Six Nominees Won’t Even Be Close To Enough For The Game Awards This Year

We live in a historic era for video games. When you ask someone what the best year for games was, they’ll often point to 2004, which gave us Halo 2, Half-Life 2, Metal Gear Solid 3, World of Warcraft and GTA: San Andreas, among others; or 2017, which gave us Fortnite, Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Resident Evil 7 and many others. But when we look back in 2023, it’ll be hard to deny that it wasn’t one of, if not, the biggest year for video games ever – and it’s not even half of it yet.

With Summer Games Fest just a few weeks away, I’ve been thinking a lot about this year’s Game Awards, AKA TGA, AKA Golden Keighley’s. There was a lot of early game of the year talk around Tears of the Kingdom, just like last year for Elden Ring. Despite the six nominees, last year’s GOTY award really came down to just two games – Elden Ring and God of War Ragnarok. This year, the competition will be stronger than ever and may even warrant expanding the category to more games than all previous years.


The Game Awards were first presented in 2014, where Dragon Age: Inquisition beat Bayonetta 2, Dark Souls 2, Hearthstone and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor for Game of the Year. While fans of Dark Souls 2 were very disappointed, I can’t imagine anyone was too surprised about Dragon Age taking home the gold. The same could be said for the following year, when The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt beat out Fallout 4, Super Mario Maker, Bloodborne, and Metal Gear Solid 5. Even that felt like a toss-up between The Witcher 3 and Metal Gear Solid 5.

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The two years that followed continued with five nominees and only two serious contenders, and in 2018 the category was expanded to six to make room for God of War, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Celeste, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Monster Hunter: World, and Red Dead Redemption 2. God of War triumphed over Red Dead Redemption 2, which many still consider the biggest upset in TGA history.

From 2018 to 2022, the GOTY category has retained six nominees, but I don’t think that will be enough this year. It’s safe to say that in the first five months of 2023 alone, we’ve already had six strong contenders for Game of the Year. Tears of the Kingdom is clearly the leader, but we also have to consider Resident Evil 4, Dead Space, Jedi: Survivor, Hi-Fi Rush and, given its popularity, Hogwarts Legacy. There are already six, and in the next few weeks we’ll have to add Diablo 4 and Street Fighter 6 to that list.

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These eight probably won’t be even close to the only GOTY-worthy games we get this year. Looking ahead, we also have Final Fantasy 16, Starfield, Baldur’s Gate 3, Spider-Man 2, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Alan Wake 2, Armored Core 6 and Hollow Knight: Silksong – and that’s a fairly conservative list of contenders. I also hope that Sea of ​​Stars, Homeworld 3, Mortal Kombat 1, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk, Immortals of Aveum, Remnant 2, Avatar Frontiers of Pandora and Silent Hill: Ascension will be GOTY quality and get the attention they deserve. Reducing this category to just six seems almost impossible.

Then there are all the unknowns. What will Nintendo launch in the second half of this year? What big Summer Game Fest reveals will be released before December? It’s not common for a big exciting game to be announced and released in the same year, but look at 2021’s Guardians of the Galaxy or Hi-Fi Rush. It happens.

So what’s an appropriate number for this year’s GOTY category? You can’t include 20 games without diluting the voting and taking away some prestige, but I don’t think you can keep it to six either. The Best Picture category at the Academy Awards traditionally included only five nominees until it was expanded to a maximum of ten in 2009. Could we have ten nominees at The Game Awards this year? Would that even be enough? Even if the category just increased from six to seven nominees, it would be an acknowledgment of what a remarkable year it has been for new releases. If I were Mr. Keighley, would try to plead 15 cases, and it would still be difficult for the jury to narrow down the selection.

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