Giant Bomb News

73 Comments

Here Are Your 2014 E3 Game Critics Nominees

Turtle Rock's Evolve leads a list of nominees that could easily be mistaken for just a list of "games that showed up to E3."

Look at all these respectable publications! And also Giant Bomb!

E3 2014 has come and gone. The games have been played, the requisite commentary has been provided, and all that's left at this point is to hand out a bunch of awards to make the games that appeared at this year's show feel special. While most outlets have their own individual E3 awards to hand out (hence why you see patently absurd statements like "winner of over 90 E3 awards!" on marketing materials), the annual Game Critics Awards pool representatives from something like 30 different outlets (with our own Jeff Gerstmann among them) into a single voting body, which makes them more official, I think.

Today marked the announcement of the 2014 GCA Best of E3 award nominees, and looking it over, you'd be forgiven for wondering if someone had just taken a list of "major games that were playable at E3 2014," removed that Kirby sequel and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker from the equation, and called it a day. This is nobody's fault, exactly. E3 2014 was a decidedly light year in terms of hot new playable games, meaning that certain categories were left a bit lacking in available options.

The full list of nominees can be found at the bottom of this story (and via this link), but before we get to those, a few stray observations about this year's nominees.

  • Turtle Rock's multiplayer FPS Evolve led with six total nominations, including Best Original Game, Best PC AND Console Game, and Best of Show. Bungie's Destiny and Ubisoft's Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege came in behind Evolve with four nominations apiece.

  • The Division, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt were all specifically called out as games that were not entertained as nominees because they were not made available as playable demos to judges. Of those, The Witcher 3 is the only one I'm preeeeeeetty sure was being played by a person in a live demo, as opposed to a purely video-based theater presentation, so I guess I'm kinda surprised that wasn't made available? Especially considering how gushy all the comments were about that game's showing.

  • I'm genuinely impressed that there were enough fighting games at E3 to fill out a category without having to resort to tossing Ultra Street Fighter IV or EA Sports UFC on there.
  • I'm going to get a ration of crap for this, but what if we, as an industry, agreed not to do separate Best PC/Best Console categories anymore? Four of the five PC nominees are also coming out on most of the other platforms, too. I just wonder if that distinction is even valuable anymore given that most games come out on multiple platforms and oh man I can already feel the angry comments being written before I even hit publish so I'm just going to shut up now.

  • Probably nobody cares about this besides me, but man, what a bummer both the Best Driving Game and Best Sports Game categories are this year. Apparently there were only three games focused on the driving of cars at the show, and considering that two of them are HashtagDriveClub and The Crew...yeah. Also, all three sports nominees are EA Sports games, because 2K didn't bring NBA 2K15. I'm picturing EA Canada and EA Tiburon side-eying each other SO HARD right now.
  • Best Strategy Game is an even bigger bummer. If Beyond Earth or Grey Goo wasn't there, what would have happened? Can you even have a category with just one nominee? What is the sound of one nominee competing? I mean, it's moot because obviously there were two strategy games at the show, but even that's pretty crazy. Two is not very many!

  • Giving any of the games in the Best Online Multiplayer category an award for Best Online Multiplayer before their online multiplayer is actually online seems like maybe a little bit of a problem? Like, if Battlefield Hardline wins this, comes out, and is just as jacked as Battlefield 4, doesn't it look weird if "BEST ONLINE MULTIPLAYER" is stamped right on the box? Maybe this category just needs a new name. "Presumed Best Online Multiplayer?" "Best Online Multiplayer as Tested in a Dev Server Environment?" I'm just spitballing here!

  • Despite there being two ostensibly major handheld platforms out there right now, there are only four nominees for Best Handheld Game. That feels...wrong?

  • Best Social/Casual continues to feel like the "we didn't know where else to put these games" category. "Here's where we acknowledge Mario Maker and Fantasia, we guess!" Again, this is not a specific criticism of these awards. Genre classification is just dumb sometimes. And "Best Game That Is Not Like All These Other Games" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

  • No Man's Sky is the only game in the Best Indie category that crosses over into any of the other "main" categories. I have nothing to add to that observation. I just observed it.

And now, here's your full list of nominees.

