Game of the Year 2017 Day Two: Music, Surprise, Multiplayer, and Mess

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staff

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Edited By staff  Staff

OK! It's time for our second day of deliberating. Today we're talking about music, multiplayer, surprises, and the hottest mess of 2017. Uh... in video games. The hottest video game mess of 2017. We don't have enough time to include all the other stuff.

Here's today's loadout:

We'll also have another hot batch of lists from the staff and guests.

Have we got a video? Yes, we've got a video!

Below are the winners and nominees for today's categories. If you'd rather hear us have the discussion without knowing who won, you probably shouldn't scroll down any further until you've seen or heard our deliberation podcast for the day.

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Now then. Let's continue.

Best Multiplayer

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

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While there have been a billion different multiplayer shooters popping up around the edges of gaming, most of them come and go. Actually, most of them just kind of... go. Mainstream multiplayer shooting has been largely caught in the Call of Duty/Battlefield vortex for at least the last 10 years. That's probably part of what makes PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds so exciting. Watching its success and continued climb has been great to watch because it's starting to feel like we're living through an actual paradigm shift when it comes to the types of shooters a large audience is willing to get into.

Battlegrounds feels great, and even though the stakes can be high in the moment, it's easy enough to start all over again that it keeps you from feeling overly punished by failure. Furthermore, each mode pushes a different button. Playing alone, against 99 other players, ratchets up the tension in a major way. With a squad of four players, the game starts to have a few more goofball moments where you and your friends get into some dumb shit and maybe come out alive. But it also inspires you to take things a bit more seriously, buttoning up that loose chatter and calling out locations as firefights emerge. Duos split the difference in fascinating ways as well, ensuring that you have someone to watch your back but only if you can work well together. That variety goes a long way. The thrill of ending someone's run with a few well-placed clicks of the mouse goes even further.

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Runners-up:Destiny 2, Tekken 7

Hottest Mess

Star Wars Battlefront II

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In a year filled with bad moments for Electronic Arts, the unimaginably bungled launch of Battlefront II is the runaway leader. Early previews of the game were unclear as to how the progression system would be handled. Once pre-release word got out about the length of time needed to unlock hero characters, the necessary amounts of in-game currency dropped drastically. Then the game came out, and the depths of its problems were made clear. Players hated the progression system, the reliance on loot crates, the pay-to-win qualities of the cards, and plenty more. EA tried to save face with a quick wipe of all real-money offerings, but the core of the game was still too rotten to save. One of the biggest gaming companies in the world took the largest entertainment IP in the world, and made the year’s most irredeemable mess.

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Runners-up:Visceral Games shutdown, Mass Effect: Andromeda launch

Best Surprise

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

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The idea that a game with roots split between a pretty serious military sim like ArmA and stick-and-a-rock survival like DayZ (which, to further complicate things also has roots as an ArmA mod) ended up cracking through the way PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has is just crazy. But when you start to dig into all this stuff, it makes a little more sense. Battlegrounds is a fantastic distillation of the military and survival sides of its predecessors. It ditches all the crafting, but keeps the stakes high. It trims the match length from "hey, you'd better stay awake so no one comes and steals our wood" to, like, under an hour. It comes together in a way that makes you lose hours of time to it, because you always want to come back for one more game. One more attempt at glory. One more hectic sniper fight.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds pulls you in, almost in spite of its fairly unfriendly roots. It's an impressive feat that most definitely caught us by surprise this year.

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Runners-up:The Mummy Demastered, Sonic Mania

Best Music

NieR:Automata

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NieR:Automata's biggest draw is unquestionably its story, but in talking about the impact of that story, it's impossible to do so without making mention of the game's soundtrack. Keiichi Okabe's score is the underpinning of NieR's story, and it serves as a perfect foundation to every strange, harrowing, emotionally draining moment of the game.

There just isn't much else out there that sounds like NieR's soundtrack, either. Though a few tracks feature recognizable language, many of the vocals are recorded in a mishmash of disparate languages that make the vocals seem at once familiar and otherworldly. That oddness permeates every single track, from the soaring, playful tones of "Amusement Park" to the pulsing intensity and haunting shrieks of "Alien Manifestation".

NieR:Automata is a gorgeous game, but not necessarily in the purely visual sense we tend to attribute that word to. So much of its beauty is in its ability to deliver incredibly emotional moments time and time again, and so much of that delivery is punctuated by its musical accompaniments. Few other soundtracks this year feel as vital to a game's overall success as NieR's. It's an astonishing work, and absolutely deserves to be called this year's best music.

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Runners-up:Cuphead, Persona 5

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donchipotle

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I will accept these. Especially music. Now to listen to the fights.

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flasaltine

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#2  Edited By flasaltine

Doom was robbed

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pause422

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so glad Nier got best music.

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Chicken008

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Glad Persona 5 was nominated for music. :D

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Solh0und

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#5  Edited By Solh0und

I would have said Persona 5 had better music than Nier but that's just me.

