The 2016 Game Awards Predictions

Alright, the 2016 Game Awards are Thursday. I'll even be in attendance this year (which is like one step closer to properly covering or being some sort of official presence, right?). So as is custom with this kind of thing, here are some predictions as to who will win (as well as who I would vote for). I'm gonna skip over a couple of the awards like the eSports stuff because I just don't know that scene well enough to make any sort of informed opinion. So without further adieu, let's see what we have.

For the sake of avoiding rewriting a whole lot of game names, I'm just going to italicize my vote and bold who I think will winIf they align, I'll do both.

Most Anticipated Game

  • God of War
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Possibly the kiss of death if a game gets over-hyped like No Man's Sky, I think Zelda takes this. People have been waiting for years since Nintendo announced the new Zelda, and it pretty much passed an entire console generation by. Red Dead got a ton of hype upon their initial tweet-tease but then failed to stick the landing with a somewhat lackluster trailer.

Best Fan Creation

  • Brutal Doom 64
  • Enderal: The Shards of Order

Since Nintendo allegedly killed either one of my initial two choices, (Pokemon Uranium would have easily walked away with this but the Metroid remake looked pretty cool too), I end up falling back to the only recognizable option left in a remake of Doom 64. But seriously, why are they so tone-deaf as to not take the compliment that people love their stuff so much they'd devote that much of their own time? God I would love to see them stop shooting themselves in the head...

Trending Gamer

  • AngryJoeShow
  • Boogie2988
  • Danny O'Dwyer
  • JackSepticEye
  • Lirik

I have no idea who the latter two are and part of me despises the first two as people who play up the Rage Gamer stereotype which hurts the rest of us so my vote easily goes toward Danny His no clip documentaries have great potential to tell stories in the industry and help push the medium forward. And being the heir apparent to Greg Miller doesn't hurt his chances of actually winning the thing.

Best Multiplayer Game

  • Battlefield 1
  • Gears of War 4
  • Overcooked
  • Overwatch
  • Rainbow Six Siege

I think Overwatch will easily take this one as love for Blizzard is always strong and this is the game that actually has survived the test of time. My personal vote goes to Overcooked though because it's a couch co-op game that came out of nowhere and is simply charming without requiring you to shoot a lot of things.

Best Sports/Racing Game

  • FIFA 17
  • Forza Horizon 3
  • MLB The Show 16
  • NBA 2K17
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2017

I abstain from voting in the category, as sports/racing aren't my genres of choice. But I think Forza as the sole racing game (and by most accounts a great one), the other games will split the Sports vote and Forza will come out on top.

Best Strategy Game

  • Civilization VI
  • Fire Emblem Fates
  • The Banner Saga 2
  • Total Warhammer
  • XCOM 2

While I only played Fates (Birthright...not a fan), I think Civ 6 takes this. It's been an industry powerhouse for decades and based on what I've read, this is one of the strongest pre-Expansion Pack entries in years.

Best Family Game

  • Dragon Quest Builders
  • LEGO Star Wars The Force Awakens
  • Pokemon GO
  • Ratchet & Clank
  • Skylanders: Imaginators

My vote goes to the exquisite Ratchet & Clank reboot which was just a great game of any type, let alone a family game. But I think this is where Pokemon GO gets recognized for the phenomena it was, getting people out of the house, excercising, and socializing around imaginary digital creatures.

Best Fighting Game

  • Killer Instinct Season 3
  • King of Fighters XIV
  • Pokken Tournament
  • Street Fighter V

Another abstention in the fighting genre from me but I think Pokken Tournament takes it, but mostly the same reasons outlined with Forza above and Splatoon winning Shooter last year: the other three will split the "standard fighter" vote and Pokken will sneak in with the C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!!!! (Is that still a thing? Was it ever or is this all in my head?)

Best Role Playing Game

  • Dark Souls 3
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine
  • World of Warcraft: Legion
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X

My vote, shockingly, goes to the only one I played this year in Deus Ex. As someone who had never played the series, I really enjoyed it and immediately jumped in for a second playthrough to see how alternate play-styles affected the game. But ultimately I think this is where Dark Souls 3 gets its due. As I recently confirmed, I'm not a fan of these games but I think the fervor of that community will reward it here as it was overlooked pretty much everywhere else.

Best Action/Adventure Game

  • Dishonored 2
  • Hitman
  • Hyper Light Drifter
  • Ratchet & Clank
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

As much fun as I'm having with Dishonored 2 right now, I think my vote stands by Uncharted and I think the voters will as well. Largely, as I will get to later, because I don't think it takes Game of the Year...

Best Action Game

  • Battlefield 1
  • Doom
  • Gears of War 4
  • Overwatch
  • Titanfall 2

While Overwatch could certainly sweep this category, I think this is Doom's moment to shine for the night. Its multiplayer was pretty lacking compared to the rest, but there was no ignoring how much critical love and praise its single-player campaign was. Titanfall 2 was a close second for my vote but (and holy crap I just realized I played all five of these games...crazy!!!) ultimately Titanfall had some lulls while Doom was high-octane the whole time through.