Best of Show

- Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly/Sega)
- Batman: Arkham Knight (Rocksteady/WBIE)
- Evolve (Turtle Rock/2K Games)
- Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith/WBIE)
- No Man's Sky (Hello Games)
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Best Original Game

- Destiny (Bungie/Activision)
- Evolve (Turtle Rock/2K Games)
- No Man's Sky (Hello Games)
- Splatoon (Nintendo EAD/Nintendo)
- Sunset Overdrive (Insomniac/Microsoft Studios)

Best Console Game

- Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly/Sega)
- Batman: Arkham Knight (Rocksteady/WBIE)
- Destiny (Bungie/Activision)
- Evolve (Turtle Rock/2K Games)
- Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith/WBIE)

Best Handheld Game

- Murasaki Baby (Ovosonico/Sony Computer Entertainment)
- Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth (Atlus/Atlus)
- Super Smash Bros. for 3DS (Sora/Namco-Bandai/Nintendo)
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call (Square-Enix/Square-Enix)

Best PC Game

- Civilization: Beyond Earth (Firaxis/2K Games)
- Dragon Age: Inquisition (Bioware/EA)
- Evolve (Turtle Rock/2K Games)
- Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Best Hardware

- Alienware Alpha (Alienware)
- Oculus Rift (Oculus VR)
- PlayStation TV (Sony Computer Entertainment)
- Project Morpheus (Sony Computer Entertainment)

Best Action Game

- Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Sledgehammer Games/Activision)
- Destiny (Bungie/Activision)
- Evolve (Turtle Rock/2K Games)
- Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Best Action/Adventure Game

- Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly/Sega)
- Assassin's Creed Unity (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
- Batman: Arkham Knight (Rocksteady/WBIE)
- Sunset Overdrive (Insomniac/Microsoft Studios)
- The Order: 1886 (Ready at Dawn/Sony Computer Entertainment)

Best RPG

- Bloodborne (From Software/Sony Computer Entertainment)
- Dragon Age: Inquisition (Bioware/EA)
- Fable Legends (Lionhead/Microsoft Studios)
- Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith/WBIE)
- Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth (Atlus/Atlus)

Best Fighting Game

- Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- (Arc System Works/Aksys Games)
- Killer Instinct Season 2 (Iron Galaxy Studios/Microsoft Studios)
- Mortal Kombat X (NetherRealm Studios/WBIE)
- Persona 4 Arena Ultimax (Arc System Works/Atlus)
- Super Smash Bros Wii-U (Sora/Namco-Bandai/Nintendo)

Best Racing Game

- Driveclub (Evolution/Sony Computer Entertainment)
- Forza Horizon 2 (Playground Games/Microsoft Studios)
- The Crew (Ivory Tower/Reflections/Ubisoft)

Best Sports Game

- FIFA 15 (EA Canada/EA Sports)
- NHL 15 (EA Canada/EA Sports)
- Madden NFL 15 (Tiburon/EA Sports)

Best Strategy Game

- Civilization: Beyond Earth (Firaxis/2K Games)
- Grey Goo (Petroglyph/Grey Box)

Best Social/Casual

- Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes (Avalanche/Disney Interactive)
- Fantasia: Music Evolved (Harmonix/Disney Interactive)
- LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (TT Games/WBIE)
- Mario Maker (Nintendo EAD/Nintendo)
- Yoshi's Woolly World (Good-Feel/Nintendo)

Best Online Multiplayer

- Battlefield: Hardline (Visceral/EA)
- Destiny (Bungie/Activision)
- Evolve (Turtle Rock/2K Games)
- Splatoon (Nintendo EAD/Nintendo)
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Best Indie

- Axiom Verge (Tom Happ)
- CounterSpy (Dynamighty)
- Below (Capy Games)
- No Man's Sky (Hello Games)
- Ori and the Blind Forest (Moon Game Studio)

Alex Navarro on Google+
76 Comments
  • 76 results
  • 1
  • 2
Posted by Tylea002

This looks like a list compiled by a time traveller from 2006 to 2014 who didn't realise how much games and the games industry had changed, holy shit.

Posted by jimmyfenix

Bloodborne yo

Posted by huser

Is this a typical list? I've never seen these before, though I could have guessed a lot of the entries. How does the voting work? Is it graded on points (ie 1st place gets 10, second gets 9, etc) or just tallied votes in each category? An interesting look behind the curtain, Alex.

Posted by Hailinel

"Best Sports Game"

*All annual EA titles*

What the fuck.

Posted by syz

Evolve's nominations need asterisks beside them.

*As long as your friends are still playing it with you.

Edited by cloudymusic

@alex_navarro I don't see you answering "why didn't Bloodborne win everything"

— Patrick Klepek (@patrickklepek) June 24, 2014

Patrick's become more of a vocal Bloodborne/Souls fanboy than even the regular Souls fanboys lately.

I like Souls too, I just mean...it seems like a really hard swing to be all BLOODBORNE BLOODBORNE BLOODBORNE after being lukewarm on DS2 and not having even touched Demon's.

Posted by erhard

E3 awards: still dumb as fuck.

Online
Posted by WSGEXE

This year was a bit of a wet fart, to be honest. But Alien Isolation looks like the dog's bollocks. Excellent write-up, @Alex.

Edited by SDHero

These were always a bit weird considering you have companies that choose not to bring their products to E3, but now that the show has considerably narrowed in scope they just seem kind of pointless. I'm sure the "Judge's Week" is still valuable in getting people hands-on time with these games outside of the show environment, so I guess if they have to keep handing out useless awards to get Jeff in a room with lots of video games, so be it.

