The Game Awards 2016: Predictions
Over the past two years, I have made predictions for the Game Awards, and over this time my prognostications have been very accurate (at least, for the judged section). Of course, the problem is that I didn't write down a record of my predictions, so the only thing holding up my success at this is my good word. Since this is clearly not good enough, starting this year (and hopefully from here on in) I'll record my predictions right here on TrueAchievements as my first foray into blog posting. As a bonus, I'll do a post-mortem on my predictions next week so everyone can laugh at how bad they were (which will happen this year now that there is a digital record). So, much ground to cover, and without further ado, my predictions:Game of the Year
I always thought, and the winners of previous years seem to agree, that the winner of this category should encompass everything good about the industry -- not only should it be a killer game, but the practices around the game should be in line with whats best for the consumer. Further, since this is Game of the Year, it should have the widest access possible for gamers to, you know, actually be able to play it. Finally, the game should represent a step forward, not a step back or sideways, for the industry.
So what does this mean? Games that are exclusives (Bloodbourne, Mario Kart 8) are dinged. Games that are microtransaction driven are dinged (Hearthstone, to an extent). Games that aren't objectively better than their prequels are dinged (Dark Souls 2). Games that are niche are dinged (Mario Kart 8, Hearthstone). What is rewarded? Games that are multi-platform, games that are a tremendous value (aka tons of content and tons of free DLC content), and of course, games that are wildly popular.
Of the nominees this year, there aren't too many that have large drawbacks to them, with a big exception being Uncharted 4. Though its a great game, because its a Sony exclusive it will not get the GotY award (though this doesn't disqualify it from other awards, see categories below). Titanfall 2 is also an excellent game but stumbledin sales out of the gate, thus being dinged by the ubiquity clause mentioned above. Doom was a lovely surprise hit, but old school shooter is still a bit niche, again dinging it in the ubiquity category.
This leaves my prediction and my dark horse candidate. First, my dark horse pick -- Inside. Playdead has hit the nail on the head with the indy-artsy game, and Inside is a great candidate for GotY due to this. Further, one of these years the jury will want to make a statement and pick an indy game to honor all the hard work and creativity of the indy scene. Is that this year? I don't think so, because of the Juggernaut of the overall winner this year. Perhaps next year will be the year of the indy, but in its way this year is...
...Overwatch. Not a singly game this year with the exception of Pokemon Go has completely defined a game category and so dominated both the category its in and game culture as a whole. For months after release, coverage of Overwatch was glowing, the community was solid, and the game had legs to cruise on in popularity far past the usual game hype window. I've played this game and while I'm not a huge Arena shooter fan, I absolutely loved it (its too bad my days of multi-player games are coming to an end due to off-springing reasons. And while the game does have micro-transactions, its not egregious enough to sway the jury away from the clear breakout hit of the year.Prediction: OverwatchConfidence Score: 4.5/5Best Game Direction
Like Game of the Year, this category is tougher to judge than last year, but the difficulty is amplified in the fact each developer has a very solid argument for being the winner. Blizzard obviously states its case with the Game of the Year winner. EA DICE deserves praise for breaking Battlefield out of the rote shooter formula and taking a risk that paid off with its WWI setting. id Software took a gamble on a classic shooter and pulled it off. Naughty Dog once again makes a claim for strong writing and gameplay. And finally Respawn makes a case publishing a game no one thought would be so good, adding an excellent single-player story to a shooter game in a world where quality single-player experiences were going extinct.
Two years ago, I was wrong when I predicted Telltale would win (Nintendo won), figuring it would win on the strength of its stories. I did predict ProjectRed correctly based on the massive amount of quality content it provided in its game and DLCs and all the free content it was gifting to the fanbase. So, from these, I surmise the judges place a big emphasis on consumer positivity and quality content.
