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The Game Awards 2019 Predictions

As the years have passed, Geoff Keighley has built The Game Awards into something tremendously meaningful in the gaming industry. With his leadership, it has become the most important awards show for developers, publishers, and gamings of all walks of life. While it’s easy to call it the Oscars of gaming, the Oscars is an award ceremony for marketing teams, not for films. The Game Awards isn’t flawless, but it is easily the best look at the past year of gaming out there.

This is an extremely competitive year with a ton of great games. Every category has at least one nominee that had a great impact on gamers and the industry this year. Now, while this is not a comprehensive list of and prediction for each category, these are some of the main categories that we had things to talk about:

 

Best Game Direction

  • Control
  • Death Stranding
  • Resident Evil 2
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
  • Outer Wilds

 

Brandon’s Prediction: Death Stranding

Solid directing efforts impacted all of the nominated games, but Hideo Kojima is an anomaly. Every game with his name on it receives special Kojima treatment. He infuses his games with his DNA in monstrous ways, and he does so publicly and unapologetically. Death Stranding is far from an exception. He took good care to ensure that his first game as the head of an independent studio sent the right message in the right way. While I personally believe he neglected some of the artistic aspects of the game in order to focus attention on the mechanics and story, I defy anyone to give evidence that Kojima is not in every step, package, hardship, and harsh lesson of Sam Porter Bridges’s journey.

 

Best Narrative

  • A Plague Tale: Innocence
  • Control
  • Death Stranding
  • Disco Elysium
  • The Outer Worlds

 

Brandon’s Prediction: Control

Of course, it’s easy to give the win to Death Stranding in a lot of categories, but Control flew under a lot of gamers’ radars this year in terms of its quality. Kojima and Death Stranding do well in PR and marketing, but responses for its narrative have been somewhat mixed. Opinions range from incoherent dribble to brilliant, thematic masterpiece. However, Control has received favorable reviews for its twists and turns, captivating premise, intriguing characters, and dark lore almost across the board. The world and its events are probably more enticing than any game released this year, and the same critics that will be the judges for The Game Awards this year have said so time and time again.

 

Best Art Direction

  • Control
  • Death Stranding
  • GRIS
  • Sayonara Wild Hearts
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

 

Nathanael’s Prediction: GRIS

I fell in love with GRIS the moment I first laid eyes on the reveal trailer. Once in awhile, we’ll see an artsy game that tries to stir up emotions in players. The nominees all boast remarkable art direction, but it’s perhaps GRIS’ most memorable asset. Everything is animated by hand; and yeah, that’s great and all, but what makes it different is the stylistic way in which it presents its world. It’s so dynamic and gorgeous that I don’t think the judges will be able to pass up on this game for Best Art Direction. 

 

Best Score/Music

  • Cadence of Hyrule
  • Death Stranding
  • Devil May Cry 5
  • Kingdom Hearts 3
  • Sayonara Wild Hearts

 

Nathanael’s Prediction: Sayonara Wild Hearts

If we’re talking about which game has the best soundtrack, I’d vote for Kingdom Hearts III. It’s the score I’m going to end up listening to the most in my free time. In terms of which game has the best implementation of music, I would have to say that Saynora Wild Hearts has the best chance of taking home the prize. The difference between Wild Hearts and the other nominees is how the game goes about using music. Every level’s structure and flow is dictated by music. If the tempo picks up, the level’s speed increases. When music increases in loudness or more instruments come in, chances are you’re in a boss fight. I think Sayonara Wild Hearts deserves to win in this category and I have full confidence it will win. 

