This Year’s Game Awards Is More Unpredictable Than Ever

2023 was one insane year for gaming, choosing a winner is no small task.

Story Highlights

  • TGA 2023 Nominees are here, and unlike last year with only two favorites, the contest is pretty heated this time around.
  • Alan Wake 2 and Baldur’s Gate 3, two franchises that re-appeared after a decade ended up being the strongest hitters.
  • Although a remake, RE 4 deserves the spot nonetheless and Sony’s Spider-Man and Nintendo’s Mario and Zelda will duke it out.
  • And 2023 still has many other titles that would’ve been equally viable. Goes to show how insane this gaming year was.

When it comes to a competition, the more unpredictable the winner is, the better. Don’t you think so? Instead of a one-sided contest or two favorites duking it out, I prefer the thrill of not knowing who’ll come out on top among several strong candidates. It makes watching it all the more interesting and worth it. And when it comes to gaming, the contest we all look forward to every year is The Game Awards, and it’s about to be pretty fierce this year.

First, let me say this: 2023 will surely go down in history as one of the best years for gaming. It was jam-packed with epic titles. Some of them were expected, but some dark horses surprised all of us. I think even picking the nominees for TGA 2023 was an extremely tall order. Although I knew only a few would get this chance, it still hurts to see the others left out. If this was any other year, many 2023 games would’ve been GOTY material.

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The Game Awards Were Mostly Few Favorites Duking It Out

This enormous event that is now practically considered a gaming Oscars was started by Geoff Keighley back in 2014. In most of these events, there were always some favorites you knew would win. That’s because a year as good as 2023 hasn’t emerged for quite some time now, and a lot of heavy hitters in a single year was pretty rare. Let’s take a look at the first event. 2014 was a weak year overall, and the strong ones were pretty clear.

2014 was a fairly crap year for games, but some great ones still managed to surface. AAA or indie, doesn’t matter, what was your GOTY?
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Dragon Age: Inquisition won GOTY being the sequel to the enormous Origins, and the only noteworthy titles were probably Bayonetta 2 and Shadow of Mordor. 2015 had Witcher 3, and I think that’s enough said. Although it was against Bloodborne, I firmly believe it is a game people noticed and regret sleeping on much later. 2016 was the absolute prime time of Overwatch and multiplayer games, so it won over single-players like DOOM and Uncharted 4.

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In 2017, I was honestly rooting for Persona 5, it was a revolutionary entry beyond doubt, but the competitor was Breath of the Wild; yeah, no one stood a chance. 2018 was essentially the same as 2022, it was a brawl between God of War and RDR2. 2019 had a more competitive lineup with Sekiro, Control, Death Stranding, and RE 2, but even I was pro-Sekiro. 2020 was, let’s say, Sony’s victory, and 2021 honestly had a comparatively weaker lineup and It Takes Two took it.

Game(s) of the Year – 2014 to 2022
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Last Year Was All God Of War Ragnarok And Elden Ring

Before talking about the coming Game Awards, let’s discuss last year first. Long before the nominees were announced, we knew one thing, two contenders would stand at the top and likely be the real contest of the overall program. Those two were none other than the sequel to the critically acclaimed God of War reboot, and the long-awaited FromSoftware masterclass project, Elden Ring. 

I always knew only these two could go head-to-head, and as expected that turned out to be true. After the nominations, almost everyone was sure either God of War Ragnarok or Elden Ring would be the GOTY. Not only that but they both were nominated for many other categories too. Soon came the moment of truth, the Game Awards’ results. And as you and I expected, it was a sweep by these two.

Since it’s clear that only either Elden Ring or Ragnarok will be GOTY, it’ll be insane that FromSoft/Santa Monica will have 2 GOTY awards in a row now
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Elden Ring triumphed in the GOTY race, while Raganrok secured the most awards. In other words, the moment these two entered the ring, it was like no one else could stand on the same stage. If I speak for myself, I always enjoy the intense thrill and tension of the Game Awards. It was the same last year too, but somewhere in my mind, I knew the results. That is precisely why I’m eagerly looking forward to TGA 2023 and its very close match-up.

The competition is pretty intense this time around.
The competition is pretty intense this time around.

Alan Wake 2 And Baldur’s Gate 3 — The Dark Horses Worthy Of The Spotlight

Now, let’s take a look at this year’s lineup, particularly the GOTY category. 2023 had so many great games that I can name several others that deserve the place. Still, even among these phenomenal titles, Alan Wake 2 and Baldur’s Gate 3 are a step above. They came out after a decade of stagnation and knocked the standard up a good few notches. Their overwhelming quality surprised me enough to root for them during TGA 2023. 

All the other games are pretty well-known or popular franchises, but these two overcame a decade of dormancy. Notice anything similar? Baldur’s Gate 2 was last seen in 2013 (Enhanced edition). That means effectively a decade has passed since then. And Larian revived this legendary franchise most creatively and effectively possible. Not only is it the best modern D&D experience, but it single-handedly killed all the “turn-based is stale” allegations.

