PC Gamer's Game of the Year (the biggie)

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Is Valheim. You clowns harassed me to point that I took it off of my personal list because it was in early access. :ROFLMAO:

Was, is, will be a great game. Never felt the least bit like an early access title. It launched polished and with tons of content. If you had told me the game was done, I'd have been happy with it.

Valheim has already been influencing other survival games. Icarus, for instance, shamelessly borrows from it (but not necessarily in the best ways).

It's one of the all-time best survival games. If you've never tried the genre, you might give Valheim a shot.
 
Nov 26, 2021
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Is Valheim. You clowns harassed me to point that I took it off of my personal list because it was in early access.
People really did that? It saw universal acclaim from day one if I recall correctly. Granted when I first saw it I thought it belonged on the pile of "another open world survival game," and the praise for it seemed to correspond with that. But if it's good at being another open world survival game, I hope whoever has it has fun with it.

Life's too short to worry about early access being a rip-off, I say. Play what you want for as long as you can get joy out of it, and pack it in when you're done. To think I used to have difficulty with that a few years back.
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
You clowns harassed me to point that I took it off of my personal list because it was in early access. :ROFLMAO:
The classic game-of-the-year award is an award for the game that came out that year (plus maybe the last weeks of the previous year). Valheim hasn't come out yet. It's not supposed to be on the list of eligible games.

By putting Valheim up, they expanded that list to include EA games. But how is that going to work?? If Valheim wasn't all that good when it first showed up in EA but then released the next year in great shape, would it be eligible? Wouldn't that mean games that release in EA get two shots at the GotY prize, while other games get just one?

Also, Early Access is a Steam concept. Essentially, it's "paid open beta testing," but games in that state weren't included before. So does this "EA exception" only apply to games released under Steam's program, or can any open beta get in?

(There's also an issue on the other side of a game's life: re-releasing a "director's cut" edition of a game, or an HD version several years later.)

I didn't harass you about it, I simply showed you this inconsistency. You, being a clever person, saw the error in your ways and corrected the issue. I think PC Gamer is just throwing it all out the window and voting for whatever they want, though. Very 'chaotic good' of them. But that's another topic.... ;)

Life's too short to worry about early access being a rip-off, I say.
Life's not THAT short! Backlogs, on the other hand, are often very long. Why put such a big recommendation up for a game that isn't ready for general release yet?
 
I think PC Gamer is just throwing it all out the window
Which fits in with my view of GOTY. Which in short is:
Why not have the award for Game Of The Year?

Current fad is to have it as rookie OTY. Those of you who follow sports will be familiar with that award, but there would be uproar if the best rookie was also regarded as the overall best sports person of the year.

But somehow games commentators seem to think rookie OTY is the ultimate accolade 🥴

Every game, from Pong to that release a day before the cut-off, should be in contention—or else change the name of the award to ROTY or similar.

The marketer in me understands it's all a wind up to generate new buzz, views, sales etc to distribute revenue more widely, but surely organs like PCG should be more aligned to serving players' needs rather than fans or consumers?
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
Every game, from Pong to that release a day before the cut-off, should be in contention—or else change the name of the award to ROTY or similar.
That's what the Top 100 is about. What's the most fun PC games to play right now?

I like "what were the best games you played this year" - but that's for people I know at least a little bit. When it's coming from total strangers, I don't think it would be as interesting.

P.S.
... but there would be uproar if the best rookie was also regarded as the overall best sports person of the year.
Baseball has had two in my lifetime. And I'm totally middle aged! MIDDLE!
 
By putting Valheim up, they expanded that list to include EA games. But how is that going to work?? If Valheim wasn't all that good when it first showed up in EA but then released the next year in great shape, would it be eligible? Wouldn't that mean games that release in EA get two shots at the GotY prize, while other games get just one?
I totally agree, EA shouldn't get any awards... ever again

Runs away as he isn't talking about Early Access, but Electronic Arts instead :)

its not like there were that many to choose from, many of the big games were fighting for the other award, worst game of 2021 :)
 

PCG Jody

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Dec 9, 2019
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By putting Valheim up, they expanded that list to include EA games.
The GOTY Awards have included Early Access games for a while. For instance, Phasmophobia won Best Co-Op 2020. It's still in Early Access even now.

But how is that going to work?? If Valheim wasn't all that good when it first showed up in EA but then released the next year in great shape, would it be eligible?
Yes. The idea is that a game deserves to be recognized for the year in which it's significant. With multiplayer Early Access games in particular, like Valheim and Phasmophobia, that's the year when everyone is playing and enjoying them, even neither game had an arbitrary "1.0" slapped on them yet.