 

Best Performance

  • Ashly Burch as Parvati Holcomb (The Outer Worlds)
  • Courtney Hope as Jesse Faden (Control)
  • Laura Bailey as Kait Diaz (Gears 5)
  • Mads Mikkelsen as Cliff (Death Stranding)
  • Matthew Porretta as Dr. Casper Darling (Control)
  • Norman Reedus as Sam Porter Bridges (Death Stranding)

 

Brandon’s Prediction: Laura Bailey as Kait Diaz (Gears 5)

Truthfully, I love Ashly Burch in just about every video game she has been in, including The Outer Worlds, but Bailey brings ice and flames, shadow and light, and hills and valleys to her performance as Kait Diaz. Scenes feel alive with emotion whenever she’s in them in Gears 5. This award could so easily go to Mads Mikkelsen or Norman Reedus, but their talents are underutilized in Death Stranding due to shaky dialogue writing. A similar issue is present in Control. Simply put, Burch and Bailey draw out emotions as their respective characters unlike any of the other nominees, and Bailey does it a little bit better.

 

Games for Impact

  • Concrete Genie
  • GRIS
  • Kind Words
  • Life is Strange 2
  • Sea of Solitude

 

Nathanael’s Predictions: Life Is Strange 2

I don’t think there’s really much competition in this category when you boil it all down. Life Is Strange 2 deals with a plethora of social issues: racism, politics, family bonds, and much more. The game handles everyday issues with a level of maturity that few other games can handle. Life Is Strange 2 normalizes the issues without blowing them out of proportion or relying on stereotypes. I think this category is a surefire victory for the choice-based game. 

 

Best Ongoing Game

  • Apex Legends
  • Destiny 2
  • Final Fantasy XIV
  • Fortnite
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

 

Nathanael’s Prediction: Final Fantasy XIV

I can’t say too much for this category except what I’ve heard from people and read online. I’ll keep it brief and say I think Final Fantasy XIV has the best chance of winning. The level of support the developer has provided for the playerbase is unrivaled. Every expansion the game receives seems to top the previous one. Final Fantasy XIV has become an undeniable juggernaut in not only its genre but in the online space in general. 

 

Best Audio Design

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  • Control
  • Death Stranding
  • Gears 5
  • Resident Evil 2
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

 

Brandon’s Prediction: Control

Oddly enough, I can’t wait to see how this category shakes out. Every contender here does something special with audio. Gears 5 and Modern Warfare both go above and beyond with their meticulous use of weapon sounds, explosions, etc. However, something they can often lack that the other nominees do quite well is establish mood and atmosphere. With that being said, Control does this the best of anybody. Audio is used perfectly to draw emotion out of you. During my playthrough, I often stopped and realized how emotionally charged I had unconsciously become. There are few other gaming experiences quite like it, and the audio is responsible for quite a large part of this.

 

Best Community Support

  • Apex Legends
  • Destiny 2
  • Final Fantasy XIV
  • Fortnite
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

 

Brandon’s Prediction: Fortnite

Apex Legends had a good run on Twitch and YouTube, but a run was all it was. In the end, Fortnite still rules these platforms, and that is typically the best window into the community of a game. The support for Epic Games and their gaming phenomenon is unwavering and brilliantly upkept. The addition of “Chapter 2” definitely clinches the win here.

 

Best Mobile Game

  • Call of Duty Mobile
  • Grindstone
  • Sayonara Wild Hearts
  • Sky: Children of Light
  • What the Golf?

 

Nathanael’s Prediction: Sayonara Wild Hearts

Mobile games haven’t yet reached the point where there are consistent, high-quality releases every year. I’m not saying there aren’t several hidden gems. This year, Sayonara Wild Hearts was one of those gems. Although it’s available on consoles, Wild Hearts just works on mobile. It’s the best rhythm game I’ve played over the years and I think it’ll take home Best Mobile Game at The Game Awards. 

 

Best Action/Adventure Game

  • Borderlands 3
  • Control
  • Death Stranding
  • Resident Evil 2
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

 

Brandon’s Prediction: Control

In the context of action/adventure, a game’s true quality shines through the lense of balance. Games like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Resident Evil 2 lean a little to far towards action, overshadowing the adventure. Death Stranding suffers from the opposite problem, as the game can often fall short on the action side of things. Borderlands 3, Control, and Link’s Awakening have all been developed with this balance in mind, and they very much deserve to be nominated for this category. However, the many bugs and subpar narrative of Borderlands 3 make it difficult to enjoy the action and adventure, respectively, at times. Control is bug-free and manages the genre perfectly. It does exactly what an action/adventure game should: blend the two together by using the adventure to give context to the action. Everything you do feels like it matters and helps you progress through deep narrative that leads to more action, and so on.

