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I already did this once, but the landscape has shifted. This time, I’ll try to use math rather than my own prediction radar, as now it seems somewhat safe to start talking about GOTY, given what’s just been released.
If we’re talking about The Game Awards, the “definitive” GOTY pick in the industry these days, that show has six nominees (unless they expand it, and if there was ever a year to…). We can try to guess which of the best games in an insane year will make that list. But doing it by metascore leaves out a few surprising options, which may slide in anyway if some of the top scoring games are overlooked, perhaps because of their genre.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – 96 – Of all the games on this list, only two feel like they have the potential to actually win. Tears felt like a sure thing before Baldur’s Gate 3 came along, but I cannot rule out that maybe it could still take it. But I doubt it.
2. Baldur’s Gate 3 – 96 – The favorite. At this point, easily the favorite. A triumphant return for the series and TTRPGs in general, a sprawling, shocking epic that will have a hard time being topped. 100% guaranteed to make the list, I’d say 90% guaranteed to win, despite Zelda.
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3. Super Mario Bros. Wonder – 93 – When this came out, it was time to update the list once more. Another stunningly high Mario offering, this time a 2D adventure rather than a 3D title, but Nintendo juggles both of those expertly, as seen here.
4. Resident Evil 4 – 93 – Capcom has been on fire with Resident Evil as of late, and RE4 is no exception with this remake. I don’t know if this is going to make the list, however, though I would say it’s more likely than the next option.
5. Street Fighter 6 – 92 – An incredible score for a fighting game, I just think that this will probably get overlooked for a GOTY spot because it’s a fighting game, fair or not, and will instead have to be content winning its own category elsewhere in the show.
6. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 – 91 – I do think being in a more mainstream genre helps, and even if there are a few others here who’s points tick higher, I think Insomniac will be rewarded with a GOTY slot here easily, even if it’s unlikely to win. It should win whatever “action” category this game is counted in, however.
So, that’s six slots? What’s missing? As you can see, even more games, many of which would probably have made up the top 6 by themselves in a different year.
Diablo IV – 91 – I think people forget how well received this game was right at launch because of its stellar campaign, and before it ran into endgame and live service problems which are now only starting to be fixed months later. It will get nominated in some categories, but not GOTY. I think Lilith’s VA should get nominated, for starters.
Sea of Stars – 91 – Of every game here, this is one I am fairly confident may end up landing a GOTY slot. We rarely go a year without some smaller game grabbing one of those spots and this year, it feels like Sea of Stars may be the pick for that. Maybe Hi-Fi Rush? Dave the Diver?
Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty – 90 – I don’t exactly know the rules here. Phantom Liberty is an expansion but longer than most other games. My guess is it can’t get nominated for GOTY, and would have to settle for “Best Ongoing” or something. And it should have a bunch of VA slots.
Final Fantasy XVI – 87 – Wild that a “low” score this year is an 87 compared to these others. I know Final Fantasy has a massive fanbase, but given its competition, I don’t know it can secure a nomination. I think it’s possible, I just don’t know how likely.
Starfield – 86 – In another era, a new, mainline Bethesda game would be a shoe-in for a GOTY nomination, and possibly even a win. Starfield, despite being a success for Xbox, has indeed been overshadowed by a lot this year. I previously picked it to grab a nomination but now? After Spider-Man and Mario? I’m now doubting that pretty heavily.
Hogwarts Legacy – 85 – This will easily be one of the best-selling games of the year, by far, given the IPs wide reach and how many platforms it released on. But it will not get nominated for GOTY, and I doubt it wins whatever “adventure” category it’s in either. Will have to be content with a billion in revenue.
Things I don’t even have room for: Armored Core 6, Lies of P, Jedi Survivor, Dead Space Remake, (probably) Alan Wake 2
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