Wouldn't that mean games that release in EA get two shots at the GotY prize, while other games get just one?
Games that didn't have an Early Access release can still be eligible in more than one year. Expansions, remasters, remakes, and our Ongoing Game category are other ways for them to potentially show up more than once. For instance, Apex Legends just won Best Ongoing 2021 after having won Best FPS 2019.

Also, Early Access is a Steam concept. Essentially, it's "paid open beta testing," but games in that state weren't included before. So does this "EA exception" only apply to games released under Steam's program, or can any open beta get in?
Games not on Steam that aren't in full release are also eligible, yes. Fortnite won Best Ongoing 2018, and I believe it didn't leave beta until 2020? Point is, they're eligible.

Very 'chaotic good' of them.
Hey, I resemble that remark.

Why put such a big recommendation up for a game that isn't ready for general release yet?
People thought it was worth playing, and championing, in 2021. It's available to buy and play and 2021 was the year people did that. Waiting until next year or whenever, when those players may have moved on, would be doing both Valheim and those players a disservice. They deserve to be part of this conversation.
 
Which fits in with my view of GOTY. Which in short is:
Why not have the award for Game Of The Year?

Current fad is to have it as rookie OTY. Those of you who follow sports will be familiar with that award, but there would be uproar if the best rookie was also regarded as the overall best sports person of the year.

But somehow games commentators seem to think rookie OTY is the ultimate accolade 🥴

Every game, from Pong to that release a day before the cut-off, should be in contention—or else change the name of the award to ROTY or similar.

The marketer in me understands it's all a wind up to generate new buzz, views, sales etc to distribute revenue more widely, but surely organs like PCG should be more aligned to serving players' needs rather than fans or consumers?
A bias against rookies would eliminate most single player games from GOTY contention because most people play them the year they release whereas your best sports players are usually guys with experience.
 
Nov 27, 2020
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While @PCG Jody made some good points, I've got to agree with @Zloth about including Early Access games in the Game of the Year Awards. They shouldn't be. GOTY, in any category, should be based solely on the final release version of any given year, regardless of popularity or how many millions of players a game has. BG3 was released in EA form this year, is it going to be judged in it's EA presentation, or will it be judged on it's final release form? You can't maintain a double standard, which I feel nominating EA games along side final versions does.

Should EA games be recognized and awarded in any given year? Absolutely, but, I feel they should have their own category or set of categories in which they should be nominated or awarded. It's just my opinion, but I feel there should be a more defined process.
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
Runs away as he isn't talking about Early Access, but Electronic Arts instead :)
I should have known that was coming! ;)
Yes. The idea is that a game deserves to be recognized for the year in which it's significant. With multiplayer Early Access games in particular, like Valheim and Phasmophobia, that's the year when everyone is playing and enjoying them, even neither game had an arbitrary "1.0" slapped on them yet.
Ah, there's the rub! I don't see that 1.0 as arbitrary at all. When a company properly releases a game, that's when they are saying "it's ready." They lie about that a lot, but that's on them - their reputation will be hurt accordingly. EA is more like "it's safe and its possible to have some fun with the game."

Reviews work on that principle, don't they? If a game is released as a 1.0 but in terrible shape, then gets fixed up over the course of several months, PCG doesn't go back and re-review the game. The justification for this (besides the fact that re-reviewing so often gets exceedingly impractical) was that the publishers were charging for the game. If they are willing to charge, they have to be willing to take a review. There are reviews for EA games, but they are clearly marked. Extended Life talks about games afterward, but those aren't proper reviews and don't give a score.

Games that didn't have an Early Access release can still be eligible in more than one year. Expansions, remasters, remakes, and our Ongoing Game category are other ways for them to potentially show up more than once. For instance, Apex Legends just won Best Ongoing 2021 after having won Best FPS 2019.
Well, I would think Best Ongoing could have the same game every year for years to come, but I'm not surprised that games could get two+ shots via remakes and whatnot. Developers have managed to fill the entire spectrum between "small patch" and "completely new game." I suppose you could draw a line in there somewhere, but you would need a panel of judges to rule on the borderline cases. The 1.0 question does have a nice, solid line - even if some companies don't respect it much.
Games not on Steam that aren't in full release are also eligible, yes. Fortnite won Best Ongoing 2018, and I believe it didn't leave beta until 2020? Point is, they're eligible.
Oh yeah! Doesn't get much more non-Steam than Fortnite.
People thought it was worth playing, and championing, in 2021. It's available to buy and play and 2021 was the year people did that. Waiting until next year or whenever, when those players may have moved on, would be doing both Valheim and those players a disservice. They deserve to be part of this conversation.
Ah, there's another big difference.

