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Giant Bomb's Game of the Year 2010: Day One

We reveal our picks for 2010's 2009 Game of the Year, Best New Character, Best Original Song, Best Debut, and Best PC-Only Game.

And be sure to check out today's Game of the Year deliberation podcast to find out how we came to these decisions!

2010's 2009 Game of the Year

 

Borderlands


2009's Borderlands is such a 2010 game that it's on the verge of becoming a 2011 game. That might sound like nonsense, but mostly what it means is that a good number of us are still actively playing Borderlands even today, over a year after it came out. That's largely because  Gearbox did such a great job of supporting the game with ongoing DLC releases this year, putting out four new packs that thoroughly rounded out the world of Pandora and made Borderlands feel more like the game we all wanted it to be when it shipped.  
 
We're not sure Gearbox is finished pumping out new areas, quests, and loot for Borderlands (hell, we don't even think Gearbox is sure if they're finished), but one thing is for sure: we're ready to play any new content for the game they want to gin up before we get our hands on the inevitable sequel.

Runners-up:  Forza Motorsport 3 Dragon Age: Origins

Best New Character

 

Bayonetta or maybe Mordin Solus


    


Runners-up: Francis York Morgan, Mordin Solus and/or Bayonetta, hell, we don't know.
 

Best Original Song

 

Entrance Music - Pac-Man Championship Edition DX

  
There's certainly something to be said for thoughtful orchestral scores with layered themes and an emotional resonance that brings weight to the proceedings and helps elevate the dramatic poignance of a game's narrative. But here at Giant Bomb, we like bangers--insidious, hard-hitting tracks with bass that will ruin your plumbing and snaky hooks that won't let go--and nothing banged harder in 2010 than the main menu music in Namco's downloadable Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. 
 
It's a loping, looping knob-twiddler in which each tweaked-out, wobbly cycle lasts well under a minute, but it's so infectious that you'll have a hard time leaving the main menu upon which it plays. When you do, though, you'll be completely pumped up and ready to eat the hundreds of ghosts that Pac-Man CE DX throws at you in any given minute. But rather than just trying--and failing--to describe this piece of music ad nauseum, you should probably just listen to it yourself. It's energetic, it's primal, and its our choice for Best Original Song in 2010.
 
Runners-up: Betus Blues - Super Meat Boy, Life is Beautiful - Deadly Premonition

Best Debut

 

Bayonetta

 
2010 started with a bang--a big, crazy, half-naked, J-Pop-laced, hair-covered, lollipop-sucking, angel-smashing, ten-foot-tall bang--thanks in no small part to PlatinumGames' Bayonetta.  Even though it was within the very first week of January that we were treated to a much-needed jolt of over-the-top Japanese video-game ridiculousness, it was an experience that stayed with us for the rest of the year.
 
There's a standing complaint within the games business for more original materials, and less sequels. Bayonetta's core gameplay might be very directly derivative of Capcom's Devil May Cry series, and the experience laced with loving references to Sega arcade classics like OutRun and Space Harrier, but she still managed to make a mighty strong first impression on her own merits, though we have to admit that we cannot wait to see what her sequel will look like. 

Runners-up: Super Meat Boy, Limbo

Best PC-Only Game

 

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty


Real-time strategy, with its demands for pixel-perfect mouse precision and zillions of hotkeys, might be the one genre that's most suited to being played on a PC. Sure, RTS has been done on a console, but you sure couldn't pull off the lightning-fast, high level of competitive play that defines StarCraft II's multiplayer with a gamepad. But the multiplayer's enormous strategic depth is only half the story, since StarCraft II also offers one of the best and most varied single-player campaigns we've ever seen in an RTS as well.
 
Blizzard's long-awaited sequel didn't just recreate the core struggle between the terrans, zerg, and protoss; it revitalized and modernized the essence of what StarCraft is, with just enough streamlining here and rebalancing there to make the game feel simultaneously familiar and brand new. The pervasive variety of the campaign, endlessly evolving challenge of the multiplayer, and promise of two story-driven expansions all combine to make StarCraft II a PC game we'll be thinking about for years to come. 

Runners-up: Civilization V, VVVVVV 
 
And to recap, here's a video that covers all of today's categories. Be sure to check back at noon tomorrow for another batch of awards.
      
