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Posted by staff (172 posts) -

Watch the Day One Deliberations here:

Game of the Year time is upon us, and the entire Giant Bomb crew locked themselves into the deliberations bunker for a solid week. We weren't allowed to leave until we had whittled down the best game of the year, but we also came to a number of other conclusions. Day One of our deliberations yields the following collection of winners.

2016's Old Game of the Year

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Webster's dictionary defines The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt as one of the greatest games that just barely snuck onto last year's Game of the Year list. It's a long game. Sometimes these things take time to marinate, to grow on you, to fully and truly understand. Well, we're glad to soften the blow a bit this year by recognizing its now fully-formed splendor.

Following up on Hearts of Stone from late 2015, 2016's Blood and Wine expansion makes The Witcher 3 as enticing a prospect as it ever was. Since its release, CD Projekt Red has added these two fantastic and fully realized campaigns to an already bursting game and they introduce some of its most memorable characters and locations. It's really hard to argue against the support and legs the game has had into this year. Even the interface tweaks and updates that came along with the expansions have refined what was already a great experience. I daresay, it might be the best time to be playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

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Runners-up: Super Mario Maker, Quake Live

Best Debut


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It should come as no surprise that a new Blizzard game turned out to be a big hit, but Overwatch impressed even when considering the studio's excellent reputation. Some worried that it would feel like a cast-off mode from the cancelled Titan or a Team Fortress clone, but that turned out to be far from the case. With a varied cast of memorable characters and no shortage of useful powers, Overwatch managed to come out of the gate swinging in 2016. It's still one of the most talked-about and played games in the industry months later, and we anticipate hearing about it for years to come.

Runners-up: Superhot, The Witness

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Hottest Mess

The Unmaking of Palmer Luckey

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Until recently, Palmer Luckey was, by all accounts, the poster child for the burgeoning VR industry. Why wouldn't he have been? A boy genius inventor who seemingly forged an exciting new technology by his own hand? A feel-good story of self-made success is the kind of thing PR and marketing people adore, especially when faced with the task of figuring out how to sell a risky, but potentially major new technology to skeptical consumers. VR has been such a distant-seeming technology for so long, but suddenly, here was this smiling, enthusiastic face, beaming with positivity about the viability of commercial VR, and doing so with a functioning, as-close-to-affordable-as-we've-ever-seen headset in-hand. It was a perfect pitch, so of course it turned out to be anything but.

How Luckey went from TIME magazine cover boy to manning a Facebook tower in Alaska is a strange, sordid tale. You could probably pinpoint the first major cracks in the facade all the way back in 2014, when Zenimax launched its lawsuit against Oculus, claiming that former Zenimax employee (and VR enthusiast) John Carmack had aided Oculus using proprietary information and technology. That lawsuit saw further clarification this year, and in so doing, attempted to poke major holes in Luckey's much-vaunted origin story.

Though that lawsuit is still awaiting its day in court, its claims cast doubts over the carefully built image Oculus had been pushing since the company's earliest days. Yet even those claims paled in comparison to an even bigger blow-up around Luckey's public-facing image in 2016. In September, the Daily Beast reported on Luckey's apparent role as a financier in a pro-Donald Trump shitposting group called Nimble America. This group, though not directly affiliated with the Trump campaign, had its roots in the grim corners of the web most thoroughly dedicated to electing Trump via the "magic" of racist Pepes and white nationalism. Said "meme magic" was something Luckey was quoted as saying "sounded like a jolly good time," until suddenly it very much wasn't.

Luckey attempted to backpedal, but Daily Beast's Gideon Resnick had receipts in the form of emails he exchanged with Luckey, where the Oculus founder stated in plain terms that he was the anonymous financier members of the group had been pitching to supporters on Reddit. Eventually, Luckey offered a tepid apology built around the flimsy excuse that he was actually voting for Gary Johnson, as if that were ever the point.