Which game is GOTY for you? And why it is Baldur’s Gate 3?
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A similar case is observed in Alan Wake 2. The prior entry came out in 2010, and although Control exists, more than a decade has passed since the last Alan Wake. After all that time, Alan Wake 2 comes out and is immediately crowned the most visually impressive game, a true generational leap that gives mid-range hardware a solid jolt. And it’s not just visual flair either, the game is a masterclass cinematic experience with a mind-bending narrative. TGA 2023 will be a spectacle.

Just finished Alan Wake 2 and this is undisputedly my GOTY. If you haven’t played it yet, I’d highly recommend it.
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I Agree New Games Deserve The Spot, But RE4 Is No Ordinary Remake

Ever since the nominees were announced, I’ve seen this statement circulate quite frequently that Resident Evil 4 Remake shouldn’t have been nominated, as it was a remake and the original game was already widely renowned and appreciated. Thus, it was better to give this spot to a new title, that represents 2023 more accurately. Not that I can’t understand this stance and in fact find it quite logical, but Resident Evil 4 is a special case.

Unpopular opinion: Remakes shouldn’t be considered for game of the year
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If this were any other remake, I probably would’ve agreed to this, but I think the overwhelming job that Capcom did with this title more than deserves the nomination. Generally, you see companies remaking popular franchises to capitalize on popularity and nostalgia but fall short of achieving anything substantial in terms of the game’s quality. On the other side, we have Capcom. Remakes of legendary games that even overtake the original is no small task.

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Even more so in the case of Resident Evil 4. A landmark in third-person survival-shooter genre that changed the landscape forever and it was to be remade, the hurdle was unreal. Yet Capcom not only made it a faithful recreation but also a distinct product. The remake is not intended to replace the original. Thus, I feel like giving it the spot on TGA 2023 GOTY can be justified. I don’t mean the others didn’t deserve it, but giving it to RE 4 was not a mistake.

A remake of this magnificent scale is worthy of celebration.
A remake of this magnificent scale is worthy of celebration.

Sony and Nintendo’s Exclusives Come Face-To-Face

Last but certainly not the least the exclusives from the two giants. All the other decisions of the two companies aside, I think we can come to an agreement that they produce powerful exclusives. And it so happens that the titles from both sides this time around are from among the respective companies’ strongest franchises. Get ready to watch Sony’s Spider-Man go against Nintendo’s Mario and Zelda only in TGA 2023.

I don’t think these entries need any introduction. On one side, we have Sony’s masterclass Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, which is short, but nothing short of perfection. Ever since Insomniac picked up Spider-Man, the character’s popularity among gamers is at an all-time high. It was among the exclusives PC players would give anything to get, and they heartily celebrated its eventual PC release. And now we have an experience that far surpasses its predecessors.

The other side has two of Nintendo’s absolute powerhouses. I’ve known the Italian plumber all my life and time only made him more relevant. Mario is a franchise that has sustained itself for 40 years, and you don’t live that long if you’re not exceptional. Then we have the series that revolutionized modern open-world games. Everything that has even the O of open-world is compared to Breath of the Wild, and Tears of the Kingdom makes the first game look incomplete, let that sink in.

TOTK makes BOTW look like a tech demo
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The Fact That 2023 Still Has More Deserving Contestants Speaks Volumes

And these were just the titles that were officially nominated for TGA 2023. This year still has a lot more titles that I believe deserve to stand on the same stage. Although I was mentally preparing myself for the nominations since no matter who was selected the others would suffer, I was still heartbroken at no Final Fantasy 16 among the lineup. Final Fantasy’s first full-on action entry was so brilliantly handled I thought it would take a spot for sure.

What’s your thoughts on FFXVI not being one of the game of year nominees
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The same can be said for Starfield. Although not without issues, Bethesda still did a great job with its space RPG. And these are just the heavy hitters, we have some more surprising entries that deserve the spot simply because of how impactful they turned out to be despite being newcomers. Hi-Fi Rush and Lies of P are the perfect examples of “unknown but came in with a bang.” Also, don’t forget Star Wars Jedi: Survivor and Armored Core 6.

2023 has been an insane year for gaming.
2023 has been an insane year for gaming.

Do you see now why I claim TGA 2023 is pretty heated? And this was just the Game of the Year category. The competition across the board is equally interesting. Almost every category has many titles that can take the award and it would be justified. All the games that couldn’t make the GOTY list, I guess I can root for them in the other categories. So which is the lucky title to get your vote this year? Go ahead and make your choices.

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Hanzala is a dedicated writer who expresses his views as opinion pieces at eXputer. He's always been fascinated by gaming, and an avid consumer of a multitude of different genres for over a decade now. His passion for games has him eager to encounter the latest RPGs and actively look for new Soulslike to challenge. He puts forth his experience and knowledge of gaming into captivating opinion pieces.

Experience: 8+ months

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