340 Comments
Posted by Brad

And be sure to check out today's Game of the Year deliberation podcast to find out how we came to these decisions!

2010's 2009 Game of the Year

 

Borderlands


2009's Borderlands is such a 2010 game that it's on the verge of becoming a 2011 game. That might sound like nonsense, but mostly what it means is that a good number of us are still actively playing Borderlands even today, over a year after it came out. That's largely because  Gearbox did such a great job of supporting the game with ongoing DLC releases this year, putting out four new packs that thoroughly rounded out the world of Pandora and made Borderlands feel more like the game we all wanted it to be when it shipped.  
 
We're not sure Gearbox is finished pumping out new areas, quests, and loot for Borderlands (hell, we don't even think Gearbox is sure if they're finished), but one thing is for sure: we're ready to play any new content for the game they want to gin up before we get our hands on the inevitable sequel.

Runners-up:  Forza Motorsport 3 Dragon Age: Origins

Best New Character

 

Bayonetta or maybe Mordin Solus


    


Runners-up: Francis York Morgan, Mordin Solus and/or Bayonetta, hell, we don't know.
 

Best Original Song

 

Entrance Music - Pac-Man Championship Edition DX

  
There's certainly something to be said for thoughtful orchestral scores with layered themes and an emotional resonance that brings weight to the proceedings and helps elevate the dramatic poignance of a game's narrative. But here at Giant Bomb, we like bangers--insidious, hard-hitting tracks with bass that will ruin your plumbing and snaky hooks that won't let go--and nothing banged harder in 2010 than the main menu music in Namco's downloadable Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. 
 
It's a loping, looping knob-twiddler in which each tweaked-out, wobbly cycle lasts well under a minute, but it's so infectious that you'll have a hard time leaving the main menu upon which it plays. When you do, though, you'll be completely pumped up and ready to eat the hundreds of ghosts that Pac-Man CE DX throws at you in any given minute. But rather than just trying--and failing--to describe this piece of music ad nauseum, you should probably just listen to it yourself. It's energetic, it's primal, and its our choice for Best Original Song in 2010.
 
Runners-up: Betus Blues - Super Meat Boy, Life is Beautiful - Deadly Premonition

Best Debut

 

Bayonetta

 
2010 started with a bang--a big, crazy, half-naked, J-Pop-laced, hair-covered, lollipop-sucking, angel-smashing, ten-foot-tall bang--thanks in no small part to PlatinumGames' Bayonetta.  Even though it was within the very first week of January that we were treated to a much-needed jolt of over-the-top Japanese video-game ridiculousness, it was an experience that stayed with us for the rest of the year.
 
There's a standing complaint within the games business for more original materials, and less sequels. Bayonetta's core gameplay might be very directly derivative of Capcom's Devil May Cry series, and the experience laced with loving references to Sega arcade classics like OutRun and Space Harrier, but she still managed to make a mighty strong first impression on her own merits, though we have to admit that we cannot wait to see what her sequel will look like. 

Runners-up: Super Meat Boy, Limbo

Best PC-Only Game

 

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty


Real-time strategy, with its demands for pixel-perfect mouse precision and zillions of hotkeys, might be the one genre that's most suited to being played on a PC. Sure, RTS has been done on a console, but you sure couldn't pull off the lightning-fast, high level of competitive play that defines StarCraft II's multiplayer with a gamepad. But the multiplayer's enormous strategic depth is only half the story, since StarCraft II also offers one of the best and most varied single-player campaigns we've ever seen in an RTS as well.
 
Blizzard's long-awaited sequel didn't just recreate the core struggle between the terrans, zerg, and protoss; it revitalized and modernized the essence of what StarCraft is, with just enough streamlining here and rebalancing there to make the game feel simultaneously familiar and brand new. The pervasive variety of the campaign, endlessly evolving challenge of the multiplayer, and promise of two story-driven expansions all combine to make StarCraft II a PC game we'll be thinking about for years to come. 

Runners-up: Civilization V, VVVVVV 
 
And to recap, here's a video that covers all of today's categories. Be sure to check back at noon tomorrow for another batch of awards.
      
