This is a post which usually comes around the first week of January, however I personally decided to postpone it for a little longer because there was one game which I had yet to play but knew I would be playing relatively soon. It took a bit longer than expected to finally get around to playing said game, but it was worth it because it does factor rather massively into the running of this year’s MMGaming Game Awards. As always, people are now raising eyes and faces to the sky, hearts in mouths and stomachs where the heart used to be, ready to hear what are surely the most prestigious and most awaited awards every year. Despite the late arrival of the MMGaming Game Awards, everyone from the smallest to the biggest of devs knows that it is big and important and they were all willing to wait as long as necessary with the hopes of winning one of the awards. Anyway, it is now time to get down to business and (defeat the hun) give our opinions on some of the best and brightest of the good year 2013. Let’s get to it!
MMGaming’s Game of the Year
Seb: Some years there is contention and disagreement in the ranks of the MMGamers as to what game deserves the prestigious title of GotY. This year, like two years ago when we first started our awards, there is almost certainly going to be absolutely no argument about what we each chose as the best game of 2013. It was so good that I even waited a few months into 2014 to actually post these awards because I knew that it would likely feature in this top spot. It’s a choice which makes me unoriginal, boring and utterly run-of-the-mill. But then again, it’s worth remembering that sometimes things are popular for a reason: because they are good! Yes, for me, this year’s Game of the Year goes to none other than Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse HD Remake! No, it’s OBVIOUSLY, Grand Theft Auto V by Rockstar Entertainment. It’s a game we have yet to produce a full review on but already I know that it is entirely deserving of this coveted top spot. When first starting it up, I played for a solid 10 to 12 hours without pausing for breath or being aware of the time. It’s a fantastic and massive virtual playground where it’s easy to sink hour after hour into just doing so much cool stuff! It’s a game that entirely deserves all the praise and acclaim it received and will probably hold my attention for a good while after I have finished it.
Tim: Well, Seb has this one down to a T. I was a big fan of the previous GTA games and GTA V is no exception. I will admit that I went to the midnight release (the first time I’v gone to a midnight release ever) and I have no regrets. Completing the game within 4 days wasn’t due to a lust to be the first, but because I simply couldn’t put it down. The story was engaging and the missions interesting and diverse. The classic sandbox feel of all the previous GTA V games was enhanced by the beautiful city Rockstar had created and then there was the multiplayer that provided a great platform on which you could mess about with friends and randoms. This package of features makes GTA V the unforgettable game of the year.
Runner-Up Game of the Year
This is a choice which, for me at least, causes some pain and red faces. Last year I incorrectly chose Assassin’s Creed 3 for my Runner-Up and in hindsight I feel I should have given it to Telltale Game’s The Walking Dead. So this year I was determined to make the correct choice, and after a good bit of pondering it came down to two finalists. It’s a tough choice honestly, but I think that I have to be impartial and fair and give the award to Bioshock Infinite by Irrational Games. With fast and varied combat combined with gorgeous visuals and a compelling story makes it a genuinely fabulous game which is easily worth anyone’s time and and you’d be a fool to not consider giving it a shot at some point or another. It’s so good that I even chose it over Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag which comes a close third in the running for top spot. Sorry Ubisoft, trust me when I say that this is causing me more pain than it will you.
Best Indie Game
As every year, this is one of the categories which gets the most fierce competition. Indie Gaming is THE place to be right now in the gaming industry and every year sees more and more new and exciting titles competing and being thrown at us. From the bland and boring to the outlandish and outstanding. The insane variety of these games means that even for me and Tim, who do our utmost to play as many of these little games as possible, it’s unlikely that we will get a chance to try everything and so there are quite possibly some diamonds out there which we have yet to try. With that in mind though, I’ve known for a while now what game I would be choosing as my favourite indie game of 2013, it might seem like an odd choice to some. People might be used to broad and epic games and it is for that exact reason that Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons won so many awards last year. But here at MMGaming, I think that the game most deserving of the top spot is The Stanley Parable by Davey Wreden (Galactic Cafe). It’s a crazy, mind-bending and thought-provoking game with equal measures of hilarity and confusion which can leave a player feeling anything from amusement to complete bafflement. There’s nothing else out there quite like it and it is as deserving of your time as any major triple A title.