Best VR Game

  • Batman: Arkham VR
  • EVE Valkyrie
  • Job Simulator
  • Rez Infinite
  • Thumper

I haven't gotten around to Rez or Thumper yet, but Job Simulator offers something none of these other titles can, humor and accessibility. Anyone can hop into Job Simulator and have a fun time in VR with it. Batman is probably the next most accessible and being Batman is certainly fun but it's so heavy that I think the light-hearted nature of Job Simulator wins out over Batman or the intensity of the rest.

Best Mobile/Handheld Game

  • Clash Royale
  • Fire Emblem Fates
  • Monster Hunter Generations
  • Pokemon GO
  • Severed

I forgot this category was coming when I praised Pokemon GO earlier; it'll take this one too. In fact I imagine Family Game will get the whole "And the nominees are..." pomp and circumstance, and then when Pokemon GO wins that, there will also be a note saying, "Pokemon GO is also the evening's winner for Best Mobile/Handheld Game" so they save some time. They did it a couple times last year, they'll do it again this year. Doesn't stop my vote from going toward the excellent Severed though.

Best Independent Game

  • Firewatch
  • Hyper Light Drifter
  • Inside
  • Stardew Valley
  • The Witness

This is one of the toughest categories for me honestly because I think each of these titles had their champions throughout the year. Ultimately I go with my personal choice in The Witness. I think it's a shame that Titanfall 2 got nominated for Game of the Year over it since it's on my short list for Game of the Year myself so I'm hoping it gets its much-deserved recognition here.

Games for Impact Award

  • 1979 Revolution
  • Block'hood
  • Orwell
  • Sea Hero Quest
  • That Dragon, Cancer

That Dragon, Cancer was the only one of these titles I'd heard of so I think it's ability to make a mainstream splash earns it the award.

Best Performance

  • Alex Hernandez as Lincoln Clay, Mafia III
  • Cissy Jones as Delilah, Firewatch
  • Emily Rose as Elena, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
  • Nolan North as Nathan Drake, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
  • Rich Sommer as Henry, Firewatch
  • Troy Baker as Sam Drake, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

I think Nolan North takes this one in his farewell to the role that made him a bit of a household name in gaming. I imagine we'll also get a bit of a speech about #PerformanceMatters on the SAF-AFTRA strike.

Best Music/Sound Design

  • Battlefield 1
  • Doom
  • Inside
  • Rez Infinite
  • Thumper

I'm again at a disadvantage having not played Rez or Thumper, both of which I've heard have incredible sound design but I think this is another one for Doom. And I think it'll be another case of Action Game getting the full nominee slate with a "Doom also won Best Music/Sound Design" mention.

Best Art Direction

  • ABZU
  • Firewatch
  • Inside
  • Overwatch
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Of the nominees, I lean toward the beautiful undersea vibrant world that ABZU created. But with Overwatch appearing in this category, I think this is where the night of Overwatch starts dominating. Probably also not a full nominee segment in the show so much as an "Overwatch also won Best Art Direction" win it wins Multiplayer or something. My personal choice would have been for The Witness. And it's ironic I lean toward ABZU, because it looking at my notes from earlier in the year, I have "Art Design" on Firewatch and Uncharted.

Best Narrative

  • Firewatch
  • Inside
  • Mafia III
  • Oxenfree
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

As mentioned earlier, I think this ends up another consolation prize for Uncharted. I adored Oxenfree and while I thought Inside was too obtuse and "avant-garde" to merit even a nomination here, I get it. But yeah, I think Uncharted wins this...

Best Studio/Game Direction

  • Blizzard (for Overwatch)
  • Dice (for Battlefield 1)
  • id Software (for Doom)
  • Naughty Dog (for Uncharted 4: A Thief's End)
  • Respawn (for Titanfall 2)

...Because here's where we see the Blizzard deathblow. Naughty Dog captured a moment early in the year. But Overwatch came on the scene and stayed on the scene. Plus, if we're talking studio as a whole, Blizzard also has Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, Diablo, and Starcraft and World of Warcraft that they continue to rake in money hand over fist on.

Game of the Year

  • Doom
  • Inside
  • Overwatch
  • Titanfall 2
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Slightly interesting that the only difference between Studio and GOTY here is Dice/Battlefield 1 in the Studio category while PlayDead/Inside seemingly eeked it out here. But as I've touched on, as much as Uncharted 4 is much more my kind of game than Overwatch, I don't think there's any toppling Blizzard. I'd love to be proved wrong though. And yeah, screw Titanfall 2 getting a nomination over The Witness. Titanfall 2 is fine and all, but The Witness was something special. That's a damn travesty.

So there we have it: twenty-one categories. I'll be live-tweeting the results as best I can from inside the show and hopefully remembered who I picked and keeping a tally of how I do. Enjoy the show Thursday everyone!