Online
Posted by MassiveDuck

so excited for the upcoming coverage

Posted by Korolev

I'm.... still playing borderlands. I played it yesterday. And the day before that.  And the day before that. 

Posted by PLWolf

Nice coverage so far. Can't wait to see more.

Posted by Guyzea

Good to see Deadly Premonition was considered.

Posted by LiK

Bayonetta deserves that win, YAY! Props to ya GB.

Posted by garnsr
I just hope a Bayonetta sequel lets me put the attack controls on the right buttons.  Why is it the only game that doesn't use square for regular and triangle for strong, with guns on circle?
Posted by asian_pride

Hell yeah Borderlands continues to be awesome with all the DLC they've been putting out (except for Mad Moxxi..ugh). And Bayonetta as well, of course.

Posted by ShadowKnight508

I will agree on the Borderlands pick...to this day, I am still playing it online with others (working on the Claptrap's New Robot Revolution DLC) as a Level 50 Roland (Soldier-Class). I hope that the braintrust at Gearbox continues to deliver quality DLC while we wait for the expected Borderlands 2. 

Posted by SparkleMotion

John Marston not even being a runner-up for Best New Character is, quite frankly, a joke.

Edited by DerekDanahy

I've never seen Brad's portrait. Anyone know where it's from?  
 
Edit: Just found out you have to buy the Cataclysm Collector's Edition.

Posted by lordofultima
@SparkleMotion said:
"

John Marston not even being a runner-up for Best New Character is, quite frankly, a joke.

"
boo hoo!
Posted by Roomrunner

PC GOTY for me was Amnesia, but I'm not annoyed.  I doubt Brad would accept any result but Starcraft 2. 
 
I'd put a lot of things before the PacManCEDX music.   That menu music is good, but to be honest, nothing you can't get from like an average capsule album.  
 
Now the Bit.Trip Fate soundtrack, that is some hot shit.

Posted by Ghost_of_Perdition

I'm almost finished with Bayonetta, and I can guarantee that it's already going onto my list. Good picks all around.

Posted by Malakhii

I'm sort of shocked to see StarCraft II pulled it put, I thought the rest of the crew (apart form brad) would vote Civ V.  

Posted by Robitt

Wow, I forsee alot of content.

Posted by BibleDoctor

Bayonetta? 
 
 ಠ_ಠ    

Posted by shootermcclay

BORDERLANDS

Posted by Deathpooky

Hmm... think from here on out I might make sure to listen to the podcast to hear deliberations and then read the post / watch the video.

Posted by Hailinel

Bayonetta deserves those awards, truly.  And they gave credit to Francis York Morgan as a runner-up, at least.  Dude's got style.

Posted by FesteringNeon
@SparkleMotion said:
"

John Marston not even being a runner-up for Best New Character is, quite frankly, a joke.

"

Agreed, somehow i feel they might try to avoid "the norm" to be different.. And that'll be unfortunate, if it happens. There's no denying RDR's impact this year.
Posted by Vegetable_Side_Dish
@SparkleMotion:  
I'm with you there, he may be stereotypical but damn if I didn't love him.
Posted by HydraHam
@SparkleMotion said:
"

John Marston not even being a runner-up for Best New Character is, quite frankly, a joke.

"
John Marston is one of the most bland unoriginal cowboy characters ever created.
Posted by MistaSparkle

I thought for sure John Marston was going to be nominated at least...

Posted by GunslingerPanda

Oh, wow. Really glad that Bayonetta got a lot of love right here.

Posted by lordofultima
@bukkookkub said:
" @SparkleMotion said:
"

John Marston not even being a runner-up for Best New Character is, quite frankly, a joke.

"
Agreed, somehow i feel they might try to avoid "the norm" to be different.. And that'll be unfortunate, if it happens. There's no denying RDR's impact this year. "
I hope RDR isn't game of the year..I just don't see the appeal, bleh.
Posted by Hobbies
@Styl3s said:
" @SparkleMotion said:
"

John Marston not even being a runner-up for Best New Character is, quite frankly, a joke.

"
John Marston is one of the most bland unoriginal cowboy characters ever created. "
Word. 
 
Good job, Giant Bomb, you know what you're talking about.
Posted by jakob187

BAYONETTA LOVE!!! GET HYPE!!!

