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
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
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
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
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.