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Forums - Gaming Discussion - VGChartz Official GOTY Awards - Results Thread

Dulfite said:
coolbeans said:

I'm glad to see so many performers were duking it out.  Still wish Cissy Jones made the shortlist.  Shame the Call of the Sea's release date did it no favors.

There is an argument to be made that we shouldn't even do votes like this until February or March to give games that released late in the last year time to actually be played by people.

Sure.  I've made a similar case for that in the past.  Given how we did close off votes on Jan. 2, at least there was that extra holiday time to scope out your faves too.

Who knows?  Maybe we'll extend it in the future.



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Chazore said:
Mnementh said:

I would like if a some categories solely feature indies or even better: if in each category the best indie is named as well.

That's an interesting point. It'd be nice if say, for the next awards, we have a section for indie games, like "innovative design" or accomplishment (because we're seeing indie devs as much as one person teams making games that can both grip and entertain us, what usually takes a team of hundreds).

I'm not in favor of this, personally. Somehow there's still a stigma around indie games, that they're inherently lesser than big-budget productions. I think adding in a dedicated indie category only amplifies that notion, because it could lead to the implication that they can't win the proper awards.

That said, I think one way to give more room to indies would be to add a Debut Game category. It's rare that a developer's first game is going to be good enough to be running for most awards, but most new developers are indies.




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Kinda wish I'd voted for Ori for overall GOTY now, even though I haven't actually played through it yet haha. 



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mZuzek said:
Chazore said:

That's an interesting point. It'd be nice if say, for the next awards, we have a section for indie games, like "innovative design" or accomplishment (because we're seeing indie devs as much as one person teams making games that can both grip and entertain us, what usually takes a team of hundreds).

I'm not in favor of this, personally. Somehow there's still a stigma around indie games, that they're inherently lesser than big-budget productions. I think adding in a dedicated indie category only amplifies that notion, because it could lead to the implication that they can't win the proper awards.

That said, I think one way to give more room to indies would be to add a Debut Game category. It's rare that a developer's first game is going to be good enough to be running for most awards, but most new developers are indies.

A problem with both ideas will be lack of nominees each year. We used to have a Most Innovative category and it was a struggle to gather together enough nominees year in year out to make the award work. Some years there were obvious stand-outs, others... well, nothing really. 



Most Disappointing Game of 2020

The 'winner' here managed a fairly decisive 41% of the community vote, and the 'runner-up' received a very high 26% too, which surprised me a bit.

Staff weren't quite so harsh on them, giving the eventual 'winner' and 'runner-up' 25% and 11%, respectively.



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mZuzek said:
Chazore said:

That's an interesting point. It'd be nice if say, for the next awards, we have a section for indie games, like "innovative design" or accomplishment (because we're seeing indie devs as much as one person teams making games that can both grip and entertain us, what usually takes a team of hundreds).

I'm not in favor of this, personally. Somehow there's still a stigma around indie games, that they're inherently lesser than big-budget productions. I think adding in a dedicated indie category only amplifies that notion, because it could lead to the implication that they can't win the proper awards.

That said, I think one way to give more room to indies would be to add a Debut Game category. It's rare that a developer's first game is going to be good enough to be running for most awards, but most new developers are indies.

I'm in favor of separate awards categories for indie games. Yeah, I'd say there is indeed stigma surrounding indie games that mostly stems from their smaller budgets and people's biases in favor of "bigger" games. You know what reinforces that stigma more than a separate category though? Never winning anything. Total de-legitimization goes a lot further in the way of reinforcing people's prejudices against smaller developers, whereas drawing attention to outstanding independently-developed games, by contrast, might cause more people to play those games and, in the process, change opinions.

As things stand, as Machina has pointed out, it's game journalists and critics who are the most likely to play indie games in general because, well, it's part of their job, and therefore those same people who reward them the most often. Regular gamers, by contrast, may have smaller budgets and purchase games based on things like commercials and other ads they spot and recommendations from friends and family members or receive many of their games from oblivious non-gamers as birthday or Christmas gifts and that in turn goes back to what sort of companies have the budgets to market their games widely. And this reality, in turn, results in games being developed for the primary purpose of selling large numbers of copies at a high rate of return on investment, which is a philosophy that can run to the contrary of the artistic advancement of the medium. You might say that, at least in theory, the games critic exists to serve as a kind of corrective to the more injudicious ways of the market.

We can see just by looking at the Game of the Year award breakdowns that indie games fare significantly better among the staffers of media outlets than they do in the reader's choice awards. For this year, for example, only one indie title won reader-based GOTY awards: Hades, which only won 3 such awards; good enough for the fourth-highest total overall. Among media outlets, by contrast, a number of indie titles won GOTY awards including not just Ori and the Will of the Wisps, but also the likes of Spiritfarer, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin, and Kentucky Route Zero,  and Hades won 49 (good enough for second place). That's a reflection of the reality I've just highlighted. Including categories specifically for smaller developers would serve as a needed additional corrective to this general pattern. It could help smaller developers who make great games get the publicity they need to succeed and simply can't get on the natural terms of the market.

