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Giant Bomb's 2015 Game of the Year Awards: Day Three Text Recap

We made it through day two and lived to tell the tale. Day three of GOTY 2015 starts now!

We're halfway there! After yesterday's contentious set of categories, we're back with four more awards to dole out to some of the best (and worst) games of the year. As always, don't forget to check out the video recap of today's winners, and listen to our sometimes heated deliberations in podcast form, over on the GOTY hub.

Best Debut

Splatoon

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With Nintendo’s lack of prominent new IPs in recent years and their long-running struggles with anything related to the internet, you’d be forgiven if you were skeptical of Splatoon when it was announced. Nintendo introducing a solid new series isn’t impossible to imagine, but one that requires the publisher to understand online multiplayer is a little more far-fetched.

We were thrilled to see that Splatoon actually pulled it off, delivering fast-paced and engaging multiplayer, reliable network connections, and an immediately likable presentation. Even our early worries about a lack of content proved to be wrong, as free DLC trickled out on a regular basis after launch. While Nintendo hasn’t officially said anything regarding the future of Splatoon, we hope that the enthusiastic response from fans and critics leads to more entries as the years go on.

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Runners-up: Grow Home, Undertale

Hottest Mess

Batman: Arkham Knight (PC)

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Every year we crown the hottest mess in a variety of forms. In some years, it's games that were so broken that they required apologies from the publishers. In some years, it might be an entire company that has managed to bungle things on such a massive scale that they overshadow any one game or moment. This year's winner has a little bit of everything. Actually... it has a lot of everything.

The PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight was so messed up that the publisher retracted its release. It was pulled from sale on Steam and at various retailers for months. Various apologies were issued. Interim patches that managed to fix some issues while seemingly creating others were released, so that the people who were "lucky" enough to buy Arkham Knight got to see some updates while the game was still off-sale.

Then it came back out, went back on sale, and it seemed like no one was happy. The publisher ended up starting to talk about the issues that are still being worked on while alluding the issues that wouldn't (or couldn't?) be fixed, and it opened up the refund window to let anyone dissatisfied with the game get a refund. That's all well and good, but when you total it all up, the ups and downs of Batman's latest PC outing is a hot mess. The hottest, in fact!

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Runners-up: Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma; The Rollout of Skyrim's Paid Mods

Best Multiplayer

Rocket League

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After detouring into the realm of offline multiplayer for a bit there, it seems like playing games over the internet is rad again. The raddest? Rocket League.

While it's definitely one of those games that doesn't always work when you're teaming up with strangers, this soccer-but-good-because-it-has-cars-instead-of-soccer-players simulator has a good, low team size that makes getting a crew together easy. It's got a terrific mix of easy gameplay that makes you feel like you're having some success the very first time you play, and a high skill ceiling that lets the players who stick around pull off some amazing feats of sky-car-jumpery. It also rewards proper teamwork, once you start getting focused about getting better at it. Even when you're losing, the moment-to-moment action in Rocket League just feels great, which is more than enough to keep us coming back.

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Runners-up: Splatoon, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Best Moment or Sequence

Kerbal Space Program - Achieving a Stable Orbit

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3...2...1 Launch. You've watched your fair share of videos about Kerbal Space Program, but now this is your ship, your design that is hurtling towards the upper atmosphere. You've tweaked and tinkered after a few catastrophic failed launches, but seven more struts and five fewer solid fuel boosters seem to have fixed that pesky "explosion" problem. There really isn't any reason this design should work, and you understand this reality as you try to slightly angle your ascent to conserve some energy, but if it does work you'll have enough stored fuel to explore anywhere in the galaxy. Your ship is heating up now, but that's fine and the flames look pretty awesome. The first stage sputters and dies as it runs out of fuel and you eject it into the void. Six depleted boosters float harmlessly away. The ship is burning fully horizontal now towards the equator, but you're not sure if you're going to pick up the speed to avoid crashing back into Kerbin. You watch as your return trajectory widens on the orbital map until suddenly where once there was only an arching line aimed at the surface there is now a beautiful ring encircling Kerbin. You cut the engines, sit back, and enjoy the view of your ugly-as-sin spacecraft silhouetted against Kerbin. Maybe it wasn't the best strategy or ship design, but you did it. You're in no rush now. In your new orbit you have all the time in the universe to ponder your next, impossible move.

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Runners-up: Life Is Strange - End of Episode 2, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - The Bloody Baron Quest Arc

141 Comments

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Japperwokki

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wwoooh!!

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deactivated-6126d002b1d9f

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I thought I was the hottest mess of 2015

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TheCitizenKaneOfThings

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Undertale not even being nominated for best moment/sequence is a crime as moments and sequences are what make Undertale so god damn great.

