Game Awards 2018 Winner Predictions


The 2018 Game Awards nominees have been revealed, which must mean that its time to pit some of the best titles of the year against each other and wildly speculate regarding which games will win it all. 

In recent years, The Game Awards have served as an increasingly respected way to gauge what most gamers consider to be the best games of the year. While it’s still a little lacking when it comes to giving a variety of titles the attention they deserve, there’s no denying that every nominee is a game that is worth playing. 

This year, we have a brilliant reboot that redefines the action-adventure epic, an open-world masterpiece eight years in the making, a masterful interpretation of one of the greatest superheroes of all-time, a little indie platformer that could, and many more great titles facing-off for the right to be named the best in their class.

At the risk of spoiling the fun, we think that you’ll hear the following names called when The Game Awards 2018 winners are revealed on Dec. 6. 

GAME OF THE YEAR

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (Ubisoft Quebec / Ubisoft)

Celeste (Matt Makes Games)

God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)

Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / SIE)

Monster Hunter: World (Capcom)

Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)

What Will Win: Red Dead Redemption 2

You get the feeling this race really comes down to Red Dead Redemption 2 and God of War.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is the odd game out, Monster Hunter: World just doesn’t have the reach, Spider-Man falls just short, and Celeste is probably still a bit too obscure/low-budget for this kind of show.

Red Dead Redemption 2’s insane momentum will probably carry it to victory, but don’t be surprised to see God of War take it. Regardless, both games are exceptional examples of modern Triple-A design.

BEST MULTIPLAYER GAME

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (Treyarch / Activision)

Destiny 2: Forsaken (Bungie / Activision)

Fortnite (Epic Games)

Monster Hunter: World (Capcom)

What Will Win: Fortnite

Call of Duy: Black Ops 4 is fantastic, Destiny 2: Forsaken has kept that game relevant, and Monster Hunter: World is fascinating, but Fortnite is the winner here.

Even if you don’t play Fortnite, you cannot deny its success nor can you deny the incredible level of support Epic has shown towards it. Fortnite is a constantly evolving game that sets a new standard in terms of developer response and risk in a “games as service” title.

BEST FAMILY GAME

Mario Tennis Aces (Camelot Software Planning / Nintendo)

Nintendo Labo (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)

Overcooked 2 (Ghost Town Games / Team 17)

Starlink: Battle for Atlas (Ubisoft Toronto / Ubisoft)

Super Mario Party (NDCube / Nintendo)

What Will Win: Super Mario Party

This isn’t a particularly close fight, but Overcooked 2 and Super Mario Party both make strong cases for themselves. Starlink is just okay, Mario Tennis Aces is burdened with some questionable design decisions, and the Labo is too niche and limited.

We’re giving the nod to Super Mario Party. It’s a brilliant return to form for the up and down series that is a bit bolder and more robust than the incredible – but familiar – Overcooked 2. Super Mario Party is easy to love, fairly ambitious for what it is, and a whole lot of fun with friends and family.

BEST FIGHTING GAME

BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle (Arc System Works)

Dragon Ball FighterZ (Arc System Works / BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment)

Soul Calibur VI (Bandai Namco Studios / BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment)

Street Fighter V Arcade (Dimps / Capcom)

What Will Win: Dragon Ball FighterZ

This lineup isn’t quite as slim as it may initially appear to be. Soul Calibur VI is phenomenal, BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle is highly underrated, and Street Fighter V Arcade did a lot to fix the missteps of the original release.

Still, you can’t deny Dragon Ball Fighter Z is one of the smoothest, most beautiful, and deepest mainstream fighting games in years. Even if you’re not a fan of the Dragon Ball property, this game’s incredible looks, speed, and modes will likely hook you.

