Games

The Game Awards 2020 Predictions

We’re revealing our predictions for today’s The Game Awards 2020, which is set to begin at 3:30 PM PT / 6:30 PM ET / 12:30a CET. This year has been another great year for video games (less so everything else!) which has led us to tonight’s annual award show. Spread out across 31 categories, judges and fans have voted for their favourite games once again and while almost all of us are predicting The Last of Us Part 2 is predicted to win Game of The Year, another game could take that coveted spot.

Hades has swept the gaming world by storm this year and proves that indies are always (and will always) be a contender when it comes to delivering a product so good that everyone is talking about it. Our predictions are focused solely on the categories we have seen and while we’re expecting tons of reveals, we’ve decided to keep things focused on the games being nominated for their excellence.

We’ve broken our predictions down and made our decisions, the rest comes down to tonight. This year includes a large range of genres and a lot of the nominations feel like they could go in several directions. Some categories also feel really narrow so in some categories like Best Mobile Game, fan-favourite Among Us seems like a surefire win.

S – Steve

L – Luke

D – Dennis

B- Bobby

Game of the Year

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • Doom Eternal
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake
  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • Hades S
  • The Last of Us Part II D L B

Three of us are sure The Last of Us Part II  is going to take home Game of the Year at tonight’s Game Awards show and for good reason, there’s still much to discuss in Naughty Dog’s biggest and most divisive title yet. Steve thinks indie darling Hades will take home the biggest award and I wouldn’t be shocked if Supergiant’s best title won. I’m eager to see what happens.

-Bobby

The Game Awards has been known to surprise us in the past. While each one of the Game of the Year nominations deserves the highest praises, Hades has struck a chord with players and critics alike this year. Regardless of who wins the Game of the Year award, I think we can all agree that 2020 gave us some incredibly memorable gaming experiences.

-Steve

Look at Steve out here being the guy running in the other direction! Every once in a while a piece of media comes along that totally divides us but also redefines how we think about storytelling. The Last of Us Part II is one of those games. I can’t say it was an enjoyable experience thanks to its level of ultraviolence and pessimistic view of humanity. But when you’re talking about the game that did the most for gamers and gaming this year, odds are you are talking about this game.

-Luke

When you look at Game of the Year nominees, the category obviously has tiers to what game will probably. While a nominee like Hades has gotten some acclaim since the game’s full release from people who played it multiple times – even Steve thinks it has a chance to win or maybe he’s trying to be – in the recent months, I still think the choice here is obvious. The Last of Us Part II is a game that truly pushed the medium forward from multiple aspects, it took me in multiple directions as a player/storyteller and did something I thought a narrative in any medium could do. It answered the question if a sequel was necessary and did it in a spectacular way. It’s not just Game of the Year but Game of the Generation.

-Dennis

Best Action Game

  • DOOM Eternal (id Software/Bethesda)
  • Hades (Supergiant Games) S D L B
  • Half-Life: Alyx (Valve)
  • Nioh 2 (Team Ninja)
  • Streets of Rage 4 (DotEmu)

Another stellar category that offers five really excellent games. I’m hoping to see Hades win this category but Streets of Rage 4 and Nioh 2 would certainly fit the bill as being the Best Action game this year. On the other hand, iD’s DOOM Eternal proved the decades-old franchise still has a lot of life left and I’d be happy to see them win this category.

-Bobby

I have this weird relationship with Hades where it is the literal game that haunts my nightmares! I am horrible at roguelike games — like, the worst! But I do appreciate it when one invites me to keep coming back despite every time I fail it with great promise. I haven’t experienced a cycle of this much hell and enjoyment with a game since my time spent with Hollow Knight, so that’s why my pick is Hades.

-Luke

I think if you look at Game of the Year category and many categories like this one, For Hades and the Best Action Game category, it has a lot of ‘OK if it doesn’t win Game of The Year, it’s definitely winning this category’ energy to it. I think this is a lock in my mind, I would be shocked if Supergiant doesn’t win this category.

-Dennis

Best Action/Adventure Game

  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
  • Ghost of Tsushima (Sucker Punch/SIE) S D L B
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales (Insomniac Games/SIE)
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Moon Studios/Xbox Game Studios)
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (Respawn/EA)
  • The Last of Us Part 2 (Naughty Dog/SIE)

Ghost of Tsushima has already won Player’s Voice Award at this year’s Game Awards, and Sucker Punch’s thrilling look at the Mongol invasion of Tsushima island is certainly one of the best PlayStation exclusives. This is a hard category to pick one definitive winner alone, but as a panel, we’ve all decided that the tale of Jin Sakai is going home as Best Action/Adventure Game.

