With the upcoming 2017 Game Awards categories being listed, there was no chance that this list could be passed up. Many players have been anticipating some of the hottest games that were announced as far back as E3 2016. Now is the time that everyone gets to crowd together, cross their fingers and cheer on their favorite developers, players and teams for the big win.

There is a whopping total of 102 games being announced this year from most of the popular platforms (Sony, Nintendo and Activision). With a total of 28 categories to go through, the competition is steep this year. Listed below is each category, the categories’ description and their respective games with my own choices of who I think should be the winner in 2017.

Game of the Year

Recognizing a game that delivers the absolute best experience across all creative and technical fields.

  • Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Persona 5 (Atlus)
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG Corp.)
  • Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)

There is a huge tie between Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for me. Both are incredibly great games, have their own unique styles and have made a splash in the world of creativeness. Zelda provides a new feel to a classic game and a stunning backdrop to put everything on, while Mario recharges fan enthusiasm while adding a few new tricks to keep the game fresh and fun. Both are from Nintendo, a household name that just doesn’t go out of style either. Picking between the two is difficult and Zelda has been out longer than Mario. A choice is a choice however, and between the two, I’m hopeful that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild takes home this award. There is no denying that this game gave the players what they wanted after a massive wait time, plus all of the other perks with story, art and music.


Best Game Direction

Awarded to a game studio for outstanding creative vision and innovation in game direction and design.

  • Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games)
  • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (Capcom)
  • Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo EPD)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo EPD)
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (MachineGames / Bethesda)

When the word “outstanding” comes in to play, every one of these choices is exactly that. Both Zelda and Mario reinvigorated the franchise. Horizon Zero Dawn showed us a world we had never seen before and Wolfenstein took the action out of Europe and into America. The winner here is Resident Evil 7: Biohazard for one very simple reason, it needed to be a success or the else the franchise would be dead. Taking away action and relying more on terror and suspense. Resident Evil became the game that players wanted.

Best Narrative

For outstanding storytelling and narrative development in a game.

  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (Tameem Antoniades, Elizabeth Ashman-Rowe / Ninja Theory)
  • Horizon Zero Dawn (John Gonzalez / Ninja Theory)
  • Nier: Automata (Yoko Taro, Hana Kikuchi, Yoshiho Akabane / Platinum Games)
  • What Remains of Edith Finch (Ian Dallas / Giant Sparrow)
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (Jen Matthies, Tommy Tordsson Bjork / MachineGames)

Much like life, not every question is answered. So in the aspect of storytelling, What Remains of Edith Finch takes this category. Each character feels real and developed and each story pulls you in. The biggest testament to the power of its story, is if asked what this story is about, the answer is; you have to play it for yourself. There is no clear answer and the game alone has to tell the players the story.

Best Art Direction

For outstanding creative and/or technical achievement in artistic design and animation.

  • Cuphead (Studio MDHR Entertainment)
  • Destiny 2 (Bungie / Activision)
  • Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Persona 5 (Atlus)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)

The art category seems to have one of the easiest choices so far in the long list of nominees. A no brainer at least, for my choice, is Cuphead hands down. Artistically, Cuphead is way beyond the others because of the dedication to hand drawing the whole game. This also includes their use of music, which was all recorded specifically for the release. All aspects of this game were hand created and produced without a lot of flash. Games like Destiny 2, Zelda and Horizon Zero Dawn have a lot of backing to help them create a visually stunning background, but there is just something about creating everything from scratch that makes Cuphead ahead of the rest. Sometimes game just don’t need super hyper-realistic effects to steal the show.

Best Score / Music

For outstanding music, inclusive of score, original song and/or licensed soundtrack.

  • Cuphead (Kristofer Maddigan)
  • Destiny 2 (Mike Salvatori, Skye Lewin, C Paul Johnson)
  • NieR: Automata (Keiichi Okabe, Keigo Hoashi)
  • Persona 5 (Shoji Meguro)
  • Super Mario Odyssey (Naoto Kubo, Shiho Fujii, Koji Kondo)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Manaka Kataoka, Yasuaki Iwata)

At the risk of losing a lot of fans, we have another category that screams to me an obvious winner, to be fair however, the choices are difficult and for that everyone deserves some credit. Everyone currently has the catchy theme song from Mario stuck in their head, and the choice gets harder when Yasuaki Iwata works on anything (Zelda). With this however, the clear choice to me would still have to be Cuphead again. Jazz music is not something I’m a huge fan of, but can people really overlook a barbershop quartet singing original songs with catchy lyrics?

Best Audio Design

Recognizing the best in-game audio and sound design.