BEST INDEPENDENT GAME

Celeste (Matt Makes Games)

Dead Cells (Motion Twin)

Into the Breach (Subset Games)

Return of the Obra Dinn (3909 LLC)

The Messenger (Sabotage Studio)

What Will Win: Celeste

Wow, this is a stacked category. The only “problem” with this category is that Celeste is almost guaranteed to win. It was the only indie title also nominated for game of the year, it’s an industry favorite, and it’s a downright brilliant platformer that is one of the best-made indie titles we’ve seen in a long time.

Still, every game on this list deserves to win. Into the Breach is a near-perfect strategy game, Return of the Obra Dinn is one of the most intelligent games available, The Messenger is a glorious throwback to 8-bit action, and Dead Cells ranks among the best roguelikes ever. Play all of these games.

BEST ACTION GAME

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (Treyarch / Activision)

Dead Cells (Motion Twin)

Destiny 2: Forsaken (Bungie / Activision)

Far Cry 5 (Ubisoft Montreal / Ubisoft)

Mega Man 11 (Capcom)

What Will Win: Dead Cells

We’re really going out on a limb with this guess as Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 probably has a much better chance of winning. However, Dead Cells has maintained momentum throughout the year and only became more popular when it was released on Switch. It just might have enough to steal this one.

As for the rest, Destiny 2 is carrying too much controversial baggage, Far Cry 5 is good, but not great, and Mega Man 11 is honestly a little disappointing in terms of how it evolves the franchise for the modern age.

BEST ROLE PLAYING GAME

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age (Square Enix / Square Enix)

Monster Hunter: World (Capcom)

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom (Level 5 / BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment)

Octopath Traveler (Square Enix / Acquire / Nintendo)

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire (Obsidian Entertainment / Versus Evil)

What Will Win: Monster Hunter: World

This category is honestly a bit weaker than it has been in the past. The only game that doesn’t really feel like it’s in the race is Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom (which was good but didn’t really generate a lot of buzz). Dragon Quest XI is also a bit of a long shot even though it was rather well-received.

Of the remaining three titles, we tend to think it’s between Monster Hunter: World and Octopath Traveler. Monster Hunter: World is an epic continuation of the franchise that has attracted a ton of new fans (while managing to please old ones) so it will likely get the nod. Don’t be surprised to see Octopath Traveler (or, to a lesser extent, Pillars of Eternity II) steal it, though.

BEST ACTION-ADVENTURE GAME

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (Ubisoft Quebec / Ubisoft)

God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)

Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / SIE)

Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Eidos Montreal / Crystal Dynamics / Square Enix)

What Will Win: God of War

Any category with God of War and RDR 2 is going to be tough to call. In the end, we’re going to say that God of War’s slightly more traditional take on the action-adventure concept probably puts it over the top.

God of War improves upon the formula used by Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Spider-Man, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider is just the worst game on this list. Red Dead Redemption 2 could end up stealing this award, but it feels like God of War’s to lose.

BEST SCORE/MUSIC

Celeste (Lena Raine)

God of War (Bear McCreary)

Marvel’s Spider-Man (John Paesano)

Ni No Kuni II (Joe Hisaishi)

Octopath Traveler (Yasunori Nishiki)

Red Dead Redemption 2 (Woody Jackson)

What Will Win: Celeste

This is maybe the hardest category to accurately guess. We think that Marvel’s Spider-Man is kind of the odd man out as its audio track is made better by sound design rather than just the soundtrack itself. As we mentioned before, Ni No Kuni II probably isn’t really in the race due mostly to popularity reasons.

Of the games that are left, we’re going to go with Celeste. It’s a haunting, beautiful, unique, and gameplay appropriate score that is oozing with personality and combines the best of modern and retro. God of War might win if this goes the epic soundtrack route, and Red Dead Redemption 2’s strange minimalist Western soundtrack and incredible vocal tracks might just end up putting it over the top. It’s a three-game race.

