Entertainment

Gaming’s Oscars night is upon us – here are our picks for the top awards

The biggest night in gaming – the closest thing the industry has to its own Oscars ceremony – is almost upon us.

Live from Los Angeles in just a few days, The Game Awards will honour the best the medium had to offer this year, honouring everything from the biggest blockbusters to the smallest independent debuts.

Gaming reporter Martin Kimber and technology reporter Tom Acres are here with their tips for some of the most competitive categories – and you can keep scrolling for the full list of nominees.

Best game

A Plague Tale: Requiem
Elden Ring
God Of War Ragnarok
Horizon Forbidden West
Stray
Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Martin’s pick: Horizon Forbidden West

It’s very difficult to pull off a successful sequel, but Guerrilla Games has done just that. You’ll struggle to find a prettier game with a bigger, more expansive map. It offers excellent replayability and thus value for money, it is addictive, and did I mention it’s pretty? Plus, robot dinosaurs! What’s not to like?!

Tom’s pick: Stray

Quite the debut from French indie studio BlueTwelve Studio. This surprisingly moving dystopian adventure painted a bleak yet hopeful picture of the fragility of life, and how it endures. Not content with nuanced commentary on capitalism and its impact on the planet, you also play as a very cute cat. And there’s a meow button!

'Robot dinosaurs' made their return in Guerilla's sequel
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‘Robot dinosaurs’ made their return in Guerilla’s sequel. Pic: Sony
Stray features inarguably the cutest main character of the year
Image:
Stray features inarguably the cutest main character of the year

Best narrative

A Plague Tale: Requiem
Elden Ring
God Of War Ragnarok
Horizon Forbidden West
Immortality

Martin’s pick: Horizon Forbidden West

In the first Horizon, it felt like the developers came up with the concept of robot dinosaurs and built the whole game around that idea. However, this sequel boasts a much more fleshed out story, captivating even the players who just want to take on a mechanised velociraptor with a bow and arrow.

Tom’s pick: God Of War Ragnarok

God Of War’s reinvention four years ago was a triumph, plucking the vengeful protagonist Kratos out of his Greek comfort zone and into Norse mythology – with a son, no less. The stranger in a strange land setup was inherently less novel this time, but his metamorphosis from one of gaming’s most two-dimensional meatheads into a touching and relatable depiction of fatherhood goes from strength to strength, with quite the emotional pay-off.

Horizon Forbidden West was one of the best looking games of the year
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Horizon Forbidden West was one of the best looking games of the year. Pic: Sony
Kratos meets all manner of great characters on his latest journey, including Ratatoskr the squirrel
Image:
Kratos meets all manner of great characters on his latest journey, including Ratatoskr the squirrel

Best art direction

Elden Ring
God Of War Ragnarok
Horizon Forbidden West
Scorn
Stray

Martin’s pick: God Of War Ragnarok

I played this recently with some friends, who genuinely couldn’t tell the difference between the cinematics and the gameplay. If you basically want a playable, violent Pixar film, this is the game for you.

Tom’s pick: Elden Ring

FromSoftware’s games have always boasted tremendous art direction, and each have brought its dark, fantasy tendencies to bigger audiences. Elden Ring was a collaboration with Game Of Thrones creator George RR Martin, showcased by the sheer scope and detail of its world. There’s an almost impossible-to-imagine level of variety, with every corner you turn invariably offering something new. Best art or not, it’s definitely got the most.

God Of War Ragnarok boasts some typically enormous creatures
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God Of War Ragnarok boasts some typically enormous creatures
The scope and variety of Elden Ring's world is unmatched. Pic: Bandai Namco
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The scope and variety of Elden Ring’s world is unmatched. Pic: Bandai Namco

Best family game

Kirby And The Forgotten Land
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Mario + Rabbids Sparks Of Hope
Nintendo Switch Sports
Splatoon 3

Martin’s pick: Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

If I could give this game all of the above awards, I would. It’s been so long since they released one of these, I was worried they’d mess with the perfect recipe – but they didn’t. Collectible characters, stud multipliers and hilarious cinematics all make a return. A must-play for every family member (and Star Wars nerd).