Normally this is a category which I love to fill in and write about. I love stories and plot in my games. I’m all about it in fact. But this year I found myself struggling an awful lot to come up with something deserving of the Best Story award. And I think my outcome might be something of a surprise. I believe that the game most deserving of the award for Best Story goes to The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief. This does, however, come with an addendum, which I will explain at the end of this. My reasoning can actually be explained using simple elimination of the competition. The Stanley Parable doesn’t really HAVE a story (and to say it does kind of ruins the whole point of Stanley). Bioshock Infinite has been widely praised (and rightly so) for it’s plot but when any game starts playing with multiverses and crossed timelines then it inevitably starts becoming far too serious, confusing and full of itself for it’s own good. GTA:V doesn’t really have a plot worthy of any great merit and neither does Black Flag, it’s the curse of the open-world sandbox game. “But Seb” I hear you cry, “What about Telltale Games again? They released The Wolf Among Us AND The Walking Dead Season 2 in the last months of 2013!” And while this is true, in both cases they had only released ONE episode, which isn’t a full game by ANY stretch of imagination. This left me with two main contenders which are known for having a good story: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and The Raven. And it comes down to this: I think The Raven’s plot was a little predictable and I thought the ending was a bit of a cop out, but Brothers was infinitely more predictable and despite some very strong emotional moments, the overall story didn’t really come together as well. So, to sum up (addendum and all). The winner for the Best Story overall was The Raven BUT the story which had the greater emotional impact (despite holding fewer surprises) was Brothers. Don’t you love it when critics are completely clear and concise about their choices?
Please note: I am not discounting the vague possibility that there are some games which might possibly actually be more deserving of this award. But I have not played, nor is it likely I will at any point soon, any of The Last of Us, Tomb Raider, Beyond: Two Souls or Remember Me. All of which are heavy hitting, triple-A titles with at least some focus on the plot (although the only one I really believe to have had any shot at winning is The Last of Us). So… Yeah… ANYWAY!
Best Voice Actor/Actress
I am partially deaf. This is a thing. If I were a character in an RPG, the lore notes about me would have “He can’t fucking hear you” underlined in big black pen. This means that when it comes down to voice actor and actress performances that I am NOT the guy to come to. I won’t be judging this based on the quality of the performance and whether they managed to truly make me feel that emotion right deep down in my gonads. No. I judge this category on one simple thing: how memorable the performance was. With that in mind my choice of voice actor and actress both come rather swiftly: Matt Ryan and Courtney Draper the voices of Edward Kenway and Elizabeth (from Bioshock Infinite) respectively. While, again, there were many admirable performances this year (as always) I feel that these two were the ones that stood out the most. Matt Ryan’s Edward Kenway is dashing, cheeky and just an all-round top lad. He’s the hero we both deserve and need and Matt’s Welsh accent is pretty bloody superb at carrying it off. Courtney Draper on the other hand has the sweet and innocent girl of Elizabeth down pat, Elizabeth was one of the most awesome things about Bioshock Infinite and her voice is a fairly hefty chunk of why. I understand she also did an amazing job at playing a more hardcore Elizabeth in Burial at Sea, but once again I haven’t played that.