BEST ONGOING GAME

Destiny 2 (Bungie / Activision)

Fortnite (Epic Games)

No Man’s Sky (Hello Games)

Overwatch (Blizzard)

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege (Ubisoft Montreal / Ubisoft)

What Will Win: Fortnite

Our hearts go out to Rainbow Six Siege (which has quietly been one of the best multiplayer games of the last few years), but this is Fortnite’s award to lose. That’s not to say it’s undeserved. Epic has done a great job of updating and perfecting the wildly popular battle royale title.

Overwatch hasn’t received nearly as many updates, Destiny 2 remains controversial even among its own fanbase, No Man’s Sky isn’t quite there yet, and Siege probably just misses out on the award (even if it is a possible dark horse candidate). 

BEST NARRATIVE

Detroit: Become Human (Quantic Dream / SIE)

God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)

Life is Strange 2: Episode 1 (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix)

Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / SIE)

Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)

What Will Win: God of War

Honestly, this competition isn’t as close as it seems. RDR 2’s story kind of falls apart towards the end, Marvel’s Spider-Man’s story is perhaps a bit too familiar, Life is Strange 2 doesn’t even feature a complete story, and Detroit: Become Human’s story is very good, but again, perhaps a bit cliche in spots.

God of War’s story is a bit too drawn out, but also features some truly incredible narrative moments as well as an all-time great cast of characters and a fascinating backdrop. It’s the clear winner here.

BEST GAME DIRECTION

A Way Out (Hazelight Studios / EA)

Detroit: Become Human (Quantic Dream / SIE)

God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)

Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / SIE)

Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)

What Will Win: God of War

Honestly, this award should probably go to A Way Out. It’s the only game on this list that we would argue is entirely reliant on the director’s vision. A Way Out features some of the most impressive and intelligent co-op gameplay that we’ve ever seen, and we have a hard time imagining the game working as well as it does if it were put in the hands of any other director.

With that out of the way, we really can’t fault anyone who votes for God of War. Director Cory Barlog poured his heart and soul into this re-imagining of the franchise. While his dedication doesn’t always manifest itself through innovative gameplay, it’s still an award-worthy effort.

BEST ART DIRECTION

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (Ubisoft Quebec / Ubisoft)

God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)

Octopath Traveler (Square Enix / Acquire / Nintendo)

Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)

Return of Obra Din (3909 LLC)

What Will Win: Octopath Traveler

We’re not entirely sure that AC, RDR 2, and God of War belong on this list over some indie candidates, but such as it is, we give the nod to Octopath Traveler.

Return of the Obra Dinn’s retro visuals are an essential part of the game’s overall package, but Octopath Traveler features a stunning combination of classic JRPG aesthetics and modern lighting that instantly captures your attention.

BEST AUDIO DESIGN

Red Dead Redemption 2 Rockstar

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (Treyarch Studios / Activision)

Forza Horizon 4 (Playground Games / Turn 10 Studios / Microsoft Studios)

God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)

Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / SIE)

Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)

What Will Win: Red Dead Redemption 2

To be honest, we don’t think that God of War really stands out in this category (outside of its soundtrack, which is honored elsewhere). Marvel’s Spider-Man is actually a bit underrated in this department, but that sadly means that it might not get the votes. Forza Horizon 4 is good, but not mind-blowing.

That leaves Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and RDR 2. Black Ops 4 is a tad more reliant on the quality of its sound design, but RDR 2 is just so rich in terms of how it utilizes a variety of complex sounds to sell its magnificent open world.

BEST PERFORMANCE

Spider Man PS4 DLC

Bryan Dechart as Connor, Detroit: Become Human

Christopher Judge as Kratos, God of War

Melissanthi Mahut as Kassandra, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Roger Clark as Arthur Morgan, Red Dead Redemption 2

Yuri Lowenthal as Peter Parker, Marvel’s Spider-Man

Who Will Win: Yuri Lowenthal as Peter Parker

We have this as Spider-Man’s only win of the night, but it’s a well-deserved one. Yuri Lowenthal turns in a brilliant take on a version of Spider-Man/Peter Parker that we rarely get to see (experienced, but wavering). It’s even more impressive when you consider that Tom Holland elevated expectations for this role not long ago.