Likewise, female-centered games rarely get many awards because the vast majority of the game consumers are male. Scrolling down the list of overall Game of the Year winners across the media landscape from 2003 to the present, you'll notice that most of the titles that won specifically used male lead characters and that The Last of Us Part II will be literally the first overall winner ever to specifically use female leads instead. Putting these realities I've just highlighted together in combination for a second, what chance would you say that oh say an indie game with a female main character (like say Spiritfarer or Sakuna) ever has of winning overall across the media landscape for any given year? Yeah, basically none. There is no chance. Quality and creativity hardly matters when you combine those two things because very few people ever play such titles in the first place. It's to this end that those few outlets daring enough to give such titles the ultimate award deserve acknowledgment for bravery and to have their arguments highlighted at least. The Blade was the lone outlet to name Spiritfarer their Game of the Year and you can find their rationale here. Digitally Downloaded was the sole outlet to name Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin their Game of the Year and you can find their explanation of why here. I don't actually agree with either of those selections for this particular year myself, but both of those titles were among my personal favorites among new titles this year (in addition to Hades and Streets of Rage 4...and Kentucky Route Zero if we count it as a 2020 game since the last chapter was released in 2020 anyway, speaking of which here's the only outlet to name Kentucky Route Zero their Game of the Year on their choice) and I think the arguments behind these selections are worth giving a look to because these really are games worth playing.

Last edited by Jaicee - on 17 January 2021

mZuzek said:

I'm not in favor of this, personally. Somehow there's still a stigma around indie games, that they're inherently lesser than big-budget productions. I think adding in a dedicated indie category only amplifies that notion, because it could lead to the implication that they can't win the proper awards.

That said, I think one way to give more room to indies would be to add a Debut Game category. It's rare that a developer's first game is going to be good enough to be running for most awards, but most new developers are indies.

But what will not adding a cata do to remove said stigma?. By that logic, indies will have to pull AAA style weight and budgets that they only dream of, in order to kill said stigma, and we both know that will never happen.

This site already holds a great deal of preference for AAA over indie games (going by votes, topic discussion, articles on AAA games etc), so by just letting indies get bogged down further by multiple AAA contenders in each cata, the stigma still remains and they'll never climb out of that pit. This years awards and the ones before it show that indies can only win the odd 1-3 type of awards, but it's usually a AAA game that either gets the most wins or overall GOTY.

No offence to anyone here, but I've been here since 2014, and over the years I've pretty much just ended up seeing what I see on sites like Gamespot and IGN, a site filled with a userbase who like like big shiny things with big budget marketing, meaning there's less desire to see actual innovation and distinctive art in said games (before anyone says, no, not mario or just cell shaded types, there's so much more to art styles than cell shading). I can't remember a time when people here were talking about game AI, or how we're still stuck in 2010 level rubber banding AI, but instead we get far, far more talks on who's got what shiny big exclusive, and how shiny does it look, and well, that's both boring and a regressive way of looking at games going forward.

A debut cata could work, but it'll severely limit who can enter, as we'll have to have staff fact check to see that each contender is actually a first time dev game, and not like an indie dev who's already pubbed 5 tiny games before, making it not really a debut game. You also have to understand that having just a debut section, means that you're only giving a glimmer of light to one single winning dev, to which they'll fade into obsucrity next year or the year after, because they will no longer be able to enter that cata ever again, and they'll simply be lumped in with all those AAA devs next year or the years following, leading back to the same issue I spoke of before. 

I say make a separate section just for indies, give them the space they deserve, there's virtually no actual harm being done in making such a section for them. I'm so tired of people fawning over the typical ancient style gameplay mechanics we still find in even the latest AAA games, and this is why I look at indies, because although they have small budgets, they do actually innovate a lot more than AAA's do (We all know a lot of AAA devs love to play it safe, for sales returns, and well, that's shit and regressive by default).

To put my point rather bluntly, do you honestly think a game that lacks so little depth and so little means of interacting with it's world, should win nearly every year, because it just happens to be either an exclusive, or because it's shiny (even both), or a game that's smaller in budget, but allows you to interact with it's world and allows for innovative game mechanics?.

I would likely go for the innovative choice, because it's bringing something new to the table, and I want to be able to interact with the world I play in. A world in which you just get pushed along and spoon fed story is honestly not bringing much to any table, because we've already seen that done before for decades (which we definitely do get a ton of in AAA games, even TLOU II, which also tries to come off like a movie).

Last edited by Chazore - on 17 January 2021

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The fact that TLOU2 was runner-up to most disappointing tells me it's impossible for it to win GOTY here.



Dulfite said:

The fact that TLOU2 was runner-up to most disappointing tells me it's impossible for it to win GOTY here.

Nope, that you see wrong. Based on your logic Trump would've never won presidency. To win it needs me most people voting *for* it, the number of people that would vote *against* it if given the possibility (which does not exist) is irrelevant. If you look at the percentages Machina reveals with the winner, you can win a category with 20-25% of the votes (which sounds about right). So a game could win, even if 75% still hate it.

TLOU2 is a game that polarizes the gamers. The ones who like it, usually *really* like it. The ones who hate usually *really* hate it. As far as I see there are few people that go 'eh, whatever' about it.



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I see the hyperbole around CP is still strong. Has flaws but is still a very good game. Meanwhile Avengers got so much hype by paid journalists and is practically a dead game now, all you see online is about how you can’t get human teammates anymore because so few people play it. It was easily the biggest joke of 2020 imho.

Equally surprised that Ori won for narrative... I don’t remember it having anything special narrative wise. Still maybe my GOTY though.