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TheDigitalistic

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#6  Edited By TheDigitalistic

Maybe if I keep believing

My dreams will come to life

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mrfluke

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Persona and cuphead got their dues, (even though i think persona had better music than nier)

Now Pubg or mario odyssey can sweep game of the year

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Grondoth

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Best music is good. Those are good choices.

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kblosnack

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Now we're talking

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czircon

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Persona was robbed.

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TheAdmin

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EA is “on fire” winning both most disappointing AND hottest mess categories as both winner and runners up. They really need to get their act together next year.

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jiggajoe14

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NIER!!!!

Also loving all the Nic Cage in these articles.

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BeachThunder

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Least Surprising: PUBG winning Best Multiplayer.

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xymox

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Nier was robb- oh, no, wait, it's... it's right there, actually. Huh. We gucci.

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paulunga

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Nier for best soundtrack all the way. I mean, the music is just excellent.

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MattGiersoni

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#17  Edited By MattGiersoni

Great top 3, I'd switch the order and put P5 at #1 but it's not a big deal! Video games music is so good.

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derachi

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#18  Edited By derachi

Haven’t heard the deliberations yet but I really hope Yakuza 0 got a shout-out for music.

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deactivated-5d61ff6f14b61

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I just finished the campaign (both parts) of Star Wars Battlefront II (which I got as a gift). I liked it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Efesell

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#20  Edited By Efesell

Almost a perfect line up for best music.

Throw FFXIV: Stormblood in there somewhere. I mean just get together with folks and fight a boss to this blaring

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AWKWARDL0SER

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I don’t get how everyone at GB thinks Tekken 7 is better than Injustice 2? Like Tekken is fine but it always feels like the inferior to DOA, Soul Calibur and my Fave Virtua Fighter. Idk maybe it’s me being both a huge MK & Comics fan causing bias

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mikemcn

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The nier choice is a good choice, well done.

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BonerEthics

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@czircon said:

Persona was robbed.

I have a feeling this won't be the first time Persona is robbed during this year's deliberations.

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gschmidl

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EA taking the triple crown again.

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Memu

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Here is THE problem I have with these discussions: most of them played Hollow Knight and only a couple of them liked it, so it gets removed immediately from biggest surprise, but only Brad played The Mummy Demastered, and they all just take his word for it that it is good and continue to pretend that is a fact all the way to the end of the deliberations. This kind of thing happens a lot.

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Cerberus3Dog

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#27  Edited By Cerberus3Dog

Is the Nier music they demoed the best music in the game? Cuz I'm with Abby, that did nothing for me.

Edit: I just youtubed some of the soundtrack, I can see it winning.

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tissot

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@memu: I agree but there's just no way they all could keep up with all these games. This year if any year. I know this isn't news to anybody.

In the end these are just arbitrary lists made by group of people. People I like to listen to and that's as far as it goes for me on these Game of The Year podcasts.

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RonGalaxy

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The music of nier is, unquestionably, the thing about that game that has no drawbacks whatsoever. It's able to perfectly fit niers mishmash of aesthetics/sensibilities, yet stands on its own as something genuinely great.

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doncabesa

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Nier winning best music fine, but I hope that's the only category because every other part of that game was either ok (story) or bad (EVERYTHING ELSE)

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viking_funeral

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Okay, now I have to listen to the deliberations on music. Because the NieR: Automata soundtrack is beyond amazing, and one of the best soundtracks I've heard in years, but I'm guessing most of the staff didn't really notice it initially.

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NickFoley

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Correct selections.

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MrShadowfox

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I remember a while back that Brad tweeted that he was surprised how good the customization menu song was for Tekken 7, so I'm surprised it wasn't at least nominated for Best Music (not that it probably would have made top 3).

https://twitter.com/bradshoemaker/status/878698343664308225

Still though, such a competitive year for Best Music!

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mems1224

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#34  Edited By mems1224

Can't wait to hear about the reasons they excuse Destiny for hottest mess since that game has a new fire every week. Its a real bummer how much of a pass they give that game and its shitty business practices while also shitting on Battlefront nonstop.

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Efesell

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@mems1224 said:

Can't wait to hear about the reasons they excuse Destiny for hottest mess since that game has a new fire every week. Its a real bummer how much of a pass they give that game and its shitty business practices while also shitting on Battlefront nonstop.

Battlefront fucked up enough to start making actual news and also forced a complete rollback of their garbage systems. The perpetual shitting on that game is fairly warranted.

Destiny has warm your hands fires at best.

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Memu

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@tissot: I have a problem with THE WAY they are making decisions, not the decisions they are making. Especially in this case, how can you say that something only one of them knew about was the biggest surprise? Brad surprised them with it. If Jeff had played The Mummy, he probably would not have liked it and he would have said "I just don't think it's very good" and then it would have been removed from the list exactly like they did with Hollow Knight. Games that less of them play get more of a pass. That is the problem.

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Efesell

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#37  Edited By Efesell

@memu: I dunno, if you tell me a demake of a game based on The Mummy is actually good and I generally know to trust your opinions on games I'd probably be willing to say sure why not as well.

Hollow Knight also just seems like a real solid One of Those Games so I'd already dismiss it from Best Surprise anyway.