Christopher Judge as Kratos could end up being the somewhat surprising winner of this group, but we still think Spider-Man takes this.

GAMES FOR IMPACT

11-11 Memories Retold (Digixart / Aardman Animations / BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment)

Celeste (Matt Makes Games)

Florence (Mountains / Annapurna Interactive)

Life is Strange 2: Episode 1 (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix)

The Missing: JJ Macfield and the Island of Memories (White Owls / Arc System Works)

What Will Win – Life is Strange 2: Episode 1

Celeste is the best game on this list, but in terms of the spirit of the award, we think that Life is Strange 2: Episode 1 ends up winning. It’s the most socially aggressive game on this list and has some name value to boot. We’d honestly be shocked if this award goes any other way (with the possible exception of Celeste taking it based on the overall quality of the game).

BEST MOBILE GAME

Donut County (Ben Esposito / Annapurna Interactive)

Florence (Mountains / Annapurna Interactive)

Fortnite (Epic Games)

PUBG MOBILE (Lightspeed & Quantum / Tencent Games)

Reigns: Game of Thrones (Nerial / Developer Digital)

What Will Win: Donut County

This is actually a very tough category to predict. Fortnite could certainly walk away with this award, but we think this is where Fortnite fatigue kicks in. Florence would be a real candidate if awards were purely decided by critics, but it probably doesn’t have the fan support.

That leaves Donut County which is a fun, smart, and reasonably popular mobile title that doesn’t feel like a mobile title. Again, though, don’t be surprised if Fortnite takes it.

BEST VR/AR Game

ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission (SIE Japan Studio / SIE)

Beat Saber (Beat Games)

Firewall Zero Hour (First Contact Entertainment / SIE)

Moss (Polyarc Games)

Tetris Effect (Resonair / Enhance, Inc)

What Will Win: Beat Saber

Realistically, this is a two horse race between Tetris Effect and Beat Saber. While Tetris Effect is a downright brilliant game that ranks among the year’s most entertaining experiences, it’s not a game that is entirely dependent on VR.

As such, we think this award goes to Beat Saber and its hypotonic rhythm gameplay. Beat Saber utilizes VR in a way that is both comfortingly familiar yet advanced enough to clearly serve as a harbinger of the future of this genre and the technological medium.

BEST STRATEGY GAME

BATTLETECH (Harebrained Schemes / Paradox Interactive

Frostpunk (11 bit studios)

Into the Breach (Subset Games)

The Banner Saga 3 (Stoic Studio / Versus Evil)

Valkyria Chronicles 4 (Sega CS3 / Sega)

What Will Win: Into the Breach

The strategy genre isn’t quite as popular/robust as it once was, but this is a pretty solid overall list of candidates. In the end, though, Into the Breach wins this one in what might be a landslide.

Not only is it arguably simply the best strategy game of the year (even if it’s closer to Chess than StarCraft), but it’s the only game on this list that doesn’t come with a “but” attached to it when you’re trying to dissect its overall merit.

BEST SPORTS/RACING

FIFA 19 (EA Vancouver / EA Sports)

Forza Horizon 4 (Playground Games / Turn 10 Studios / Microsoft Studios)

Mario Tennis Aces (Camelot Software Planning / Nintendo)

NBA 2K19 (Visual Concepts / 2K Sports)

Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 (PES Productions / Konami)

What Will Win: Forza Horizon 4

Here’s another category that is largely going to be determined by baggage. NBA 2K19 and FIFA have the microtransaction stigma, Mario Tennis Aces launched with controversy due to its lack of modes/options, and Pro Evolution is made by Konami.

That leaves us with Forza Horizon 4. The process of elimination aside, Forza Horizon 4 is just a great game. It’s honestly one of the year’s best titles. Its stunning visuals, rich content, and rock solid racing gameplay make it one of the best sports/racing games in recent memory.

Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014

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