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ollieg_94

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I'm surprised that that's the LiS strange moment they went for, but I'm just happy enough that it got its due somewhere in these awards.

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Chicken008

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Splatoon raking in wins.

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paulunga

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Do they actually mean the end of Life is Strange's Episode 2? Because I thought Episode 3 was a much bigger "holy shit" moment when everything changed. Trying to be vague, here.

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duke_of_the_bump

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Undertale not even being nominated for best moment/sequence is a crime as moments and sequences are what make Undertale so god damn great.

Also the characters, and no mention of Undertale in the best character category either :( I didn't play the Witcher, but I liked Fallout 4, and every character in Undertale is better than Nick Valentine.

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steveurkel

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Undertale sucks so bad I don't care what anyone says that game is terrible through and through I watched game grumps play it and several episodes in I said no more this is dumb how can anyone like this? Best debut runner up? Oh come on. Undertale should have been worst game of the year: sorry don't throw insults at me about how I don't get the humor or the point of the game. It was dumb and unfunny. Comedy in games is like licasarts Sam n Max type of stuff undertake was a total bore. Can't understand all the love for it.

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mikemcn

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Every achievement in Kerbal is a fucking awesome moment, great choice!!!

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billymaysrip

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@thecitizenkaneofthings said:

Undertale not even being nominated for best moment/sequence is a crime as moments and sequences are what make Undertale so god damn great.

Also the characters, and no mention of Undertale in the best character category either :( I didn't play the Witcher, but I liked Fallout 4, and every character in Undertale is better than Nick Valentine.

In the podcast, they did bring up a number of Undertale characters. None of them just made the final cut.

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TheCitizenKaneOfThings

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@thecitizenkaneofthings said:

Undertale not even being nominated for best moment/sequence is a crime as moments and sequences are what make Undertale so god damn great.

Also the characters, and no mention of Undertale in the best character category either :( I didn't play the Witcher, but I liked Fallout 4, and every character in Undertale is better than Nick Valentine.

Yeah, it really surprised me how little Austin and Dan fought for Papyrus even though they said he could easily be on the list. And yeah, from what I've seen of Nick he doesn't seem like as good or original of a character.

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duke_of_the_bump

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@billymaysrip: Sorry, should have specified I haven't listened to the podcast yet, I just meant no mention of them in the top 4. It's good to know they were at least represented there.

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MJHAYLETT

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Well shit I need to play Life is Strange before I listen to the podcast. I'm only half way through Episode 1. Dammit.

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Based

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I'm happy about the Life is Strange love!!

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ominousbedroom

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Splatoon was more or less my first deep dive into competitive multiplayer, with ranked, Sigh... I just get easily stressed by ranked modes :( but seeing Rocket League pop up a lot, I wanna try it.

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Ohnonono

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Love the Splatoon and Kerbal picks. Good things.

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radioactivez0r

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I should probably play Life is Strange.

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gerrid

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Surprised to see that making orbit, rather than landing on the moon, is the Kerbal moment.

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MarekkPie

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Edited By MarekkPie

The Undertale fandom hungers. Not enough GOTY sacrificial offerings have been made. Sans will remember this.

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generic_username

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There's some stuff in Undertale.

There are some moments.

And they're pretty good.

Just saying.

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Wandrecanada

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Finally Life is Strange getting some chatter but supreme disappointment over the lack of anyone talking about Tales from the Borderlands. The moment of episode 4, Escape Plan Bravo was incredibly moving and the fact that no one saw it is kinda sad.

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gbrading

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Edited By gbrading

I thought the end of Episode 4 of Life is Strange was the best moment; I didn't see it coming. Glad it has got its due though. Also no surprises with Arkham Knight being the Hottest Mess; the very fact it was pulled from sale for many months speaks volumes.

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anarchovelo

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Edited By anarchovelo

So Splatoon launches with very little content and trickles out free DLC and wins Best New Whatever, R6: Siege launches with the same plan, granted with microtransactions for cosmetic items and boosters that are absolutely unnecessary, and gets laughed off as a joke. Alright.

Edit: Not trying to say R6 is as good as Splatoon, I don't have a WiiU, but I'm really enjoying playing Siege with my friends and knowing that all the upcoming maps, operators, guns are going to be free DLC makes me think the lack of content argument is premature.

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doncabesa

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I'm roughly 250 hours into Halo 5 mp, surprised it isn't getting any end of year award love.

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KillEm_Dafoe

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I like that the Bloody Baron quest line was nominated for best moment because that's as far as anyone on staff got in the game. In reality, the battle of Kaer Morhen is the most breathtaking and empowering scene of that game, certainly the best I've played all year, and there are several other outstanding moments here and there. I wish at least one person on staff finished the game so it could get a proper discussion.

