The anticipation is palpable as the race for the Game of the Year 2023 title heats up. Leading the charge is the highly acclaimed release of Baldur’s Gate 3 last week, which has already become a sensation on Steam. With its immersive gameplay and endless possibilities, this role-playing game is being hailed as a landmark in gaming history, reminiscent of experiencing D&D The Video Game itself. For those, like me, without a powerful gaming PC, the wait for its arrival on the PlayStation 5 next month has felt interminable. (And for those with only an Xbox Series console, my condolences.)
As autumn arrives, the gaming world braces for an influx of potential Game of the Year contenders. Unlike the film industry’s traditional “award season,” the gaming industry releases a myriad of massive games throughout the year, each with the potential to vie for the prestigious title.
On the same day that Baldur’s Gate 3 graces the PlayStation 5, another strong contender enters the arena: Bethesda’s Starfield. After more than two decades, the renowned studio is set to release their first original IP, promising an experience akin to “Skyrim in space,” according to director Todd Howard. Starfield aims to provide players with the same vast freedom and exploration that made Skyrim a cultural phenomenon. However, living up to Skyrim’s immense popularity and enduring legacy won’t be an easy feat. As a Microsoft exclusive in a year that is teeming with competitors, Starfield faces an uphill battle to secure a spot among the top five most popular games.
Following the releases of Baldur’s Gate 3 and Starfield, September and October usher in a wave of exciting games that could potentially contend for Game of the Year. Titles such as Mortal Kombat 1, Lies of P, Alan Wake 2, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, and Super Marios Bros. Wonder grace this fall’s lineup, all worthy contenders for the coveted title. Additionally, games like Armored Core VI, Sea of Stars, Cocoon, Detective Pikachu Returns, Lords of the Fallen, Super Mario RPG, and Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora are set to release this year, making them dark horse contenders in an already fierce competition.
Among the multitude of releases, the game that personally excites me the most is Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, scheduled to swing into action in October. Its predecessor captivated players with its excellent gameplay and emotionally charged storyline, drawing inspiration from the beloved Batman: Arkham series. The standalone follow-up, Miles Morales, continued to expand the Spider-Man universe, earning universal acclaim. Now, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 offers the opportunity to play as both Spider-Men, introducing unique storylines and even donning the iconic black suit. In any other year, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 would easily be a front-runner for Game of the Year.
Let us not forget the exceptional releases we have already enjoyed in 2023. Titles such as Hi-Fi Rush, Dead Space, Hogwarts Legacy, Remnant 2, Final Fantasy XVI, and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor have all received critical acclaim and achieved commercial success. Despite the controversies surrounding it, Hogwarts Legacy soared to new heights, becoming one of Steam’s most-played games with over 15 million copies sold.
However, looming over the entire competition is the highly anticipated sequel to the iconic Breath of the Wild: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Regarded as one of the best games of its generation and possibly of all time, Breath of the Wild set the bar incredibly high. Yet, Tears of the Kingdom surpasses all expectations, introducing new gameplay elements such as the Ultrahand and the mesmerizing sky islands. Building upon its predecessor’s quality and success, Tears of the Kingdom is an exceptional sequel. In any other year, it would undoubtedly be the undeniable frontrunner for Game of the Year, having captivated the gaming world with over 18.5 million sales and universal praise.
But this is 2023, a year that refuses to be overshadowed. With a multitude of extraordinary releases competing for the prestigious Game of the Year award, every gamer will have their personal favorites. We find ourselves truly spoiled for choice, although our wallets might disagree.
So, buckle up, gamers! The battle for the Game of the Year 2023 is only just beginning, promising unforgettable adventures and epic battles that will test the limits of our gaming prowess. Stay tuned as we witness the rise of gaming legends and the crowning of a champion.