  • Destiny 2 (Bungie)
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (Ninja Theory)
  • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (Capcom)
  • Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)


Resident Evil 7: Biohazard had a slight advantage when it released this year. The thrill of sounds and the tension that sound alone builds is enough to make people want to jump. Think of everything this way though, would Hellblade even have come close to the game that it is without the binaural audio that played an integral part?  My choice is clear here in this category. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice could not have survived and gotten players through the story without this crucial piece of the puzzle. The audio alone is enough to drive players crazy, but the audio also gives players a perspective they’ve never known of what life is like in the mind of someone suffering.

Best Performance

Awarded to an individual for voice-over acting, motion and/or performance capture.

  • Ashly Burch, Horizon: Zero Dawn (As Aloy)
  • Brian Bloom, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (as BJ Blazkowicz)
  • Claudia Black, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (as Chloe Frazer)
  • Laura Bailey, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (as Nadine Ross)
  • Melina Juergens, Hellblade (as Senua)

For Uncharted: The lost Legacy, the characters felt real and normal to everyday life. These two characters also seemed to hate each other so let’s hope that’s not a real life thing. Both ladies did a great job voice acting for Uncharted but there is more information that pulls my hopeful winner to the surface. After watching the in-game documentary on Hellblade and devouring every single drop of knowledge from it, my clear choice would have to be Melina Juergens for the voice of Senua. The research put in to the game, coupled with the realistic traumas brought the surface while the developers were using her to test their character while in production said everything for me. She just fell right in to being the right person for the spot. Everything about Melina’s work pulls at players’ heartstrings and drags the player right in to her pain and agony which makes the story for the whole game.

Games for Impact

For a thought provoking game with a profound pro-social meaning or message.

  • Bury Me, My Love (The Pixel Hunt / Figs / ARTE / Playdius)
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (Ninja Theory)
  • Life is Strange: Before the Storm (Deck Nine / Square Enix)
  • Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall)
  • Please Knock on My Door (Levall Games AB)
  • What Remains of Edith Finch (Giant Sparrow / Annapurna Interactive)

Two games jumped out to be the top for this one, Please Knock on My Door and Bury Me, My Love. Both have drastic differences but both make profound impacts on the players. Knock on My door deals with social anxiety and depression, while Bury Me, My Love, tracks a refugee from the Syrian Civil War. Between the two, Bury Me, My Love has my vote. The text based system makes every choice feel real and yet, I feel a hundred miles away from the main character.

Best Ongoing Game

Awarded to a game for outstanding development of ongoing content that evolves the player experience over time.

  • Destiny 2 (Bungie / Activision)
  • Grand Theft Auto Online (Rockstar Games)
  • Overwatch (Blizzard)
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG. Corp)
  • Rainbow Six: Siege (Ubisoft Montreal / Ubisoft)
  • Warframe (Digital Extremes)

Grand Theft Auto is the game that just won’t seem to go away. This is exactly why the vote goes in for this game. So much has been added and updated that players don’t run out of things to do. While it has been many years since a new Grand Theft Auto game, the online experience continues to bring in new people and keep the old fans satisfied.

Best Independent Game

For outstanding creative and technical achievement in a game made outside the traditional publisher system.

  • Cuphead (Studio MDHR Entertainment)
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (Ninja Theory)
  • Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall)
  • Pyre (Supergiant Games)
  • What Remains of Edith Finch (Giant Sparrow / Annapurna Interactive)

Independent games, the most up and coming and most underrated, but an important part of the gaming industry. In choosing the winner, I thought about which of these games would not have been developed by a major studio. Of all five choices, Night in the Woods must have been created by an independent studio. Hard to describe, and even harder to pitch, it is the best example of a great independent title.

Best Mobile Game

For the best game playable on a dedicated mobile device.

  • Fire Emblem Heroes (Intelligent Systems / Nintendo)
  • Hidden Folks (Adriaan de Jongh / Sylvain Tegroeg)
  • Monument Valley 2 (ustwo games)
  • Old Man’s Journey (Broken Rules)
  • Super Mario Run (Nintendo)

Coming out of a huge backlash due to having to pay to play the rest of the game, Super Mario Run has proven to be a game that people are happy once they have payed the full price. Endless hours of fun and a new experience for the plumber has made it and exciting and time consuming game. It is to Nintendo’s credit that the game was so good that it could weather the negative press that came about on its release.

Best Handheld Game

For the best game playable on a dedicated portable gaming system.

  • Ever Oasis (Grezzo / Nintendo)
  • Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (Intelligent Systems / Nintendo)
  • Metroid: Samus Returns (MercurySteam / Nintendo)
  • Monster Hunter Stories (Marvelous / Capcom / Nintendo)
  • Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World (Good-Feel / Nintendo)

Yoshi is a stand alone character that steals the show, so a game with Poochy and Yoshi is going to be my pick for this category. The art style in which everything looks like it was knitted really makes the game pop off the screen. Metroid almost took the spot but the game, while worth the wait, can’t compete with the cute green dinosaur.