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viking_funeral

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No surprises here.

Maybe Batman, only because I forgot about the paid mods fiasco. That left a permanent divide in the community and left a lot of people feeling hurt on both sides, but I had honestly forgotten about it until I saw it in the runners-up. I had not forgotten about Batman. Maybe that just speaks to the mentality of video game consumers as a whole.

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hassun

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Edited By hassun

No game deserves best Debut more than Splatoon. May it be a long and prosperous franchise.

Really surprised Konami did not even get in the top 3 of hottest messes though. Will have to listen to the Bombcast to have that explained to me.

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rethla

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Edited By rethla
@gerrid said:

Surprised to see that making orbit, rather than landing on the moon, is the Kerbal moment.

What about achieving 200mph in extra vehicular activity on the Mun? // Bill

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WrathOfGod

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Cool stuff. Kerbal was a dark horse for me!

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Cogzwell

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it's a real bummer they never got to play "never have I ever" in witcher 3, cause like... bloody baron's pretty good but I don't think it's in my top 3 moments in that game.

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Colonel_Pockets

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Bloody Baron quest arc was incredibly well done.

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flasaltine

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I like that the Bloody Baron quest line was nominated for best moment because that's as far as anyone on staff got in the game. In reality, the battle of Kaer Morhen is the most breathtaking and empowering scene of that game, certainly the best I've played all year, and there are several other outstanding moments here and there. I wish at least one person on staff finished the game so it could get a proper discussion.

I know, it is pretty damn funny that they never got far into the game and then are nominating those early parts for best moments. Just think about everything after that though. Even the stuff in the expansion is top notch.

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pslyy

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@mjhaylett: They have only played the first 3 episodes and talk about them so no need to play the whole game before listening to the podcast.

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dr_mantas

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Everyone should play Life is Strange.

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Halo5isGOTY

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Edited By Halo5isGOTY

List doesn't have Halo 5: Guardians.

List is a joke.

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paulmako

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I enjoyed Life is Strange a lot, glad it's gotten a mention.

Super memorable characters and situations.

And yes for Splatoon! Totally in agreement with that.

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Mystyr_E

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Edited By Mystyr_E

wish the last battle in Tales from the Borderlands or the escape scenes in Ori were included

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AwkwardLoser

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I don't get how people can hype Splatoonso much yet criticise Battlefront it makes no sense.

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AwkwardLoser

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Based off Best Moment youse guys clearly didn't play Tales From the Borderlands or Game of Thrones.

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Monkeyman04

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@awkwardloser: So true. All those opening title sequences for Tales From the Borderlands are the best title sequences I've seen in a long time. And there are tons of moments in TFtB that I don't have time to type here.

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Efesell

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@mystyr_e said:

wish the last battle in Tales from the Borderlands or the escape scenes in Ori were included

Agh the escape scenes in Ori are where that whole thing falls apart though. A great spectacle but each one is just the most trial and error bullshit.

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Assirra

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Edited By Assirra

@efesell said:
@mystyr_e said:

wish the last battle in Tales from the Borderlands or the escape scenes in Ori were included

Agh the escape scenes in Ori are where that whole thing falls apart though. A great spectacle but each one is just the most trial and error bullshit.

It really isn't trial and error, that would imply there is bullshit coming out of nowhere. You can 1shot every scene if you pay attention.

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Flavbot

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Edited By Flavbot

Wooow I did not expect Kerbal to grab best moment. But damn I'm happy it won, achieving orbit for the first time and landing on the moon for the first time is some of the best moments I've had in games ever.

Just look at the moment in Kerbal: Project B.E.A.S.T - Part 3 (at 53:15) when they successfully land on the moon, their cheers are just incredible.

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thewalkingdude

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Splatoon deserves all the praise it receives because for a brand new IP and online multiplayer shooter from Nintendo, it was done surprisingly well. Strong art style, great original music, fun and refreshing gameplay that isn't found in the typical shooter and a steady of flow of free updates and content easily make it one of the best new IP this year. Star Wars: Battlefront has great sound design and looks freaking great but just feels lacking as a shooter and a bit empty with content. Hopefully it gets more support after launch and turns around into a much better game since it has the potential to be amazing if done right.

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a_randay92

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Undertale is getting snubbed left and right. :( #feelsbadman

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qrdl

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Goood, goood. I'm satisfied with the recognition Witcher received from the crew. Although, as far as particular moments go, I would choose the Priscilla's song. I'm almost used to crying when I hear it by now.

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NewHuman

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@steveurkel: I'd say I disagree, but then again who am I to argue humor with Mr. Urkel

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Branthog

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When will the podcasts be up? Previous years, there were podcasts up every single day for like a week. So far, there hasn't been anything since last week's regular tuesday podcast on the 22nd.