-Bobby

Best Art Direction

  • Final Fantasy VII Remake (Square Enix) B
  • Ghost of Tsushima (Sucker Punch/SIE)
  • Hades (Supergiant Games) L
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Moon Studios/Xbox Game Studios) S D
  • The Last of Us Part II (Naughty Dog/SIE)

A split category amongst the four of us. I enjoyed Final Fantasy VII Remake quite a bit and each game in this category deserve the award. I struggled with my decision when looking at the nominees but really, this is another category that can go in a few directions. The iconic art of Final Fantasy VII will always have a place in my heart.

-Bobby

Well, would you look here! We are all split when it comes to artist rendering. Now, I will play nicely with Steve and Dennis and say that I am absolutely gutted by Ori‘s snubbing this year. However, Bobby is in some… fantasy… land in thinking VII Remake is going to win! While HD Midgar is beautiful, there are some horrible textures and flat backgrounds there! My buck goes to Hades as I love a good top-down game that still has a world of depth and not a view like the Sector 7 Slums viewed from the disk! I am also a huge fan of the gritty-yet-colourful interpretations of the Greek Pantheon!

-Luke

There are a lot of categories that Steve and I have the same opinion on. When I look at games like Final Fantasy VII Remake, Ghost of Tsushima or The Last of Us Part II, they are all the same in my mind as far as Art Direction for some really pretty 3D renderings of characters and environments (not for Final fantasy VII Remake’s background textures though)… maybe Ghost of Tsushima takes the slight edge in that respect. I think this category really comes down to Hades and Ori and the Will of the Wisps because these are both beautiful games but if Moon Studios can win one category, I think Art Direction is it.

-Dennis

Best Audio Design

  • DOOM Eternal (id Software/Bethesda)
  • Half-Life: Alyx (Valve)
  • Ghost of Tsushima (Sucker Punch/SIE) S
  • Resident Evil 3 (Capcom)
  • The Last of Us Part 2 (Naughty Dog/SIE) D L B

Naughty Dog really cares about delivering the artesian experience with their games and every aspect has so much love and care put into it, you’ll find that every piece of the game seamlessly fits together. The audio design is stellar in The Last of Us Part 2 and is a testament to the raw talent the studio is moulding for the future of games.

-Bobby

While I do agree with my cohorts that The Last of Us Part II excelled in its audio design, Ghost of Tsushima’s audio was unparalleled in my opinion. In what I can only continue to describe as an authentic Kurosawa experience, the game is leveraged by its audio. From the clam sounds of wind blowing to the explosive reverberations of steel clashing in battle. Sucker Punch really impressed this year.

-Steve

Ghost of Tsushima

Steve! Always running away from the group!! To be fair, (to be faiiiiiirrrrrr!) I agree with Steve that Sucker Punch did an amazing job of leveraging traditional Japanese music with sparse windsong and cries of swords protesting that you’ve hit them. But Naughty Dog is just known for sounds. What you hear and when you hear it has always been a huge part of the Naughty Dog extended universe and nowhere is that more present than The Last of us Part 2. I’m looking at the birthday scene in the museum in particular… there were some sounds there!

-Luke

Best Community Support

  • Apex Legends (Respawn/EA)
  • Destiny 2 (Bungie)
  • Fall Guys (Mediatonic/Devolver) S L B
  • Fortnite (Epic Games) D
  • No Man’s Sky (Hello Games)
  • Valorant (Riot Games)

Content Creator of the Year

  • Alanah Pearce D L B S
  • NickMercs
  • TimtheTatman
  • Jay Ann Lopez
  • Valkyrae

This is a category that is both easy and tough to call because Alanah Pearce is the only content creator I’ve know of in this category. I think she has a chance though because of the hard work she put into this year whether it’s through donation streams or even when she teamed up with AbleGamers to put on the inaugural Accessibility Game Awards. Her game industry podcast Play, Watch, Listen has also been highlight of the year if she doesn’t win this category I won’t be surprised but I hope she does because I think she deserves it more.

-Dennis

Best Debut Game

  • Carrion (Phobia Game Studio/Devolver)
  • Mortal Shell (Cold Symmetry/Playstack) D
  • Raji: An Ancient Epic (Nodding Heads Games)
  • Röki (Polygon Treehouse/CI Games)
  • Phasmophobia (Kinetic Games) S L B

I think out of this category, Phasmophobia is likely to win the award. Carrion as a fun little metroidvania title that launched this year but the streams of others playing Kinetic Games’ ghost hunter title are hilarious.