Best VR/AR Game

For the best game experience playable in virtual or augmented reality, irrespective of platform.

  • Farpoint (Impulse Gear / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Lone Echo (Ready at Dawn / Oculus Studios)
  • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (Capcom)
  • Star Trek: Bridge Crew (Red Storm Entertainment / Ubisoft)
  • Superhot VR (Superhot Team)

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard became a much greater experience after becoming available in VR. The first person perspective heightens the game play. Many VR games do not feel like fully fleshed out games but Resident Evil is a full game play experience.

Best Action Game

For the best game in the action genre focused on combat.

  • Cuphead (Studio MDHR Entertainment)
  • Destiny 2 (Bungie / Activision)
  • Nioh (Team Ninja / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Prey (Arkane Studios / Bethesda)
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (MachineGames / Bethesda)

When a game has so much going on that players have to stop and take a break just for their fingers to come back to reality, then it probably has a lot of action. Although others are action games in title, Cuphead takes this category. The game was built around boss battles and constant action that never stops.

Best Action/Adventure Game

For the best action/adventure game, combining combat with traversal and puzzle solving.

  • Assassin’s Creed: Origins (Ubisoft Montreal / Ubisoft)
  • Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)
  • Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (Naughty Dog / Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Within Uncharted, the puzzles seem fitting and sometimes rage inducing. They can be solved but they aren’t too easy either. This is why Uncharted is my pick. While Mario and Zelda have puzzles, they aren’t integrated as well in to the game and their respective story lines.

Best Role-Playing Game

For the best game designed with rich player character customization and progression, including massively multiplayer experiences.

  • Divinity: Original Sin II (Larian Studios)
  • Final Fantasy XV (Square Enix Business Division 2 / Square Enix)
  • NieR: Automata (Platinum Games / Square Enix)
  • Persona 5 (Atlus)
  • South Park: The Fractured But Whole (Ubisoft San Francisco / Ubisoft)

Due to my own gaming choices, South Park: The Fractured But Whole is who I have my vote on. This is an RPG that I can easily get in to and want to keep playing. The humor and story lines are funny and easy to take in. Is this a traditional RPG, no, but it is a must play RPG.

Best Fighting Game

For the best game designed primarily around head-to-head combat.

  • Arms (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)
  • Injustice 2 (NetherRealm Studios / Warner Bros. Interactive Ent)
  • Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite (Capcom)
  • Nidhogg 2 (Messhof Games)
  • Tekken 7 (Bandai Namco Studios / Bandai Namco Entertainment)

Injustice 2 might be the best fighting game not only for this year, but also for a few years. The game play appeals to novice and expert players. The near constant addition of new fighters makes the game seem fresh as you to try to figure out what the best character combinations are.

Best Family Game

For the best game appropriate for family play, irrespective of genre or platform

  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo EAD / Nintendo)
  • Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (Ubisoft Paris + Milan / Ubisoft)
  • Sonic Mania (PagodaWest Games, Headcannon / Sega)
  • Splatoon 2 (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)
  • Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo EAD / Nintendo)

Families want a good experience when challenging each other and this is why Mario Kart 8 Deluxe steals this category. Everyone can play, there are no huge time constraints or complicate story modes. While all the games are good for families, Mario Kart seems like the one that all families would join in to play.

Best Strategy Game

Best game focused on real time or turn-based strategy gameplay, irrespective of platform.

  • Halo Wars 2 (Creative Assembly, 343 Industries / Microsoft Studios)
  • Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (Ubisoft Paris + Milan / Ubisoft)
  • Total War: Warhammer II (Creative Assembly / Sega)
  • Tooth and Tail (Pocketwatch Games)
  • XCOM 2: War of the Chosen (Firaxis Games / 2K)

Turn based games require a lot of time in order to become good at the game. For this reason, I have not put as much time as I would like in to the games in this category. From the little I have, I would have to go with Tooth and Tail. There is just something about these rat based warriors that kept me interested in the game play.

Best Sports/Racing Game

For the best traditional and non-traditional sports and racing game.

  • FIFA 18 (EA Vancouver / EA)
  • Forza Motorsport 7 (Turn 10 Studios / Microsoft Studios)
  • Gran Turismo Sport (Polyphony Digital / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • NBA 2K18 (Visual Concepts / 2K Sports)
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 (PES Productions / Konami)
  • Project Cars 2 (Slightly Mad Studios / Bandai Namco Entertainment)

With all of the technology and CGI that that goes in to making games, some developers hold themselves to a higher level. FIFA 18 has proved with their use of CGI and following character movements, that they can rise above the rest. The graphics are so detailed that the fans are visible in the stands adding a sense of realism to the game.