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Memu

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#38  Edited By Memu

@efesell: You are completely missing my point. You don't trust Abby? She thinks Hollow Knight is really good.

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Wagrid

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Congrats to EA for achieving the prestigious Most Disappointing/Hottest Mess combo. If they do Worst Game this year EA might come out of GOTY 2017 triple crown champs.

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Jdezzy62

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How can they talk about Destiny 2 being good multiplayer when they dropped it after the raid?

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TreeTrunk

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Nier!

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isloudas

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Were all thinking it so I'm just gonna say it.

Tekken 7 was robbed in best music. Jason, Ben, and Jeff as the fighting game pioneers should be ashamed for writing this off so quickly,

Have you heard Infinite Azure? Or even the main menu or character customization theme?

Great day overall though, best music is always one of my favourite categories to listen to.

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OMGFather

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#43  Edited By OMGFather

I keep on listening to the Persona 5 soundtrack to this day. But I'm glad it made top 3, I honestly was expecting it to get pushed aside.

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Dray2k

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#44  Edited By Dray2k

I'm kinda glad that Nier: AM won, overall the music is by far the best thing about the game and its the only reason why this game really works. Personally, Rivers in the Desert and Jump Up Super Star kind of are the superior tracks, but its hard to compete with that sort of quality. Breath of the Wilds sound design does seem to be just as impactful as Nier: AM's transitions, too. But overall I feel that Nier: AM deserves this award because its the only game I know about where the story seems to be built around the music and not the other way around. It really seems like they made the music first and then built the game around what the composer offered.

Seriously, if you can spend 15 hours speedrunning through the game without the music turned on the experience becomes a wholly different one. I go so far and say that the story actually feels like it stand in the way of the player sometimes, compared to The Witcher 3 where this certainly was not the case as the naration is presented as a more important thing and the music serves more like the icing of the cake rather than as an important aspect that you shouldn't miss.

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NoobSauceG7

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They picked the correct 3 for best music. Hard for me to choose the best between those 3 since I listen to them all of the time.

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MrShadowfox

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@jdezzy62: Probably because after beating the raid, they essentially beat the hardest PvE challenge of the game, and deemed it beating Destiny. And once they beat a game, they (and probably a bunch of others in general) moved on to a different one. Sounds like they still had a good time with the game, and sometimes it’s better to end it on a high point. Like for me personally, I’ll probably never play Breath of the Wild again, but I really did enjoy my time with that game. I don’t believe you need to keep playing a game to justify a game to being good, as long as you enjoyed the ride it provided. Also we had a very busy year of games, so I imagined they were plenty busy covering as many as they could.

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clagnaught

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The road for NieR: Automata becoming Giant Bomb's GOTY continues.

Also, NieR won Best Music without anyone referencing Weight of the World / The End of YoRHa. That is one of the best uses of music I have ever seen, in addition to that song just being really good.

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Noelle808

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#48  Edited By Noelle808

Cuphead is real good, but what holds it back a bit for me is that doesn't have much artistic ambition other than to emulate.

Also the BotW main theme is maybe my favorite Zelda track ever? I know that soundtrack doesn't have many bangers, but I'm surprised that track and Hyrule Castle didn't get a mention.

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Shiftygism

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#49  Edited By Shiftygism

Brad's argument for Shadow of War's loot boxes not being a big deal once people got their hands on it is THE EXACT SAME SITUATION...or should be, for Battlefront II. There was never a problem with them. You're not going after card drops as they're too randomized for it work in your favor, you're buying them for crafting parts to access any perk you may want without having to reach a preset level. The cards are just a bonus as they're strengthening the things you may not be using while you concentrate on your main. That and most of the perks associated don't contribute to the game's actual progression which is tied to a troop's specific blaster kills. The preorder bonus Star Cards, those were the only real instance of p2w, as they were tier four cards, something that doesn't drop in the crates and you can only craft once you get to a player rank of 20 and a specific troop/character/vehicle card rank of 25. The overpriced character unlocks was a definite misstep, something they were quick to address when called out on it, but the crates have always been a complete non-issue and just like Shadow of War, easily obtained through in-game credits earned as they front load the game with plenty of rewards and challenges.

EDIT: Also...

Jeff - "I guess I have to grind for stuff that straight up makes your character better in a lot of cases."

But, isn't that an example of most shooters?

In Battlefront II you're working towards better weapons with kills earned, and the Star Card system offers a great deal of freedom as you can go after anything you want pretty quickly without having to reach a specific rank (unless you're going for an upgraded version). I can understand how it may feel like a grind though for casuals expecting bullshit rewards each rank up like emblems and tags, but I have no need for that junk.

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Benjamin1Taylor

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#50  Edited By Benjamin1Taylor

Wait. Mario + Rabbids not even _mentioned_ for best surprise? I was sure it would be a finalist, and I thought it might flat-out win the category. Everybody thought it would be garbage, and then it turned out to be one of the Switch’s best games. Isn’t this the very definition of the surprise category?

Did they just forget about the game or is there extra context here I’m missing?