Rule out Naughty Dog due to exclusivity (and as Telltale proved, quality writing won't make up for this deficiency). Next, we knock out id and Respawn, though they great game, they weren't "outside the box" in terms of what the company does or huge in innovation (though bonus points for Respawn for game value). Blizzard has a very strong case with its history and general fan love (backed up by the Nintendo win), but my leaning is to EA DICE for the company that took the biggest risk. I know I'll be kicking myself when Blizzard wins, but I hope the jury sees what EA DICE did and awards them accordingly. Plus, I don't think Battlefield 1 wins any other award this year so this is a good way to make a pro-risk, pro-I-believe-in-the-consumer-not-just-wanting-the-same-thing-repackaged-each-year statement and reward EA DICE for this effort.Prediction: EA DICEConfidence Score: 1.5/5 (my second lowest confidence level for the Awards this year)Best Narrative
Again, Uncharted 4 is hurt by its exclusivity, but also its game type (its not a narrative, but a gameplay-driven game). Mafia III has a great beginning and end but is hurt by its lackluster middle and empty world. Oxenfree is probably the least known of the five games which hurts it in its claim. This leaves Firewatch and Inside, and of the two, I would award it to Firewatch. Two reasons: one, Firewatch IS narration, its the whole point and focus of the game. Second, Inside gets its due in the next category. Entirely possible these two game will flip-flop awards though, which is why the confidence level is slightly lower than my GotY confidence level.Prediction: FirewatchConfidence Score: 4/5Best Art Direction
Abzu is hurt by being the least known and being a Sony exclusive. Uncharted 4 again is hurt by both being a Sony exclusive and a typical AAA game (aka not "artsy" enough). Overwatch makes a strong case for itself by having creative character design and may win for this, but again I think this is going to the game that feels the most "indy" and "artsy". This leaves again Firewatch and Inside, and of the two, Inside has the more stunning, artsy visuals.Prediction: InsideConfidence Score: 3.5/5Best Music/Sound Design
Now we start getting into categories where my knowledge starts tapering off, having not heard the complete soundtrack of all of these games. However, of the five games here, Rez Infinite and Thumper are THE music driven games of this year, and of these two, Rez Infinite has the most buzz about it soundtrack-wise. Prediction: Rez InfiniteConfidence Score: 3.5/5Best Performance
Troy Baker, Nolan North et al will eventually win this category, but they are hurt by having THREE nominees from the same game. Plus once again, Uncharted isn't wholly driven by narration like Firewatch is. Of course, the same issue applied to Firewatch with two nominations from here, but as a narration driven game, it makes up points here. Alex Hernandez is the dark horse for winning here as Mafia III may get credit for its handling of a sensitive topic (1960s New Orleans racism) and taking risks with its dialogue, but given that Alex isn't the best voice actor in the game (give that to Father John) I just can't see the award going to him. Instead, pencil me in for Cissy Jones of Firewatch. Firewatch lives and dies on the narration between Cissy and Rich Sommer, and of the two, Cissy is the standout performance.Prediction: Cissy JonesConfidence Score: 4/5Games for Impact
I haven't played/seen these five games, but of the five, That Dragon, Cancer has the most buzz about it, and everyone who has played it has stated how moving and emotional it is. Given its history and the tragic backstory behind it, and its "buzz-worthiness" compared to the other games, I think this one is a shoe-in. Any game where the press actively laments that not more people are playing it says volumes about the game. (Side note: I have every intention of picking it up over Christmas and playing it. As a new father myself, its emotional impact should be huge on me)Prediction: That Dragon, CancerConfidence Score: 5/5 (tied for highest confidence level of 2016) Best Independent Game
Another tough category to judge since we have some strong contenders this year. Rule out Stardew Valley for being too niche (though everyone I know who has played it absolutely loves it) and the least known of the five. Hyperlight Drifter, while less niche, is still an 8-bit throwback and isn't as well known as the other three. This leaves The Witness, Inside and Firewatch. A tough decision amonghts these, but considering the Witness is a slow-paced puzzle game, we'll rule it out. This leaves Firewatch and Inside (again), and of the two, Firewatch has more awards, leaning it to Inside. Further, as a GotY candidate, Inside will get its due here.Prediction: InsideConfidence Score: 2.5/5Best Mobile/Handheld Game
I know very little about mobile games, only really playing interactive fiction games on my phone. Fortunately, life made this prediction very easy for me as Pokemon: Go is the clear winner here. No other game got so much main stream attention as Pokemon: Go this year, and no other game pulled so many non-gamers into gaming. It was a global phenomenon, what else is there to say? I got one -- this is one of only two categories Pokemon: Go is up for an award in.
