game released this year. Let’s not forget that it was the first battle royale title to introduce respawning your teammates and the “smart ping” system. I’d be pretty shocked if it didn’t walk away with the trophy at the end of the night, and I think that says more about the quality of multiplayer titles released in 2019 than it does about Apex Legends.
Who should win: Apex Legends
Who will win: Apex Legends
Best Indie Game
Pause. Take out your phone. Take a picture of this screen. Now go play every single one of these games. Seriously, go do it. Every one of them deserves this award. Baba is You is a simple yet creative puzzler that trains your brain to think outside the box. Disco Elysium mashes up tabletop and text-based RPGs to make a mystery title you’ll never forget. The most badass game of all of these is Katana Zero, a fast-paced 2D platformer where you play as a futuristic samurai assassin in a cyberpunk world. I guarantee you’ve never played a game like Outer Wilds, which will constantly surprise you as you explore every corner of its galaxy. And finally, Untitled Goose Game allows you to play as a goose and act like a complete piece of shit as you wander around the neighborhood and ruin everyone’s day. While all of these nominees are excellent, I think Untitled Goose Game wins by a landslide. Outer Wilds is probably the most deserving because of how unique it is, but the publicity that UGG received on its release was massive. Also, as Geoff said in the nomination announcement, there might be a mischievous goose present at the awards. I would bet everything I own on Untitled Goose Game winning this award.
Who should win: Outer Wilds
Who will win: Untitled Goose Game
Why is Control on here? That story literally makes 0 sense from start to finish. Some random girl walks into a top-secret FBI branch and the team there is just like “yep, you’re in charge now, go fix everything”. Yea, pass on that as “Best Narrative” for sure. As I’ve already said I haven’t finished The Outer Worlds yet, but I would already bet that it doesn’t take home the trophy either. And while A Plague Tale: Innocence has some great moments and it’s pretty emotionally compelling throughout the entire game, but the ending is just a little too “out there” for me with the whole “rat control” thing. So that leaves Death Stranding and Disco Elysium. While Death Stranding has gotten a TON of shit for being rather boring to play, it’s got an awesome story when it gets going. Yes, it’s confusing and very weird, but you can’t say it isn’t original or emotionally charged. On the other hand, Disco Elysium has got not one, but three awesome narratives to play through based on your class choice at the beginning, and I really can’t think of another game where your dialogue tree choices have a bigger impact. So yea, this is actually a pretty hard decision for me. I think that Disco Elysium should probably win just because of how deep and complex it is, but in the end, Death Stranding will take home the trophy due to its popularity.
Who should win: Disco Elysium
Who will win: Death Stranding
Best Game Direction
Alright, big boy time. This award and GOTY are the most prestigious among all the categories (like Best Picture and Best Director for the Academy Awards). There is really only one game that absolutely 100% should NOT be in this category: Control. I’ve already shit on the narrative, but the game as a whole is just not as good as the other four titles. Death Stranding would be the next game I eliminate from contention, but it still has a decent chance to win because even though it wasn’t well-received by many, it is very innovative and I think critics liked it better than the general public. Outer Wilds is probably the most creative game I’ve seen this year, and it’s really hard to find a flaw anywhere in the game, but it’s also significantly shorter than any of the other titles. Its a dark horse contender, but I think it’ll be overlooked for the remaining two titles. So we’re back again with Sekiro and RE 2, and again, both studios are equally deserving of the award. Personally, I think From Software should edge out Capcom. The game is bigger, more complex, more innovative than its predecessors, and has deeper gameplay mechanics than RE 2. But I really think this award will go to the Resident Evil 2 Remake. The way that Capcom took an 11-year-old game and completely reimagined it into a modern masterpiece is unmatched.
Who should win: From Software (Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice)
Who will win: Capcom (Resident Evil 2 Remake)
Game of the Year
And we’ve reached the final and most prestigious award of all. Where should I begin? How about how two of these games absolutely DO NOT belong on this list. Read that description again: “Recognizing a game that delivers the absolute best experience across all creative and technical fields.” In what. fucking. world. is that an accurate description of Control? Fuck all the way off Geoff. Go to bed, you’re drunk. Death Stranding also shouldn’t be in contention. Is it creative? Yes. Is it technically sound? Yes. But does it deliver the “absolute best experience.” Fuck no. I can name at least 3-4 indie titles that were better than either of those two titles.
So let’s talk about the remaining 4 games that each deserve their nominations. I’ve already talked a bit about The Outer Worlds, and while I do think it’s one of the best games of the year, it’s missing something. I’m not exactly sure what it is, and I’m sure I’ll know by the time I finish the game, but I don’t think it’ll take home the award. One game I haven’t talked about at all is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. I have to say that it really is the best version of Super Smash Bros I’ve ever played, and that’s coming from a Melee stan. BUT, while I do think it’s one of the best games I’ve played this year, I don’t think it has a chance at winning GOTY. In fact, I would be absolutely shocked if either of those two games edged out Sekiro or RE2. They’re in a league of their own this year. Here’s a stat for all of you: ever since the Best Game Direction category debuted in 2015, the winner has taken home the GOTY trophy as well. So, I’m actually going to mirror my Best Game Direction picks here as well. I think that the originality of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice should edge out a remake, but I think Resident Evil 2 is gonna walk away with the 2019 Game of the Year crown.
Who should win: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Who will win: Resident Evil 2 Remake
So yea, that’s my predictions for The Game Awards this year. However, let it be noted that these are not MY game awards. Those are still to come later this year. But stay tuned because next Tuesday, November 26th, I will be announcing the categories, nominees, and details for PartyChat’s end of year awards!