Posted by Video_Game_King
@hailinel said:

"Best Sports Game"

*All annual EA titles*

What the fuck.

To be fair, nobody ever said they were good.

Edited by Budwyzer

I was tripping for a second. I thought I was on Polygon and wondering why in the hell this was reading like Alex Navarro had written it. And then I scrolled back up.

PS. that's not a bad thing. You write like you talk, Alex, and it makes for some easy to understand reading. At least for people whose primary language is English.

Posted by SpaceCouncil

I feel Best Indie game is missing, INSIDE and Cuphead

Posted by mikey87144

Was Project cars not at E3? I thought that game was at the PlayStation booth?

Posted by MormonWarrior

I still think this was the best E3 in years in terms of games I want to actually play. The last few years have been really light on interesting games. I think I'll end up buying every game Nintendo showed.

Posted by Alex

@mikey87144: I don't think it was playable. Question mark?

Staff
Posted by BeachThunder

Code Name S.T.E.A.M. seems to be conspicuously absent :|

Posted by Yummylee

No love for The Evil Within, eh? :P Not like I actually expected it to get any sort of mention mind, though its reception was surprisingly positive from all of the other previews I've skimmed for it. Surprised Brad or Patrick never seeked it out anywhoo, if that was even possible. In any case, E3 awards still continue to be kinda silly. The ''action'' and ''action/adventure'' genres in particular are so insanely all-encompassing that they barely even mean anything anymore really.

Also, I really wish Alex would write more often... #RIPGunsofNavarro.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

2007's 2014 E3 Games of Show right here.

Posted by SomberOwl

Yeah the video game industry is just weird.

Posted by MoonwalkSA

I can totally understand not seeing any purpose to the Best PC/Best Console distinction anymore, Alex, and you're right. It just seems like an excuse to have even more slots for big budget titles that shouldn't need anybody's free publicity, since it otherwise doesn't matter at all.

Personally, I barely even see the point of distinguishing those games against Handheld games since a good game is a good game, but at least for handhelds vs consoles there's some real and obvious difference between them in terms of scope and performance.

Posted by Gaff


Best Social/Casual

What the hell is that category?!

Posted by Chicken008

Most of the "casual" games are platformers, could have just made that the category.

Posted by Chicken008

Code Name S.T.E.A.M. seems to be conspicuously absent :|

This.
Why only have 2 nominations for strategy games??

Posted by altairre

@alex: Why is the racing game category such a bummer to you? Is it because Jeff didn't like Driveclub, because you played it yourself or because it's there for the second year now? Because the latest stuff that I've read was pretty positive and the video footage they put out looks good to me. I'm very much looking forward to that game so I'm just curious. Same with the Crew. What I've seen doesn't look especially awesome but I still think it has a ton of potential and am not ready to write it off yet. Forza Horizon 2 will probably be great but it's a known quantity at this point while Driveclub and The Crew are new IPs even if we're seeing them two years in a row now.

Posted by MB

These are the categories I would like to see one day:

  • Best console game shown off on PC hardware (or being played magically from a locked cabinet)
  • Best Game of Show with no actual game shown
  • Best Game of Show that people were allowed to play

Moderator
Edited by MoonwalkSA

Other somewhat nonsensical categories in this day and age:

"Best Action Game" should really just be Best FPS, i mean look at the nominees. Then just turn the action/adventure category into... uh... best non-FPS action game? I dunno exactly, but naming them Action and Action/Adventure makes this thing read like it's from the mid-90s.

"Best Online Multiplayer" is weird, for the reasons Alex described and because it's also mostly the same shooters from the Best Action category. Plus, online is kind of a weird and arbitrary and needlessly restrictive distinction, considering that couch-multiplayer focused games tend to wind up being much more interesting and exciting in gameplay regardless of whether they have an online mode.

"Social/Casual" seems outdated for obvious reasons, especially considering that Social/Casual Gaming these days mostly means free iphone apps or facebook games which are probably not putting up much of a showing at E3. It's pretty much just used as "Misc", and surely there's got to be a better solution than that, right?

Plus, categories with almost nobody in them, like Sports or Racing, could easily be merged with each other or replaced by things like Best Puzzle or Best Platformer or Best Music Game depending on what actually shows up to E3..... But then again, this whole awards song and dance seems like Best Shit That Nobody Cares About, unless you need to plaster awards and quotes onto a retail box.

Edited by gike987

Totally agree with the PC/Console. Not only are four out of the five PC nominees coming out console, four out of the five console games are coming out for PC. It's the dumbest.

Best action games could also be renamed to best FPS. All the nominees are FPS.