Its almost guaranteed.Prediction: Pokemon: GoConfidence Score: 5/5 (tied for highest confidence level of 2016)Best VR Game
Another category that I'm lacking in, not owning a VR helmet myself, though at least I've tried out a bunch of games on this list. Rez Infinite and Thumper will split the music-game vote, knocking both out of contention. Of the remaining three, my nod goes to EVE: Valkyrie, as its the most "traditionally complete" game and feels least like a tech demo.Prediction: EVE: ValkyrieConfidence Score: 2.5/5Best Action Game
Now we get into the genre-specific games. Previously, this category has been "Best Shooter" but its winners, Far Cry 4 and 'Splatoon, while deserving, are not what I'd call typical shooter games (think "Best Heavy Metal Band" and Jethro Tull). So, a switch in the category name, but I'm guessing no switch in philosophy. A good crop of shooters this year, but Overwatch is clearly the standout hit, the most inclusive and the most fun. And as we see from previous winners, being an atypical shooter doesn't hurt (and it might even help). Nod to Overwatch this year.Prediction: OverwatchConfidence Score: 3/5Best Action/Adventure
Finally, Uncharted 4 gets its due. Hyper Light Drifter gets dinged on obscurity. Hitman gets dinged on its episodic chop-job cash grabbing. Dishonored 2 isn't as well loved as the original. Ratchet & Clank is niche retro. This leaves Uncharted 4 as the clear standout, and with 8 nominations, it was bound to win something.Prediction: Uncharted 4Confidence Score: 3.5/5Best Role Playing Game
A category with this much diversity in it is always hard to predict, but I'll give it a go. Everyone who plays World of Warcraft still loves Legion (at least the people I know who do), but its hurt by being a 10+ year old game with a declining fanbase. Still might get the nod as sort of a late recognition of World of Warcraft's accomplishments, but I think my upcoming theory is more sound. Deus Ex is a solid game but it was hurt by its pre-order controversy, knocking it out of contention. Xenoblade Chronicles, while intensely loved, may be too niche a franchise to win in the West. This leaves Dark Souls III and the Witcher 3 DLC expansion Blood and Wine.
Normally I would assign the winner to be Dark Souls III but Blood and Wine is SO good a DLC (my nod for best DLC of all time, knocking out the Shivering Isles from Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion), offering up so much value (its the length of a standard AAA game nowadays), that I think the jury will throw the award to it. The Game Awards has shown a history of awarding games that offer up pro-consumer policies, quality and value, and Blood and Wine encapsulates all three. The only way this doesn't win is if the jury cannot get over its status as a DLC, which is entirely possible, but I personally hope they can.
This is the category I may be personally swayed the most in my prediction. We'll see...Prediction: Witcher 3: Blood and WineConfidence Score: 3/5Best Fighting Game
I'm not a fighting game guy so I'll try to predict this one the best I can with here-say and logic (and yes, I see the paradox in this). Of the four, my fighter game friends have not given King of Fighter XIV a high rating, so toss that one out on here-say. Logic says that Pokken Tournament may be too far far away from the fighting fanbase to get the votes (even with Super Smah Brothers Brawl winning in the past). This leaves Killer Instinct and Street Fighter V, both flawed contenders. Killer Instinct is hurt by being an Xbox exclusive and Street Fighter V is hurt by being a Sony exclusive. Further , Street Fighter V is hurt by its piecemeal release hurting the casual player. Nevertheless, SFV has come into its own over time and is far and away the most popular fighter on this list. Despite its flaws, logic says to give it to SFVPrediction: Street Fighter VConfidence Score: 2/5Best Strategy Game
A category I should know way more about than I do, being a fan of strategy games but not having the time this year to really play them. If we rule out Fire Emblem Fates for being niche (and I'm not sure I can even do this). We still have four heavy contenders. My heart wants to give it to XCOM 2, but my gut feeling is that it will be the Banner Saga 2. No other reason than its buzz, indie cred, and rabid fan base. Of course, this is the judged category I feel the least confident in my prediction, so take the below prediction with a grain of salt.Prediction: Banner Saga 2Confidence Score: 1/5Best Family Game
