The Golden Joystick awards have come and gone and the winners have been listed. Blues posted up the list and it’s mostly a circlejerk around Ashly Burch, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Burch came away with two awards for Horizon: Zero Dawn, the game itself nabbed two awards, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild nabbed four.
You can check out the complete list of winners below:
- Best Storytelling – Horizon Zero Dawn
- Best Visual Design – Cuphead
- Best Audio – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Best Gaming Performance sponsored by The Sun – Ashly Burch (Horizon Zero Dawn)
- Best Indie Game in collaboration with Square Enix Collective – Friday the 13th: The Game
- Best Multiplayer Game sponsored by GT Omega – PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
- Studio of the Year – Nintendo EPD
- Best VR Game – Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
- eSports Play of the Year sponsored by Intel – Agilities
- eSports Team of the Year – Seoul Dynasty (formerly Lunatic-Hai)
- eSports Game of the Year sponsored by OMEN by HP – Overwatch
- Best Streamer / Broadcaster – Markiplier
- Handheld / Mobile Game of the Year sponsored by Bespoke Arcades – Pokémon Sun and Moon
- Nintendo Game of the Year – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- PlayStation Game of the Year – Horizon Zero Dawn
- Xbox Game of the Year – Cuphead
- PC Game of the Year – PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
- Critics’ Choice Award – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Breakthrough Award sponsored by Badfly – Ashly Burch
- Hall of Fame – Final Fantasy
- Most Wanted Award – The Last of Us Part II
- Still Playing Award – World of Tanks
- Outstanding Contribution to the UK Games Industry sponsored by The Telegraph – Debbie Bestwick MBE
- Lifetime Achievement – Sid Meier
- Ultimate Game of the Year – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Just to give you some perspective on the nominees, the “Ultimate Game of the Year” category had games like Super Mario Odyssey, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Resident Evil 7, Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Destiny 2, Dishonored 2, Persona 5, Horizon: Zero Dawn and Monument Valley 2 in there.
All of the nominees were outlined over on The Telegraph.
As pointed out in the article, the Golden Joystick Awards are voted on by the public, and given that it’s set within the U.K., presumably a whole bunch of Sony fanboys did the voting because there is no way that Horizon: Zero Dawn had a better told story than NieR: Automata.
Guerrilla Games’ open-world, robosaur-hunting, third-person action title was pitted up against the aforementioned NieR: Automata from Platinum Games, along with Persona 5 from Atlus, Arkane’s Prey, Pyre, Tacoma, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy and What Remains of Edith Fitch in the “Best Storytelling” category.
It’s a complete sham that a game like that won out when the entire narrative was summed up in four segments throughout the entire game: one at the beginning that introduces us to Aloy and the world, another when Aloy gets to the first installation that explains why the world ended up the way it did; the third segment comes from the second installation that explains how the robosaurs came about, and the fourth segment is near the end that explains the hostility between the robosaurs and humans and how Aloy came about. The entire game’s story is summed up within those four segments.
It’s the complete opposite of how Yoko Taro told the entire story of NieR across multiple playthroughs told from various perspectives and intertwining the progression of the narrative within the actual gameplay. You can’t just pick out four segments and get the summation of the game’s narrative from those segments.
Anyway, Burch winning for best performance is also baffling. Again, I don’t know how her one-note, stoically-quizzical performance with a wry dose of sarcasm was considered the best performance of the year.
I wasn’t much of a fan of Hellblade, but Melina Juergens gave a thorough and emotionally charged performance in Ninja Theory’s game… spanning a wide range of different emotions and the fluid transition from fear to rage to sadness to desperation and everything else in between. The two were on completely different performance planes.
Anyway, Horizon also taking best PS4 game of the year is no surprise given how heavily it was promoted, but it also came at the expense of NieR, Persona 5, The Last Guardian, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Statik, Nioh and Yakuza 0. It was pretty obvious the niche Japanese titles weren’t coming away with a win, but even if Horizon didn’t win I’m pretty sure fanboys would have given the win to Uncharted: The Lost Legacy just because it’s Naughty Dog.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild stole away four awards in the expected categories, along with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which is expected. On the upside at least Cuphead picked up two awards, so it’s not the end of the world.
It’s also funny that Overwatch picked up “eSports Game of the Year” over Dota 2, Counter-Strike, Rocket League, League of Legends and Smite, despite the fact that it has never even come close to the top three games on Twitch for e-sports viewership and has some of the lowest viewership share compared to the other big titles, as noted by Newzoo.