-Bobby

Motal Shell

Best Esports Event

  • BLAST Premier: Spring E2020 European Finals (CS:GO)
  • Call of Duty League Championship 2020 B
  • IEM Katowice 2020 (CS:GO) S
  • League of Legends World Championship 2020 D L
  • Overwatch League Grand Finals 2020

Best Esports Game

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (Infinity Ward/Raven/Activision)
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (Valve)
  • Fortnite (Epic Games) D
  • League of Legends (Riot Games) S L B
  • Valorant (Riot Games)

Best Esports Host

  • Eefje “Sjokz” Depoortere
  • Alex “Machine” Richardson
  • Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez S D L B
  • James “Dash” Patterson
  • Jorien “Sheever” van der Heijden

Best Esports Athlete

  • Ian “Crimsix” Porter / Call of Duty
  • Heo “Showmaker” Su / League of Legends B
  • Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu / League of Legends
  • Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro / Call of Duty S L
  • Matthieu “ZywOo” Herbaut / CS:GO D

Best Esports Team

  • DAMWON Gaming / League of Legends
  • Dallas Empire / Call of Duty
  • San Francisco Shock / Overwatch League S L B
  • G2 Esports / League of Legends D
  • Team Secret / DOTA2

Best Family Game

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Nintendo) S D L B
  • Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time (Toys for Bob/Activision)
  • Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout (Mediatonic/Devolver)
  • Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit (Velan Studios/Nintendo)
  • Minecraft Dungeons (Mojang/Double Eleven/Xbox Game Studios)
  • Paper Mario: The Origami King (Intelligent Systems/Nintendo)

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the quintessential family game of the year. On top of it releasing at precisely the right time at the start of the global pandemic, Animal Crossing is accessible to all manner of players. It’s a game you can enjoy while sitting together with your family members on a couch. Alternatively, in the year where social distancing has plagued our ability to see loved ones face to face, Animal Crossing: New Horizons gives us the ability to hang out virtually on our islands.

– Steve

Steve sums this up well enough! Also, I visited an island dedicated to the process of making mayonnaise this year as part of a charity function! So I feel like that explains how this game goes beyond just being a game!

-Luke

The Family category will always be Nintendo’s category to win, if Animal Crossing: New Horizons doesn’t win Game of the Year it’s for sure winning this category like Steve said. It’s even used as a basis for  late night talk show by that guy who wrote that one Star Wars movie, Disney’s best produced one but that’s not saying much.

-Dennis

Best Fighting Game

  • Granblue Fantasy: Versus (Arc System Works/Cygames) D
  • Mortal Kombat 11/Ultimate (NetherRealm Studios/WB Games) S L B
  • Street Fighter V: Champion Edition (Dimps/Capcom)
  • One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows (Spike Chunsoft/Bandai-Namco)
  • UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH Exe: Late[cl-r] (French Bread/Arc System Works)

Mortal Kombat 11 is as gruesome as ever and consistently updating and providing some really interesting cameos to the series. While we’ve seen some cool crossovers before, Mortal Kombat 11 delivers not only Robocop, Terminator, and Rambo, but also the original cast of the Mortal Kombat movie. I don’t see any other title in this category doing what NetherRealm Studios is doing and for that, they are taking up Best Fighting Game.

-Bobby

Mortal Kombat 11 has the best DLC of 2020. I’d buy that for a dollar. Wait… I think it cost me more than a dollar?! Let me go check! I’ll be back!

-Luke

OK I got a lot of  ‘turns chair around and sits backward in it like that Captain America meme’ energy and thoughts on this category. Not for the nominees, but just how The Game Awards does this category. One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows is a game that shouldn’t to be in this category, how they vote nominees for this category needs to be put on its head. Get the Fighting Game Community involved or have more of a say in what they believe the best fighting games, they know better then the gaming press who voted for One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows… SHAME on them. Oh and the actual best game to win this category is gonna be Granblue Fantasy: Versus because Arc System Works, the Naughty Dog of fighting games does no wrong.

-Dennis

Best Game Direction

  • Final Fantasy VII Remake
  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • Hades
  • Half-Life: Alyx
  • The Last of Us Part II S D L B

Naughty Dog has a ton of nominations this year and I wouldn’t be surprised if they won Best Game Direction! There’s so much to love about The Last of Us Part II and Neil Druckmann, Anthony Newman, and Kurt Margenau have done some impressive work as team and the reception this game received is proof of that. I don’t see any other title taking this award home!