Has any game united families more than Pokemon: Go? I've seen families roaming around my own neighborhoods looking for rare Pokemon. How unique is that? While not as big a shoe-in as in the mobile/handheld category, no other game in this category has had a bigger impact on both the gaming and mainstream world. I would by greatly surprised if Pokemon: Go didn't win here.Prediction: Pokemon: GoConfidence Score: 4/5Best Sports/Racing Game
This is an expremely hard category to judge because its judging apples to oranges to telephones -- different sports games have different nuances and are hard to judge against each other, let alone throwing racing games (a completely differentl category in my mind) into the mix. So, we'll just have to apply our category logic as best we can -- remove PES because of its relation to Konami (the Big Bad of 2015 into 2016). Remove Forza due to its Xbox relationship and the fact its lost the past two years (even if a racer has won the past two years). Remove MLB the Show because of its Sony Exclusivity. This leaves FIFA 17 and NBA 2K17. Of the two, give it to NBA 2K17 for its higher metacritic scores. Prediction: NBA 2K17Confidence Score: 2.5/5Best Multiplayer
One last tough category, as thej multiplayer for all five games is supposed to be excellent. However, notch another win for Overwatch here, as its the most well known, accessible, diverse and community friendly of the bunch.Prediction: OverwatchConfidence Score: 2.5/5
Now onto the Fan choice awards, which have slightly different criteria than the judged awards above (and can likewise be more unpredictable). Wish me luck, as I think this is the section I'm most likely to fail on.Most Anticipated Game
Aka "Which Game Has the Most Hype". Tough one this year as there are some good games on the list. A new Zelda game is always big. Mass Effect is a huge franchise. I can see either of them winning. My nod will have to go to Red Dead Redemption 2 however -- the reaction for the short reveal trailer this year was bigger than I remember for any other game (not announced at a convention). That's hard to ignore.Prediction: Red Dead Redemption 2Confidence Score: 3/5Trending Gamer
I'm a bit skewed on this, as I want to see boogie2988 win. He also has a leg up in that he's actively campaigning to win, and the others in the category are more muted on this. My logic brain however says I have to go with Angry Joe as he has the biggest fan base and is the most well known of the bunch.Prediction: AngryJoeShowConfidence Score: 4/5Best Fan Creation
50/50 shot this year, as there are only two nominees, but what fantastic nominees they are. Tough one, My heart wants to give it to Enderal (plus it has the Skyrim fanbase behind it) but I think this is a case where nostalgia wins.
If there was any justice in the world, the award should go to both of these candidates (and if it does, I want prediction credit for it), but the rules say I have to pick one, so... Prediction: Brutal Doom 64Confidence Score: 2/5ESports Player of the Year
Pass. I know nothing about these individuals and can't be bothered to research. ESports Team of the Year
Pass. Same as above, I know nothing about these teams. Further, comparing eSports teams in individuals in different games is like asking who is a better worker from different professions. There just isn't an answer. These two categories will be won by the team and individual who can sheppard in the most votes, rather than by global consensus. I can't be bothered to look these people/teams up and measure their effort in this.ESports Game of the Year
I probably should pass on this but I'll give it a go anyway. CS:GO won last year, beating League of Legends and DOTA 2, so that puts it again as the front runner for all three. Can it beat Overwatch and Street Fighter V in ESport popularity? I'm guessing it would easily beat SFV (based on nothing more than my worthless opinion), but is it the same story for Overwatch?
Nope. Its a popularity contest, and Overwatch is hugely populer. Look for it to beat CS:GO this year.Prediction: OverwatchConfidence Score: 3.5/5
And so there you have it! My predictions for the 2016 Game awards. Tune in tomorrow to the Game Awards to see how good or bad I did and check out my TA blog next week for my post-mortem on my prediction performance (and what I think about the actual winners).
Posted by JohnnyInterfnk
on 30 November 16 at 21:36
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