First off, see the previous award for my little “I am deaf” speech and understand that I apply the same logic to this award. See, at first I was pretty adamant about my conclusion for this. No-one wins. Seriously. Sure there was a lot of amazing soundtracks over the year, music which fit the atmosphere perfectly without intruding or being overbearing, music which pulsed with action, music which aided conveying every emotion the developers wanted to squeeze from us. But you know what, nothing really stands out. There wasn’t a single moment in any game that I could point at and go “that bit of music… THAT was awesome”. HOWEVER, as I wrote this, inspiration struck. That’s why the game with the best soundtrack is The Stanley Parable. Master Kevin Brighting as The Narrator is not anything so small a piece as the voice of a main and important character, oh no. He is something more. His voice IS the soundtrack for The Stanley Parable.
Do you know HOW many cool trailers there were last year? Seriously. DO YOU?! I barely know even where to begin! I love trailers, especially awesome cinematic ones which have absolutely no relevance to the final product at all. And I’m being serious there, I just figured I would also point out that I am aware that my love for these trailers is not shared by many because they are basically posturing and showing off. But you know what, when it comes to animation and games I LOVE IT when people show off. However, I am absolutely stuck because I quite simply cannot even begin to choose which of the many trailers last year truly gave me the biggest erection… I mean, there was a cool Thief trailer (which is particularly relevant because it’s release is literally just around the corner), the “gameplay” trailer for The Division looked so full of promise and ideas that I still scoff a LOT at the idea of it actually being “gameplay”. Games like Arkham Origins, The Order: 1866 and The Elder Scrolls: Online all might not end up being the greatest of games, but fuck me if their trailers weren’t just so damned tasty. Equally there were trailers for games that might not be out for ages yet including The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk. I’m even now going to go ahead and imbed a video of a further 10 trailers from the 2013 E3 which include the absolutely insane looking Metal Gear Solid V, the incredibly distant Mirror’s Edge 2 and some of my personal favourites of Dragon Age Inquisition and Assassin’s Creed IV.
So, how the hell am I supposed to choose from all of these? HOW GODAMMIT!? There are so many which are just crazy, awesome, full of promise, amazing ideas and full of graphical deliciousness that I don’t even know where to begin. There are so many of those trailers which just make me completely keen to get my hands on the game in question.
Turns out the answer comes from an unexpected quarter, once again. You see, I wanted to post all of those trailers just to let you know that I was aware of how many cool trailers there were last year. Do you know which game wins though? The Stanley Parable for it’s Raphael trailer. It’s a trailer which particularly deserves to win because it reminds you that a trailer does not have to be gritty, full of explosions and awesome slow-mo combat. No. What it does is makes me laugh, even now after having seen it a few dozen times. It should be something for all developers to look at and thing “Okay, let’s face it. We are making a GAME. It doesn’t have to be all serious-serious, drama-drama quite ALL the time… Let’s have some fun!”
Last year DayZ won our award for being a small, slightly obscure title which skyrocketed to massive fame and monetary value. And this year it finds itself winning a very similar award. It appears that other developers and companies across the world saw DayZ and thought “well hang on, I want a slice of that pie, and I shall charge massive amounts of money for the pie too!”. And so open-world, survival-crafting games have absolutely dominated the scene with the arrival of games like Rust and 7 Days to Die. Oh, and it doesn’t end there either, because Dean Hall actually released it’s stand alone version of DayZ last year too. It was a big year for the genre.
Most Unfinished Genre of the Year Award
But wait, there’s more! You see open-world, survival-crafting games not only were coming fast and furious last year. They were also coming completely and entirely unfinished. Since Minecraft did it, way-back-when, every indie game these days seems to believe that it’s necessary to produce a virtually unplayable pre-pre Alpha, with no features yet implemented… Except the zombies… And these open world survival games are particularly guilty of this particular crime with other games of a similar nature (e.g. Starbound) also arriving whilst still in the middle of the beginning of development. There are two reasons for this. The first, and most obvious one, is that it seems that every developer believes that every gamer has the memory and attention span of a goldfish on a bad day, with a hangover. So to make sure that we keep their game in the limelight and keep providing them with funds they have to continuously throw their game in small chunks at people, just to remind them of it’s existence. The other reason is perhaps a little more serious and it’s that most of these games were Kickstarter funded, and if you pay for a game before it’s even properly entered development I can understand wanting to get your hands on SOME sort of reward as soon as possible. It’s an issue with Kickstarter that I am not alone in pointing out.