Edited by mrfluke

its funny and in a way not that surprising to me anymore to see the backlash over this E3, i thought it was easily one of the better ones,

actually really surprised at all the nods Evolve got, gotta make it a point at pax prime to play that game then.

Edited by ultrapeanut

That is a fantastic and totally accurate lede. Good observations all around.

@mrfluke: I had a lot of fun following E3 this year, but there's enough goofy junk like this that fully deserves criticism.

Posted by Vorsic

Where's Senran Kagura?

Posted by Raven10

@alex said:

@mikey87144: I don't think it was playable. Question mark?

I'm almost positive I saw video of people playing it. Maybe it just wasn't at judges week?

Edited by mikey87144

@raven10 said:

@alex said:

@mikey87144: I don't think it was playable. Question mark?

I'm almost positive I saw video of people playing it. Maybe it just wasn't at judges week?

The game had an alpha that was relatively popular. There are a ton of gameplay videos online to. I see no reason why it wasn't playable on the show floor.

Posted by Mr_Creeper

"..list of nominees that could easily be mistaken for just a list of "games that showed up to E3.""

Stopped reading right there. Thanks for the honesty, Alex; saves me a ton of time.

Edited by DevourerOfTime

Giving awards to games before they're out is kinda dumb.

Posted by outerabiz

this list and the whole e3 nominees thing is pretty dumb, but damn Alex is a great writer.

I need to go back and read some more GoN pieces.

Posted by steelerzfan101

I am kinda surprised by the extreme lack of Wii U titles. But I guess a lot of their good stuff is still in the conceptual/non-playable phase of development. (i.e. Legend of Zelda)

Edited by Alex

@altairre: I played DriveClub and I did not really like DriveClub very much. It seemed bland. My feelings on The Crew might be outdated, as people at E3 this year seemed to like it more. When I played it at the PS4 launch event last year, I did not care for it AT ALL.

Staff
Posted by TheMasterDS

@steelerzfan101: They probably did all the judging at critics week before E3. Nintendo doesn't do critics week.

There should be an E3 Game's Critic Awards where the games judge the critics.

Edited by steelerzfan101

@steelerzfan101: They probably did all the judging at critics week before E3. Nintendo doesn't do critics week.

There should be an E3 Game's Critic Awards where the games judge the critics.

Oohh I like that idea. That would be a game changer

Posted by RuthLoose

@hailinel said:

"Best Sports Game"

*All annual EA titles*

What the fuck.

No one else in the game anymore outside of 2K and occasional SEGA.

Posted by RuthLoose

@hailinel said:

"Best Sports Game"

*All annual EA titles*

What the fuck.

No one else in the game anymore outside of 2K and occasional SEGA.

Posted by Slag

@alex said:

  • I'm going to get a ration of crap for this, but what if we, as an industry, agreed not to do separate Best PC/Best Console categories anymore? Four of the five PC nominees are also coming out on most of the other platforms, too. I just wonder if that distinction is even valuable anymore given that most games come out on multiple platforms and oh man I can already feel the angry comments being written before I even hit publish so I'm just going to shut up now.

I agree with you! It's a distinction that no longer makes sense. About the only divide left seems to handheld/mobile vs Console/PC.

Posted by Noblenerf

Alex Navarro, your snark is fantastic and endless. I love it.

Keep up the good work.

Edited by Robo

I'm not really seeing a segment on that list where a Kirby remake and yet another Mario spinoff should be. "Most Nostalgic?" "Least Original Platformers?"

Edited by spilledmilkfactory

Evolve, Sunset Overdrive and The Witcher 3 look incredible, and combined with most of Nintendo's showing they represent the only reasons I'm not totally bummed out about video games right now. Also, am I the only one who thinks The Crew looks pretty cool?

Posted by Nordom

I didn't know No Man's Sky was playable other than by the devs. It seems every piece I read about that game its never from a hands on perspective. But if its eligible for an award it had to be playable.

Edited by Zleunamme

E3 awards, just bullshit to put on the back of the box above the bullet points. Now everybody gets a trophy for just showing up.

Edited by White

Wait. They said they weren't entertaining The Witcher, MGS5 and The Division because they weren't playable. And yet I'm seeing games that I'm pretty sure didn't have playable demos at E3. Batman, No Man's Sky, Bloodborne?

Also, best hardware? PlayStation TV was out eons ago and Morpheus and Oculus Rift aren't technically even finished.

This list is bullshit.

Edited by nightmaresabin

@white said:

Wait. They said they weren't entertaining The Witcher, MGS5 and The Division because they weren't playable. And yet I'm seeing games that I'm pretty sure didn't have playable demos at E3. Batman, No Man's Sky, Bloodborne?

Also, best hardware? PlayStation TV was out eons ago and Morpheus and Oculus Rift aren't technically even finished.

This list is bullshit.

Playable by judges in a back room. Not on the show floor.

  • 76 results
  • 1
  • 2