 

Best RPG

  • Disco Elysium
  • Final Fantasy XIV
  • Kingdom Hearts 3
  • Monster Hunter World: Iceborne
  • The Outer Worlds

 

Brandon’s Prediction: The Outer Worlds

Being compared to Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 3 in just about every review is more than just high praise. The Outer Worlds did a lot right, and most of it comes on the RPG levels of the game. The NPC interactions, choices in the narrative, character creation, and overall freedom serve as the backbone of the game, a strong one at that. Across all versions of the game on Metacritic, it received several perfect scores and a lowest score of only 60. Now, there are some really cynical people on the internet, especially in the world of game journalism, so when your scores have a minimum of 60, you’re doing something right, and for The Outer Worlds, this shows through most of the game’s aspects.

 

Best Fighting Game

  • Dead or Alive 6
  • Jump Force
  • Mortal Kombat 11
  • Samurai Showdown
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

 

Nathanael’s Prediction: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is going to win this category if it doesn’t take home Game of the Year. The other nominees just don’t stand a chance, no matter how you look at it. Sure, you might like other nominees more than Ultimate, but the level of polish, quality, and amount of content that Smash presents is unbeatable. 

 

Best Family Game

  • Luigi’s Mansion 3
  • Ring Fit Adventure
  • Super Mario Maker 2
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  • Yoshi’s Crafted World

 

Brandon’s Prediction: Luigi’s Mansion 3

This category has been a problem in the past and is again this year. True family games haven’t had the same presence in recent years as they did when the Wii had a hold on living rooms and Xbox tried to get Kinect to take off. I personally wouldn’t play any of these games with my family except for Ring Fit Adventure. However, Luigi’s Mansion 3 offers a co-op experience filled with wacky gameplay and family-friendly action that have a fun experience waiting for people of just about any age. Meanwhile, Yoshi’s Crafted World may not appeal as well to an older audience, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate may be a little too technical for busy parents to pick up. Luigi’s Mansion is a happy middle that can connect to all parts of the spectrum.

 

Game of the Year

  • Control
  • Death Stranding
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  • Resident Evil 2
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
  • The Outer Worlds

 

Nathanael’s Prediction: Death Stranding

Personally, I would love to see Super Smash Bros. Ultimate come on top at The Game Awards this year. It’s everything I wanted and didn’t know I wanted in a continually evolving package. But if I’m honest with myself, I think Death Stranding is going to take home the top prize. It’s undeniable that every nominee is worthy in their own right, but Death Stranding is something new and fresh. I don’t think it’ll have anything to do with the fact that The Game Awards and Hideo Kojima are inextricably linked; critics just love new ideas and high production values. Death Stranding does all that with a flair and confidence that we don’t often see in the industry. The game fully believes in itself and ultimately, I think we could see the game take home Game of the Year. 

 

Brandon’s Prediction: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Ultimate on this list of nominees caught me by surprise at first, because I had forgotten that it didn’t win last year. This game has officially been out for over a year, and it’s just as relevant now as ever. Ultimate has managed to be the forefront of the gaming industry since it was teased in March of 2018. The game appeals to a larger audience of gamers than any other game I’ve seen before, except maybe Wii Sports. The lifeblood of my gaming habits is a combination of story, characters, plot, and theme, and even I couldn’t help but buy Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It’s the fastest-selling Nintendo game of all time, and if you ask me, it’s only a matter of time until the game ends up on the list of the top 50 best-selling games of all time, a list already dominated by Nintendo, but I digress. Ultimate is mechanically inviting, artistically impressive, technically sound, and gamingly great. While it technically came out in 2018, that’s not stopping it from taking home gold in 2019.

 

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