The Avengers Award for a bunch of records
Did you know that Rockstar entertainment and the distributor Take-Two Interactive have shipped and sold well over 29 MILLION copies of GTA V. And that was only 6 weeks after it’s release. That means that in just under 6 weeks GTA V beat the ENTIRE lifetime sales of GTA IV. It’s also worth noting that the game had generated over US $1 BILLION by the third day of release. This makes it the fastest selling video game in history AND the game to generate the most money. In a way it’s a testament to the growth of video gaming as a whole. In another way it’s a testament to just how bloody good the game is! In a way it’s something of The Avengers for video games: everybody knew it would be big, everybody hyped it up for months and then everybody ended up going to get it… It’s
The “Holy-fuck-HOW-MUCH?” Award
Kickstarter has generated an awful lot of revenue for some developers over recent years, but there is one game which just continues to take in more and more money. In fact, that sheer amount of money and backers that this game now has is quite simply mind-boggling, perhaps even more so than the $1 billion sales figure of GTA V. Star Citizen by Robert’s Space Industries initially had a Kickstarter goal of $500,000 to make Star Citizen and even then it was going to be big and ambitious. But then it beat it’s Kickstarter by a hell of a fucking lot, drawing in over $2 million of backers. Now, it continues to stretch. And stretch. And stretch. At the point of writing this Star Citizen has amassed $39,257,862… A quite simply ridiculous sum of money for a game that still has nothing playable released and is now SO FUCKING AMBITIOUS that both me and Tim begin to wonder if they haven’t bitten off more than they can chew.
The “Gamers aren’t really people” Award for those who pissed us off
Oh god… There’s just so many people that I feel deserves our hate. As always…
There’s Gearbox Software and Sega for the absolutely ridiculous travesty that was Alien’s: Colonial Marines. There’s EA (I mean, EA is also ALWAYS on this list) and Maxis for their absolutely horrendous always-online Sim City (a travesty made even better by the fact that the servers were broken for weeks). Rockstar even saw it’s fair share of troubles and server issues with the release of GTA Online (although when one considers how many they sold, one feels it might be a little easier to forgive them). But there are two companies which, to me at least, this year deserve a very special level of despising and glaring. Microsoft and Sony have both, for reasons I could spend hours trying to get clear in my own head, decided that instead of making a dedicated video game console that the Xbone and the Piss4 ought to be “multimedia devices” for doing everything from checking Facebook and NetFlix to writing an essa- Oh wait, you can’t write an essay. So they aren’t as good as a PC then? No. Microsoft is especially deserving for all that always online, DRM and Kinect nonsense that they attempted to burden us with.
Both of these companies have ended up releasing consoles which are aimed to appeal at a wider market, but in doing so seem to alienate the core audience of gamers. So perhaps, they are forward-thinking and actually doing what is best for the majority. But for gamers, these guys are just dicks.
The “Looking-good-bro” Award for something(s) we are looking forward to
This award does not go to any one game in particular but instead to a whole plethora of titles which we are extremely excited about. Star Citizen (the amount of money spent on it means it just HAS to be good), Wildstar (possibly one of the most exciting MMOs we’ve seen recently), Watch Dogs (Assassin’s Creed in the future but without the whole Animus bullshit?), Dragon Age Inquisiton (I love Dragon Age), The Witcher 3 (Tim loves The Witcher). All of these fuel our imaginations and give us something to drool over. And this isn’t even mentioning the games which might be coming out this year, but might not the unannounced title set in the Mass Effect universe, Dying Light, Tom Clancy’s The Division.
God… I love video games…
Anyway. This all took a fair long while to write out, with far too much pontification. GG, WP 2013! GL HF 2014!