Posted by JoeyRavn

Screw the other gifts. This is Christmas. Soooo excited about the GOTY Bombcasts :D

Posted by Yelix

Umm, I'm listening to the podcast and they said Mordin and Best New Character. Is something up here?

Posted by lokilaufey
@bukkookkub said:
" @SparkleMotion said:
"

John Marston not even being a runner-up for Best New Character is, quite frankly, a joke.

"
Agreed, somehow i feel they might try to avoid "the norm" to be different.. And that'll be unfortunate, if it happens. There's no denying RDR's impact this year. "
I don't think they ignore the norm so much as these are a bunch of guys with really erratic tastes. They seem to have a lot more variety and uniqueness in their interests than I see out of a lot of other major gaming site's staff.  
 
Just listen to them talk about it in the podcast...they had a LOT of nominees, some from games that go largely ignored by most people in the face of big releases like RDR.
Posted by Pkshields

This is what I was looking for! Awesome picks, never even really considered the CE DX music but it is great.

Posted by EgoCheck616

I'm REALLY glad to see Bayonetta starting to get some love. 
Makes me want to pick it up again, even if I only own a PS3.

Posted by XNaphryz

Glad to see Bayonetta getting more love. Such an awesome game!

Posted by damswedon
@Yelix said:
" Umm, I'm listening to the podcast and they said Mordin and Best New Character. Is something up here? "
hmm, super hidden part?
Posted by DanielJW
@Yelix said:
" Umm, I'm listening to the podcast and they said Mordin and Best New Character. Is something up here? "
I am confused by this too. 
Posted by NMC2008
@SparkleMotion:  
He's already gotten enough fucking attention everywhere else, doesn't even deserve it as far as I am concerned but whatever.
Posted by Deathpooky

In case anyone was wondering, the Latin below Luchadeer roughly translates to "Wrestling Deer Discovers Excellence".

Posted by Jackel2072

im calling it right now. 2011's 2010 game is going to be Fallout New Vegas. its only a matter of time before that game takes over Vinny's soul and he once again finds him self on the couch with a bucket of KFC.

Posted by Chris2KLee

Yes, Bayonetta. Great character, way more than just her looks.

Posted by MadLaughter

The hell? They said that Mordin won on the podcast?

Posted by Gabriel

Meh, Yorks a better character.

Posted by ThePickle

I thought Mordin was the best new character? 

Posted by LiquidSwords

The amount of fucking whining form the GB community has already begun

Posted by iam3green

nice nice, can't wait to find out what the game of the year is.

Posted by Fjordson

York over Marston? Joke award or...?

Posted by SomeJerk

This looks looks just like what I had in mind. Borderlands GOTY is like $25 on Steam, waited until now to pick it up and I'm having the Diablo 2-like with guns I've always wanted. Also  agree all the way about Bayonetta. Just hope the next game gets a better PS3 port.
 
Looking back at the comments around the internet when it popped up, I was probably to enjoy Bayonetta because I had the right mindset for it, rather than "hurr sexifying women" or "durr DMC ripoff", all the way through the demo (and then the full game, on the PS3 no less) I was smiling and laughing all the way, having the time of my life.

Posted by Ignor
I disagree on all accounts!
Posted by Timing

Now, I know none of the guys have really played a lot of NieR, and I don't blame them because it's certainly not the most polished game, but I think it would have had good chances in the Best New Character and Best Original Song categories.
 
Best New Character for Grimoire Weiss. I think the wiki page sums it up quite nicely.  Proud, quirky, eloquent and ultimately a true friend. In what other game does the protagonist develop a meaningful bond with a magic flying book? It's truly sad that Cavia is no more...
 
Best Original Song for Song of the Ancients | Fate. An emotional, yet powerful song sang beautifully in a made up language, that appears in some of the most gripping moments in the game. Oh, and if it's not banger enough the DLC remix version SURELY is. If anything just listen to that one, it blows that one-and-a-half-minute Pac-Man loop out of the water.

Posted by McGhee
@Styl3s said:
" @SparkleMotion said:
"

John Marston not even being a runner-up for Best New Character is, quite frankly, a joke.

"
John Marston is one of the most bland unoriginal cowboy characters ever created. "
Bayonetta would make Marston her gun case toting bitch.