Now that we are on the cusp of October, this would typically be the time when all the highly-anticipated releases flood the market. However, the gaming industry has experienced a shift, with most holiday releases being pushed to the spring or summer months. And what a spring and summer it has been! Many agree that this year has been the pinnacle of gaming, rivaling the golden years of the past decade or more.
As the year progresses, the spotlight now turns towards the coveted title of Game of the Year (GOTY) for 2023. Speculations arise about which games will be nominated and eventually claim the crown. While every outlet, YouTuber, and Forbes writer will have their individual picks, the Game Awards nominations hold significant weight. This event serves as a platform for journalists, creators, and developers to cast their votes, making it the closest thing we have to the Oscars, despite its integrated ads.
Inspired by a thought-provoking question posed by my friend Destin on Twitter, I present to you my own picks for the potential nominees. These selections are not necessarily my personal favorites, but rather games that I can envision receiving a nomination or emerging victorious based on the trends of this extraordinary year. Just as there were six nominees last year, let’s stick with that number.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
There is no doubt that “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” deserves a spot on this list. The only question that remains is whether it will clinch the prestigious GOTY title. Initially, I was convinced that it would, but my stance has shifted. Despite the game drawing criticism for reusing the Hyrule map from “Breath of the Wild,” the additions it brings, including the remarkable new building mechanics, make it an instant classic and an extraordinary sequel that defies convention.
Baldur’s Gate 3
Now, my confidence lies with “Baldur’s Gate 3” triumphing over “Tears of the Kingdom.” Larian Studios has crafted an absolutely astonishing game, not just in terms of scale, but also in creating memorable non-player characters and engaging dialogues. The classic characters seamlessly weave into gripping storylines, delivering an experience that fans of the genre adore. With its revival of tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) combat and a series beloved by many, “Baldur’s Gate 3” undoubtedly stands as the frontrunner for this year’s coveted title.
Despite the mixed public opinion surrounding “Starfield” since its release, we can’t overlook its ambitious nature. As a mainline Bethesda game, it holds a significant place in the nomination pool, similar to the renowned “Fallout” series. However, this year’s competition is fierce, and “Starfield” won’t pull off a surprise victory akin to “Fallout 3” or “Skyrim.” Regardless, its inclusion in the nominations is highly probable.
Can we assume that a game yet to be released will receive a nomination? I believe we can. Insomniac Games has consistently delivered outstanding single-player superhero experiences, and “Spider-man 2” appears to be no exception. While I haven’t delved into it myself, judging by the success of “Spider-Man 1” and “Miles Morales,” I wouldn’t be surprised to see it secure a nomination. However, winning might be another matter.
Resident Evil 4 Remake
Although “Resident Evil 4 Remake” launched as early as March, its exceptional reception, boasting a 93 on Metacritic, cannot be overlooked. Capcom has once again delivered a stunning update to the series. While one might argue that a mere remaster shouldn’t make the cut, a full-fledged remake like this certainly deserves its place on the list. I predict it will receive a nomination.
Sea of Stars
Almost every year, a non-AAA game manages to secure a spot on the nominations list. I firmly believe that these types of games should not be underestimated as potential contenders for the ultimate victory. However, this year, it seems improbable for such a game to emerge as the winner. In light of last year’s surprise win by “It Takes Two” over heavyweights like “Resident Evil Village,” “Deathloop,” and “Ratchet and Clank,” I have a hunch that “Sea of Stars” might be this year’s indie pick. Only time will tell.
Armored Core VI
Although relatively niche, “Armored Core VI” boasts impeccable craftsmanship, making it a potential nominee. Other choices for the sixth spot (which is unlikely to overshadow “Tears of the Kingdom” and “Baldur’s Gate”) could include “Final Fantasy XVI,” “Jedi Survivor,” or “Street Fighter 6.” However, I highly doubt that “Diablo 4” will secure a nomination due to its live service setbacks. “Hogwarts Legacy” won’t make the cut, and “Cyberpunk 2077’s” “Phantom Liberty” expansion won’t qualify as a complete game for this list.
These are my predictions for the potential nominees. I would love to hear your personal picks for the Game of the Year on Twitter.
Pick up my sci-fi novels, the “Herokiller” series and “The Earthborn Trilogy.”