To be clear: who Palmer Luckey voted for is not, and has not ever been the point. Around 20 percent of Americans voted for Donald Trump, and it stands to reason some of those people work in the video game industry. By itself, simply voting for Trump does not a "Hottest Mess" make. What does make for a scalding hot mess is the complete unmaking of a man's image over the course of a year, through a combination of legal issues, ill-conceived statements, and an at least tangential association with (and documented financial support of) some of the most mortifying elements of 2016's Grand Guignol political theater.

Though Luckey hasn't been heard from in the months since his sort-of apology, it seems likely that he isn't done with Oculus. It's hard to know if we'll ever see him as the face of the company again, but given that Oculus is on record saying he's still employed, it's plausible that his fingerprints will continue to exist on whatever Oculus does going forward. How that will sit with potential developers for Oculus remains to be seen, especially in the wake of some devs' stated opposition to working with Oculus so long as Luckey maintains a role there.

Regardless of how it all ends up, Luckey's image is forever changed by what took place in 2016, and while the industry certainly saw its share of hot messes this year, none were as severe, as all-encompassing, as the various events that pushed VR's golden boy completely out of the spotlight.

Runners-up:No Man's Sky, Street Fighter V

Rez Infinite Presents Best Styyyyyyle


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After disqualifying Rez Infinite due to the vast majority of that game coming from a year other than this one, this category became a much cleaner discussion... even if we ended up renaming the category to get there. Superhot's mix of stark white areas and its eerie, glowing ASCII terminal makes the whole game work. It adds a cold and sinister air to the experience that ends up being positively vital as you slowly punch, throw, and shoot your way to its conclusion. Without that style, Superhot would be a really neat tech demo and little else. With everything all lined up like this, Superhot ends up coming off as one of the better games released in all of 2016.

Runners-up: Darkest Dungeon, Doom

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#1 Edited by Cykke (99 posts) -



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#2 Posted by rmanthorp (4590 posts) -

It's time for Video Games! Please be nice about the whole Lucky thing folks - it's the holidays!

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#3 Posted by clain4672 (36 posts) -

I'm tempted to watch palmer luckey get hottest mess while wearing a vive

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#4 Posted by DurMan667 (108 posts) -


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#5 Posted by gschmidl (123 posts) -

Witcher 3 wins something, GB redeemed ;)

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#6 Posted by DharmaBum (1747 posts) -

I think Rez would approve of SUPERHOT winning and its styyyle.

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#7 Posted by ollieg_94 (188 posts) -

The Google doc being screen captured makes me far happier then it should.

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#8 Posted by zaldar (1127 posts) -

Again the group lucky supported didn't have any racist remarks made. Yes they brought memes out of the web and the part of reddit they came from had some other parts that were racist but the group itself he supported monetarily I have not seen convincing evidence they considered one race naturally superior to another (which is the definition of racism - though those who think simply being white means you are racist want to change that definition) to big to jail - the only billboard the group ever put up certainly isn't racist.

Also way more than 20% of the votes cast were cast for trump - yes he didn't win the popular vote but he did win acting like he didn't have enough support to do so doesn't change that fact. I get you all hate him considering him evil etc. but try to use real facts ok?

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#9 Edited by ShadowSwordmaster (1119 posts) -

Let the games begin.

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#10 Posted by BillyMaysRIP (680 posts) -

No Man's Sky not winning the Hottest Mess award to Palmer Luckey makes me chuckle. Even if it's a race to the bottom, NMS can't seem to get a break...

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#11 Edited by AnkhWeasel (4 posts) -

It's the most styyyyylish shooter I've played in years!

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#12 Posted by Nephrahim (1245 posts) -

Palmer over no man's sky? Come on giant bomb, why not just say trump and not pretend. Palmer is a non story compared to nms for the average gamer.

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#13 Posted by MocBucket62 (2402 posts) -

Yay! Its that time of the year for GB GOTY deliberations!

I must have missed something, but when did GB play Sonic All Stars Racing Transformed that warranted the game a spot on best old game old 2016?

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#14 Edited by MC68 (17 posts) -

@zaldar: I think the 20 odd percent might be pretty accurate considering about 50% of eligible voters didn't vote at all.