Best Multiplayer

For outstanding online multiplayer gameplay and design, including co-op and massively multiplayer experiences, irrespective of game genre.

  • Call of Duty: WWII (Sledgehammer Games / Activision)
  • Destiny 2 (Bungie / Activision)
  • Fortnite (Epic Games)
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo EAD / Nintendo)
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG Corp.)
  • Splatoon 2 (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)

Everything in this category is a great option, so choosing one is difficult. I’ll have to give it to PlayUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Fast paced, and the ability to play with or against your friends, this game has rocketed to the top of the charts for its interesting choices and the feeling that time is running out.

Most Anticipated Game

Awarded to an upcoming game that has shown significant ambition and promise. Title must be announced and scheduled for release after December 7, 2017.

  • God of War (Santa Monica Studio / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Monster Hunter World (Capcom)
  • Red Dead Redemption II (Rockstar Games)
  • The Last of Us Part II (Naughty Dog / Sony Interactive Entertainment)

There is excitement for all of these games but one in particular has me and the rest of the sane world going crazy over its release. This game is The Last of Us Part II. If Ellie’s singing in the beginning of the trailer didn’t transport you back to that world, then the sight of her and Joel did. No release date yet, and I am going crazy trying to figure out when it will finally be available.

Trending Gamer

For a streamer, influencer or media member who has made an important impact on the industry this calendar year

  • Andrea Rene (What’s Good Games)
  • Clint Lexa (“Halfcoordinated”)
  • Guy Beahm (“Dr. Disrespect”)
  • Mike Grzesiek (“Shroud”)
  • Steven Spohn (AbleGamers)

One of the most influential people on this list is the COO of AbleGamers, Steven Spohn. Believing in the mission that video games should be available to everyone, Steven has helped raise awareness and funds so that disabled people are able to play their favorite video games.

Best eSports Game

For the game that has delivered the best overall eSports experience to players (inclusive of tournaments, community support and content updates), irrespective of genre or platform.

  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (Valve)
  • Dota 2 (Valve)
  • League of Legends (Riot)
  • Overwatch (Blizzard)
  • Rocket League (Psyonix)

Although my bias leans toward Overwatch at any given time, Rocket League is where I’ll be casting my vote. Not only is the game action packed and visually exciting, but also the game makes players feel like they are participating in, or spectating at an actual sporting event. You could watch 100 different matches and get 100 different outcomes.

Student Game Award

Awarded the best student project created at the high school or college level.

  • Falling Sky (Jonathan Nielssen, Nikolay Savoy, Mohsen Shah / National Film & TV School)
  • From Light (Alejandro Grossman, Steven Li, Sherveen Uduwana / USC)
  • Hollowed (Erin Marek, Jerrick Flores, Charley Choucard / University of Central Florida)
  • Impulsion (Hugo Verger, Remi Bertrand, Maxime Lupinski / IIM)
  • Level Squared (Kip Brennan, Stephen Scoglio, Dane Perry Svendsen / Swinburne University)
  • Meaning (Hariz Yet / DigiPen Institute of Technology Singapore)

It is always impressive when students are able to create a video game in either their spare time or for a class. While all of these games should be commended, Falling Sky was the most striking. The idea and appearance of the game made it look like it was created by professionals and not students.

Best Debut Indie Game

Recognizing a new independent studio that released its first game in 2017. Winner selected by fan voting

  • Cuphead (Studio MDHR Entertainment)
  • Golf Story (Sidebar Games)
  • Hollow Knight (Team Cherry)
  • Mr. Shifty (Team Shifty)
  • Slime Rancher (Monomi Park)

Hollow Knight is a unique game with its use of puzzles and story line. The art style is very well done and the difficulty is hard but not impossible. There just seems to be more that Team Cherry can produce in another game. Cuphead, while remarkable, seems so unique that it will be very difficult to follow it with another game.

Chinese Fan Game Award

A fan-voted award to recognize the most popular game in China, as judged by The Game Awards viewers in China

  • Honor of Kings《王者荣耀》 (Timi Studio Group)
  • ICEY《艾希》(FantaBlade Network)
  • Gumballs & Dungeons《不思议迷宫》(QcPlay Limited)
  • jx3 HD《剑网3》重制版 (Kingsoft Corporation)
  • Monument Valley 2《纪念碑谷2》(ustwo games)

This category is only open to voters in China… I am not in China… so… uhm… jx3 HD looks pretty cool… although Gumballs & Dungeons looks interesting… so… yea…


I didn’t vote for best eSport player or eSport Team because I am not familiar enough with them. You can vote yourself at http://thegameawards.com/awards/#best-game-direction . Check out the winners on December 7th, May the best game win!