-Bobby

Games for Impact

  • If Found … (DREAMFEEL/Annapurna Interactive)
  • Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition (Cardboard Computer/Annapurna Interactive)
  • Spiritfarer (Thunder Lotus Games)
  • Tell Me Why (Dontnod Entertainment/Xbox Game Studios) S D L B
  • Through the Darkest of Times (Paintbucket Games)

Best Indie Game

  • Carrion (Phobia Game Studio)
  • Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout (Mediatonic/Devolver)
  • Hades (Supergiant Games) S D L B
  • Spelunky 2 (Mossmouth)
  • Spiritfarer (Thunder Lotus Games)

Hades is going to take this category and win the award, Supergiant Games is likely to take home an award or two and this is definitely one of them!

-Bobby

Innovation in Accessibility

  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
  • Grounded (Obsidian/Xbox Game Studios)
  • HyperDot (Tribe Games)
  • The Last of Us Part II (Naughty Dog/SIE) S D L B
  • Watch Dogs Legion (Ubisoft Toronto/Ubisoft)

I’ll be the one to comment on this awesome new category! It would appear that we are moving towards a truly accessible gaming space, and 2020 brought so many innovations to help us get there. I truly admire what David Tisser and and Cherry Thompson are doing over at Ubisoft. And Tribe Games’ made HyperDot with a focus on accessibility from the get-go, and it shows! The stuff the team has managed to do with eye-tracking is seriously next-level! But to repeat something Cherry always says, “All options are accessibility options!” And Naughty Dog took that to heart with The Last of Us Part II. Every option feels like it could be game-changing to someone. There are a few options that I definitely used and had no clue helped with my disability until I really thought about it.

– Luke

Best Mobile Game

  • Among Us (InnerSloth) S D L
  • Call of Duty Mobile (TiMi Studios/Activision)
  • Genshin Impact (miHoYo) B
  • Legends of Runeterra (Riot Games)
  • Pokémon Café Mix (Genius Sonority)

Best Multiplayer Game

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Nintendo)
  • Among Us (InnerSloth) S D L 
  • Call of Duty: Warzone (Infinity Ward/Raven/Activision) B
  • Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout (Mediatonic/Devolver)
  • Valorant (Riot Games)

The rise in success of Among Us is something that rarely ever comes. From having roughly 20 concurrent players during launch in 2018 to being a viral phenomenon, there’s no doubt in my mind that InnerSloth’s title deserves to walk away with the Best Multiplayer Game award this year.

– Steve

It’s Among Us, more of a psychological experiment then a game but boy howdy is it a great experiment that will win Best Multiplayer Game. It really took the steam out of Fall Guys this year.

-Dennis

Best Narrative

  • 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim (George Kamitani)
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake (Kazushige Nojima, Motomu Toriyama, Hiroki Iwaki, Sachie Hirano)
  • Ghost of Tsushima (Ian Ryan, Liz Albl, Patrick Downs, Jordan Lemos)
  • Hades (Greg Kasavin)
  • The Last of Us Part II (Neil Druckmann, Halley Gross) S D L B

Halley Gross and Neil Druckmann worked together on the story for The Last of Us Part II and while that narrative led to a lot of divisive reactions, it was a bold move the writers took and I think it paid off for the studio. I’m not going to say I agreed with the decision but it was a powerful moment for the series and the medium and for that, this award is going to Naughty Dog.

-Bobby

The Game Awards

Best Ongoing Game

  • Apex Legends (Respawn/EA)
  • Destiny 2 (Bungie)
  • Call of Duty Warzone (Infinity Ward/Activision) L B
  • Fortnite (Epic Games) S D
  • No Man’s Sky (Hello Games)

Best Performance

  • Ashley Johnson (Ellie – The Last of Us Part 2)
  • Laura Bailey (Abby – The Last of Us Part 2) S D L B
  • Daisuke Tsuji (Jin Sakai – Ghost of Tsushima)
  • Logan Cunningham (Hades, Poseidon, Achilles, Charon & more – Hades)
  • Nadji Jeter (Miles Morales – Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales)

Best Role-Playing Game

  • Final Fantasy VII Remake (Square Enix) S D L B
  • Genshin Impact (miHoYo)
  • Persona 5 Royal (Atlus, P Studios)
  • Wasteland 3 (inXile Entertainment/Koch)
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon (Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio/Sega)

In a year where we got Final Fantasy VII Remake (finally), it’s hard to choose any other winner. Arguably Square Enix’s biggest game ever, Final Fantasy VII is to this day, a masterpiece in every sense. Of course, the remake takes the familiar story in new and exciting directions and leaves us on a rather large cliffhanger but venturing out into the unknown with Cloud and the gang is an exciting prospect! Let’s Mosey!