Tom’s pick: Nintendo Switch Sports

I didn’t realise how much I missed the thrill of family competition in Wii Sports until its spiritual successor arrived on Nintendo’s Switch console. As was the case with the original, your mileage with each sport will vary and tennis and bowling remain by far the best, but each is boosted by far more precise motion controls and online multiplayer.

Pic: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
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LEGO Star Wars lets you play through all nine main films. Pic: Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment
Bowling was one of the highlights of Nintendo's return to sports games. Pic: Nintendo
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Bowling was one of the highlights of Nintendo’s return to sports games. Pic: Nintendo

Best multiplayer game

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II
MultiVersus
Overwatch 2
Splatoon 3
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge

Martin’s pick: Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II

Boy, this game is hard. It’s so bloomin’ hard. I haven’t died this much in a game since… well, ever. But the new multiplayer maps are well-designed, the gun play is satisfying and balanced, and it’s fast. Infinity Ward has had a long time to perfect the FPS formula, and they’ve done just that.

Tom’s pick: Splatoon 3

Infinity Ward may have perfected the FPS formula, but Nintendo has a monopoly on futuristic paintball. Splatoon 3 was very much more of the same, with an emphasis on the more. While the fast-paced matches and tight controls were familiar to anyone who played prior instalments, a bolstered selection of maps, modes, and weapons made it a worthy entry in a series which remains unlike anything else almost six years after it debuted.

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II releases this month
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Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II was the biggest launch in franchise history
Splatoon 3 offered more of the same - but it was all good. Pic: Nintendo
Image:
Splatoon 3 offered more of the same – but it was all good. Pic: Nintendo

Best game direction

Elden Ring
God of War Ragnarok
Horizon Forbidden West
Immortality
Stray

Best score and music

A Plague Tale: Requiem
Elden Ring
God Of War Ragnarok
Metal: Hellsinger
Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Best audio design

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II
Elden Ring
God Of War Ragnarok
Gran Turismo 7
Horizon Forbidden West

Best performance

Ashly Burch, Horizon Forbidden West
Charlotte McBurney, A Plague Tale: Requiem
Christopher Judge, God Of War Ragnarok
Manon Gage, Immortality
Sunny Suljic, God Of War Ragnarok

Games for impact

A Memoir Blue
As Dusk Falls
Citizen Sleeper
Endling – Extinction is Forever
Hindsight
I Was a Teenage Exocolonist

Best ongoing game

Apex Legends
Destiny 2
Final Fantasy XIV
Fortnite
Genshin Impact

Best indie game

Cult Of The Lamb
Neon White
Sifu
Stray
Tunic

Best debut indie

Neon White
Norco
Stray
Tunic
Vampire Survivors

Best community support

Apex Legends
Destiny 2
Final Fantasy XIV
Fortnite
No Man’s Sky

Best mobile game

Apex Legends
Diablo Immortal
Genshin Impact
Marvel Snap
Tower Of Fantasy

Best VR/AR game

After The Fall
Among Us
Bonelab
Moss: Book II
Red Matter 2

Best action game

Bayonetta 3
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II
Neon White
Sifu
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge

Best action/adventure game

A Plague Tale: Requiem
God Of War Ragnarok
Horizon Forbidden West
Stray
Tunic

Best role-playing game

Elden Ring
Live A Live
Pokemon Legends: Arceus
Triangle Strategy
Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Best fighting game

DNF Duel Arc
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
The King Of Fighters XV
MultiVersus
Sifu

Best sim/strategy game

Dune: Spice Wars
Mario + Rabbids Sparks Of Hope
Total War: Warhammer III
Two Point Campus
Victoria 3

Best sports/racing game

F1 22
FIFA 23
NBA 2K23
Gran Turismo 7
OlliOlli World

The Game Awards takes place on 9 December at 12.30am UK time.

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