Say somebody makes a big batch of cookies. The cook is fine with people coming into the kitchen and eating the cookie dough. Two thirds of the people do exactly that. When the cookies are done, the other third eats their cookies. Zloth... {ahem} I mean one person has both. So who should review the cookies? We would both let the third that experienced the proper, finished cookie get a vote. You would say the two thirds deserve a vote, too, as that's how most people experienced the cookie. I would say they don't, as they didn't experience the cookie, they just experienced the dough. (The one person gets to experience the exercise bike.) Sound about right?
 

PCG Jody

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GOTY Awards aren't reviews. They're a way of looking back at a year and talking about the games that defined it.

I used to work for a music magazine. Our album of the year awards included EPs, even though an EP could well be expanded a year later and released as an album. If it was relevant to the conversation about that year, it was eligible.
 
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Frindis

Moderator
The GOTY Awards have included Early Access games for a while. For instance, Phasmophobia won Best Co-Op 2020. It's still in Early Access even now.

"Games that didn't have an Early Access release can still be eligible in more than one year. Expansions, remasters, remakes, and our Ongoing Game category are other ways [...]
Todd Howard while looking at his Skyrim themed office desk: "yeeeeeees!"
 

PCG Jody

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I should add that it's no coincidence the three games I've mentioned winning GOTY Awards before full release—Valheim, Phasmophobia, and Fortnite—are first and foremost multiplayer games. They're most relevant when they're being played the most, when it's easy to find a game and when your friends are likely to be playing them.

Unfinished singleplayer narrative games are different, because of course they are.
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
Unfinished singleplayer narrative games are different, because of course they are.
If you even talked about Baldur's Gate 3 for GotY seriously, I would worry about you folks. More than normal, that is. ;)

But yeah, it seems like a different world in MMO-land, with their continuous payment setup. Calling it "done" is more of a marketing opportunity than a real development landmark for some of them. (Still beats the companies that call their game 'done' so they can get an infusion of cash to fund the last stages of development.)

I'm still not convinced, however. If I start my own PC gaming magazine, I'm going to give the EA games their own category and ignore them anywhere else!
 
Reviews work on that principle, don't they? If a game is released as a 1.0 but in terrible shape, then gets fixed up over the course of several months, PCG doesn't go back and re-review the game.
Depends on how much it has changed and how big of a game it is, apparently:
 

McStabStab

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Loved all the picks and the reasoning behind them, but there's one game that didn't seem to make anyone's picks: It Takes Two. I thought at least a staff writer would have put it down as a personal pick but it didn't even show up there.

I'm sure Back 4 Blood was good but from what I've seen it's an updated version of Left 4 Dead. In terms of co-op game's design, variety, and creativity, I think It Takes Two was the better "definer" of the genre. My wife and I have been playing it and we've been wholly impressed by the diversity of gameplay and level design.
 
May 16, 2021
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Didn't realize there'd be that much hate for an Early Access game to be included as a candidate for a year.

I mean, by competition fairness, yeah it's a good point, but at the same time-- If someone plays your game in Early Access, that's THE playthrough. A minority comes back to play the game again. So I feel like Early Access games should be included, because even though you might enjoy it one year, you may never enjoy it again because any news of it will fail to hook you again.
 
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Interesting, I would've thought the majority wait until official release. I'd like to read the source on that, if you have a link handy please :)
From what I've been able to find most (successful) early access projects have a big spike in players when they leave early access. But I suppose if a game really sucked in early access players won't return when the game releases, unless it somehow improved a ton and got enough recognition for that.
 
Interesting, I would've thought the majority wait until official release. I'd like to read the source on that, if you have a link handy please :)
From my personal experience with EA survival games, they seem to actually sell a lot more and seem to have many more players during EA than in full release. But these are sandbox games that tend to have very little narrative. A game like Baldur's Gate 3 I would expect to be completely different and expect most people to play it after it was finished.

It's different with sandbox games. The games are different and the players tend to be the type who love playing a game that is frequently updated. Ark and The Forest sold much better and had more players in EA than in full release. 7 Days to Die has basically decided to never leave EA. And Valheim and Satisfactory have already sold millions of copies each during EA, and there's never more excitement in the player base than when It's time for a new update.
 
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Didn't realize there'd be that much hate for an Early Access game to be included as a candidate for a year.
I don't "hate" Early Access (EA) games, and I respect the opinions of the PCG staff and others that feel they should be included when considering the GOTY awards. I just personally don't agree with that concept. I feel that GOTY awards should be judged on "final" release versions of a game in any given year.

I do feel, and support, the fact that some EA games should be recognized and given awards in their current state of development, but that those awards should be in a separate category for only EA games.
 
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