Game Of The Year Predictions 2020 - Winners, Losers, and Underdogs
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Game Of The Year Predictions 2020

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BY May 7, 2021

The best part of the end of the year? Peppermint flavored things. I love peppermint as a flavor; absolutely underrated and totally delicious. Another great part of the end of the year? Game of the Year debates. It’s a lose-lose sort of situation. Overall, everyone has their own subjective opinions on game quality and enjoyability. Value is subjective in general, but with no agreed-upon scale on which to judge video games, plenty of arguments arise this time of the year. I love it because it’s fun to talk about things about which you are passionate. That said, I don’t want to make my GOTY calls quite yet. Instead, these are some of my Game of the Year predictions based on the industry, community sentiment, and takeaways from gaming in 2020.

Game of the Year Predictions are Tough This Year

Most years, it feels like we have two or three games that could easily take the top title. Really, it’s only ever two. The third game in the mix is often something niche, divisive, or all-around unfit to meet criteria often applicable to award season. When the 2020 nominations for The Game Awards released, I decided to sort of base predictions based on these listings. Yes, I know there are dozens of other awards that might include other titles. To me, this is sort of the big one for the industry. So, we’re rolling with it.

If you need a reminder, then here are your GOTY nominations for 2020:

  • Animal Crossing New Horizons
  • Doom Eternal
  • Final Fantasy 7 Remake
  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • Hades
  • The Last of Us Part 2

It’s a nice mix of genres this year! Interestingly enough, three of the six games included in this list are Sony exclusives. Good for Sony! They really went all out in the last year of the PS4. Another fun fact: New Horizons and Doom Eternal released on the same day. Kinda funny, right? All in all, this is a great lineup of games. I played everything on this list at some point this year, so I’m excited to chat about my personal Game of the Year at a later date. This time around, I really want to focus on three key predictions I have for how things might shape up at The Game Awards and other similar programs. This way, we can discuss some of the things happening around this year’s awards without letting my personal opinions on game quality get in the way. Let’s talk Game of the Year predictions!

Hades is GOTY Material, But Here’s Why It Might Not Get The Love It Deserves

Game of the Year Predictions Image Credit: SuperGiant

It’s hard to sell people on rogue-like games if they don’t have an interest in them. That said, SuperGiant does a great job at making games that people can easily access and play. For a lot of people, I think Hades is the perfect rouge-like to try on for size. It’s a masterful game and one that I really loved. That said, I don’t think it has a shot at Game of the Year like many seem to claim. It’s an indie darling, yes. The game is fantastic and really feels like a full-fledged realization of what the genre could be in the next five years. It’s also a proud achiever of the 1 million in sales milestone many game developers dream about. So, why can’t it win?

Unfortunately, many won’t play Hades because it’s not their cup of tea. Funny enough, it might very well be their cup of tea but they don’t think it’s a game for them, so they won’t touch it. The people I see talking about Hades most are critics and what I’d consider being deeply-dedicated gamers. I hate the term “hardcore” even though I’m guilty of using it. “Deeply-dedicated,” however, is a term I think fits the people who play video games to consume art or artistic content. Way more people who play games want to tear stuff up in hell-on-earth playing Doom Eternal than try out this sort of game. It’s not just about sales, it’s about reach, impact on the industry, and the overall scope of the product. Hades is GOTY deserving, but I don’t think it grabs the title this year.

The Front-Runner for Game of the Year is, Anti-Climatically, Likely to Win – And That’s Okay

Game of the Year Predictions Image Credit: Sony

Despite all of the needless drama around the gameThe Last of Us Part II is likely going to win Game of the Year. It’s already taken the title at the Gold Joysticks Awards. Between the accessibility features of the game, the incredible scale on which your character can maneuver the world, and the incredibly bold story, I think TLOU P2 deserves the title. It’s not going to be a very exciting announcement for many who disliked the game. But here’s the thing: many more people liked this game than didn’t. The uproar and apparent backlash surrounding the game comes from a small sect of gamers. The same gamers, in fact, that detest a lot of things in the industry. They don’t care for being preached too about social issues, or seeing women in major roles in video games as they laugh-react articles about these characters on social media.

All in all, these sorts of fans of any media exist to disrupt. We see the articles about their online antics and downright criminal behavior in the case of death threats, doxing, and more. We believe the climate they create to be the climate of public sentiment. That’s simply not the case. The Last of Us Part II sold over 4 million copies. That’s not an indicator of GOTY quality or potential, but it’s worth noting that many more people enjoyed the game than saw it as a disgrace like online communities might have us believe. It’s a wonderful game that dared to tell a story that would upset some of its fans. It’s the favorite for GOTY for many publications, and it’s deserving of the accolade.

A Tale of Two Sony Exclusives

Game of the Year Predictions Image Credit: Sucker Punch/Sony

Finally, I want to touch on one more prediction I have for the Game of the Year nominations. Firstly, both Ghosts of Tsushima and Final Fantasy VII Remake are nominated for multiple awards. I don’t believe either will have a sweeping impact on awards this year. Overall, both are games that set out to be ambitious. Ghosts works to build a world in which you can traverse feudal Japan through stunning visuals and enjoyable combat. FFVII, inversely, wowed gamers with its manipulation of a classic game into a new experience still in keeping with the spirit of the original. The latter seems to have fallen completely off the radar as the year went on. The former, released just a few months ago, seems to have done the same for a very different reason.

FFVII Remake feels like a major underdog for top awards from major publications. Its ending leaves room for more entries in the overall story but fails to really stick its landing. I think the build-up over this game, in particular thanks to time in-development and delays, overshadowed the game. Ghosts does the opposite; this game is so much better than people are giving it credit for. The visuals are great, the story is good, and the overall experience of playing the game is transcendental. You want to get lost in this world and never come back. Both are misvalued if you will, and that will impact their performance in GOTY categories and awards.

These are my Game of the Year predictions for a few top titles in 2020. I write these fully expecting you to have different opinions or flat-out disagreeing with me. That’s okay; there’s just one condition. If you disagree with one of my predictions, then let me know in the comments! I want to hear from you about how you’re feeling heading into the GOTY award season.

Featured Image Credit: Sony

GAMING

Taylor loves to play video games in his spare time. He has two degrees in Political Communication and wrote his thesis on Marxism and the exploitation of college athletes. In his spare time, he loves spending time with his wife and two Toy Australian Shepherds. He’s always got headphones in, and he’s a diehard Cubs fan.

2020 GamingGame of the YearGOTYThe Game Awards

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