As 2016 comes to a close, critics and fans alike are starting to take note of their best gaming experiences of the year. At the Golden Joystick Awards, a kind of peoples’ choice awards for the industry in the U.K., some of the big winners included Dark Souls III, Overwatch and the final expansion for The Witcher 3 — Blood and Wine.
Winning the top honor of the night was Dark Souls III. The triumph was all the more remarkable considering Overwatch earned the most Golden Joystick Awards this year, including Best Original Game, Best Muliplayer Game, and Competitive Game of the Year.
The big wins of the night were as follows:
- Ultimate Game of the Year: Dark Souls III(From Software)
- Best Original Game: Overwatch (Blizzard)
- Best Storytelling: The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine (CD Projekt Red)
- Best Visual Design: The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine (CD Project Red)
- Best Audio: Fallout 4(Bethesda)
- Best Indie Game: Firewatch (Campo Santo)
- Best Multiplayer Game: Overwatch (Blizzard)
- Studio of the Year: CD Projekt Red
- Innovation of the Year: Pokemon Go (Niantic)
- Xbox Game of the Year: Rise of the Tomb Raider (Crystal Dynamics)
- PlayStation Game of the Year: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog)
- Nintendo Game of the Year: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (Nintendo)
- PC Game of the year: Overwatch (Blizzard)
- Competitive Game of the Year: Overwatch(Blizzard)
- Handheld/Mobile Game of the Year: Pokemon Go (Niantic)
- Breakthrough Award: Eric Barone (Stardew Valley)
- Critics Choice Award: Titanfall 2 (Respawn)
Is anybody else pumped for the next release of the legendary game Legends of Zelda: Breath of the wild! pic.twitter.com/TBoVHb6eju— Link (@Hyrule___Link) October 22, 2016
Earning the Lifetime Achievement Award was Eiji Aonuma for his contributions to the gaming industry, most notably his work as the producer and manager for The Legend of Zelda series. In his acceptance speech, he recognized everyone who had worked on Zelda throughout its many incarnations while reminding the audience his work was far from over with the pending release of Breath of the Wild.
“I am glad, honored and really humbled to be awarded the Golden Joysticks 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. I say I’m humbled because when I heard about this award, I had to ask myself… ‘am I qualified to be accepting this myself as an individual, when the award belongs more to The Legend of Zelda series?’ I wasn’t even involved in the first couple of games! With this understanding I accept the award with pleasure on behalf of more that 1,000 creators, artists, engineers and composers who have worked on the series for more than 30 years including Shigeru Miyamoto, Koji Kondo, Takashi Tezuka and Yoshiaki Koizumi.”
CD Projekt Red took home the Studio of the Year award and continued to rake in awards for The Witcher 3 through the game’s final DLC expansion. Considering The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine won in the storytelling and visual design categories against full-length games like Rise of the Tomb Raider, Tales from the Borderlands, and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a notable feat not typical of an expansion. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt previously earned the Ultimate Game of the Year award at the Golden Joystick Awards in 2015 and was widely perceived as the game of the year for its impeccable open-world gaming experience.
Looking ahead to next year, gamers had the option to vote for their most anticipated game from a list of 12 games that included Horizon Zero Dawn, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Although Mass Effect Andromeda came out on top, voters may have a tough call to make when deciding the best game of 2017. Several winter releases were out of the running due to their late-in-the-year release dates this year. It would not be surprising to see games like Dishonored 2, Final Fantasy XV, Pokemon Sun/Moon, The Last Guardian, or Watch Dogs 2 on the next ballot as well.
Watch the entire Golden Joystick Awards presentation in the following video.
Do you agree that the best games of 2016 won at the 2016 Golden Joystick Awards? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Bandai Namco]