-Bobby

I was really hoping my pandemic hair would become Cloud hair… it didn’t!

-Luke

This actually tough since I played all the Japanese developed games in this category – Genshin Impact was made in China, don’t @ me – I think it all comes down to which game bring to the table. I think Persona 5 Royal is one of my favourite RPGs of this year and truly creates a villain – and I don’t like calling him that since his motives feel very human – that doesn’t feel like he’s being evil for the sake of being evil, a truly fantastic written character. At the end of the day it’s the same game with some added fat, I think Final Fantasy VII Remake does more in that respect because it’s not a Remake, this is a game that goes against the path that fate had in mind and is creating a new narrative as another entry in the Final Fantasy VII compilation. Also, that ending and Sephiroth boss fight was straight fire.

-Dennis

Best Score and Music

  • DOOM Eternal (Mick Gordon) L
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake (Nobuo Uematsu, Masashi Hamauzu, Mitsuto Suzuki) S D B
  • Hades (Darren Korb)
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Gareth Coker)
  • The Last of Us Part II (Gustavo Santaolalla, Mac Quale)

Musical scores in video games are as important as the narrative, this is a fact I’ve come to acknowledge as I’ve spent more time in the industry. You can tell a story but unless the music is paired well, the things a developer wants to convey can only do much without the right notes hitting your ears. This year’s nominations include two of my favourite soundtracks: The Last of Us Part II and Final Fantasy VII Remake – and I’m really leaving this one up to one moment for me – when the sweet guitar riff kicks in while fighting the Airbuster in the Shinra Reactor.

-Bobby

Mick Gordon knows all you want in life is to be Slaying demons and listening to metal. Someone give this man an award!

-Luke

Luke’s gotta break out from the group I see. Music is one thing in games I don’t notice unless it’s done really well, heck I love Persona 5’s sound track – one of the tracks is my ringtone – so I think it’s obvious that Final Fantasy VII Remake has this on lock, just from nostalgia alone of this iconic soundtrack. The Sephiroth boss fight with one Wing Angel playing in the background still gives me chills.

-Dennis

Best Sports/Racing

  • Dirt 5 (Codemasters Cheshire/Codemasters)
  • F1 2020 (Codemasters Birmingham /Codemasters)
  • FIFA 21 (EA Vancouver/EA Sports)
  • NBA 2K21 (Visual Concepts/2K)
  • Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 (Vicarious Visions/Activision) S D L B

Reviving Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater as a remake of the first two games is probably the best way Activision could drum up hype for the series. After all, many of us grew up playing these games on the original PlayStation and the emotions I feel when playing these titles is very real. Feeling like a kid all over, jamming out to Superman and nailing some gnarly tricks? This year’s Best Sports Games belongs to Tony Hawk.

-Bobby

Best Strategy/Sim Game

  • Crusader Kings III (Paradox Development Studio/Paradox)
  • Desperados III (Mimimi Games/THQN)
  • Gears Tactics (Splash Damage/The Coalition/Xbox Game Studios)
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator (Asobo/Xbox Game Studios) S D L B
  • XCOM: Chimera Squad (Firaxis/2K)

Best VR/AR Game

  • Dreams (Media Molecule/SIE)
  • Half-Life: Alyx (Valve) S D L
  • MARVEL’s Iron Man VR (Camoflaj/SIE) B
  • STAR WARS: Squadrons (Motive Studios/EA)
  • The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners (Skydance Interactive)

I’ve spent a lot of time playing Iron Man VR this year and also the Dreams VR update but nothing comes close for me as it did when I was Tony Stark flying through the air. Sure, Half-Life: Alyx might be one of the biggest VR games ever, but it’s an exclusive game that I wasn’t able to check out thanks to being developed for the Oculus. It’s on my list of games to check out at some point but for now, playing as Iron Man the VR highlight of the year for me!

-Bobby

I’ll keep this short. Half-Life. We’ve all been waiting for its return. Who could have predicted that the highly anticipated return to the iconic series would come in VR form?

– Steve

I’ll keep it even shorter then Steve, VR is Half Life: Alyx‘s category to win. It really should have taken Doom Eternal‘s Game of the Year spot is all I’m saying.

-Dennis

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