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#15 Posted by firedguy33 (1 posts) -

No Man's Sky should've been the hottest mess. It was hilarious and entertaining to see the drama around the game and its developers. The drama was more entertaining than the game.

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#16 Posted by The_Nubster (3741 posts) -

I actively dislike Superhot. $35 CAD for an hour and a half of game, most of which was spent farting around a not-very-interesting meta, and then ending with what basically amounted to getting on its knees and begging, dear God, please, market our game for us with this memey phrase! Please say it over and over again so we don't have to do it ourselves! Look at this commentary we're making about video gamism!

I cannot deny that it has a damn fine look, though. Stylish as all get-out.

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#17 Posted by ArbitraryWater (15438 posts) -

I'll be interested in hearing how the "Hottest Mess" discussion goes this year. Boy No Man's Sky and Street Fighter V, you really caught a break this year. I was sure one of those two was going to win, but I can accept Palmer Luckey getting forcefully yanked into Facebook's dark underground bunker after financially supporting "dank memes."

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#18 Posted by Colonel_Pockets (1285 posts) -

I think Persona 5 has best style won for next year!

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#19 Edited by RonnieBarzel (469 posts) -

@mc68 said:

@zaldar: I think the 20 odd percent might be pretty accurate considering about 50% of eligible voters didn't vote at all.

According to a story on CNN regarding turnout, the 126 million votes represent 55 percent of the voting age population in the U.S., which equates to a total voting age population of about 229 million.

If Wikipedia is correct, or at least in the ballpark, Trump received 63 million votes, which is about 27 percent of the total voting age population. Considering the Giant Bomb crew may have been speaking without benefit of research, the "around 20 percent" is pretty damn close.

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#20 Posted by AlexW00d (7569 posts) -

For whom is Overwatch a debut? Cause it certainly isn't Blizzard.

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#22 Posted by Yarbles (59 posts) -

The gang are going to talk this year up but it’s been a crushing disappointment.

The consoles should have been hitting their 3-year stride in terms of game quality but didn’t (the games sales numbers reflected this) and the much hyped VR turned into a shovelware wet fart.

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#24 Edited by amwbox (27 posts) -

@zaldar: They didn't say 20% of votes cast, they said 20% of Americans. Trump only lost the vote by about 3 million votes, lol.

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#25 Posted by jerseyscum (1285 posts) -


I figured Mighty Number 9 would take the Hottest Mess award. But Luckey financing the abject bullshit that your racist uncle/aunt spews every fucking holiday season is one hell of a hot mess.

If he just cut a check to the Donald Trump campaign, that would have been absolutely fine. Getting busted and then fucking lying about bankrolling sketchy alt-right trolling organizations is beyond the pale.

It's one hell of a downfall.

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#26 Posted by President_Barackbar (3633 posts) -
@alexw00d said:

For whom is Overwatch a debut? Cause it certainly isn't Blizzard.

I believe the idea is that it's Blizzard's first shooter, so its their debut in the genre.

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#28 Posted by bestlookingman (17 posts) -

Sad that Palmer luckey takes it over that steaming pile that was no man's sky. Trump.

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#29 Posted by Seitosa (35 posts) -

@wat2016: I see these comments all the time and frankly they mystify me. The staff are people that exist outside of a vacuum, not some video games only sphere, so of course they're going to have political leanings. What I really read when I see comments like this are "I disagree with their political stance, therefore they should not discuss it because it offends my sensibilities." This is a personality driven site, and as such, the people and who they are is a vitally important element to that.

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#31 Posted by ripelivejam (12861 posts) -
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#32 Posted by ripelivejam (12861 posts) -


(i should get this damn game already)

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#33 Edited by Dastardry (106 posts) -

@seitosa: But this is a Game of the Year list? SF's a game, NMS is a game. VR guy who did something that's not related to video games at all?

Edit: It was also not nearly as much in the news as the months of No Man's Sky updates.

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#34 Posted by ripelivejam (12861 posts) -

@dastardry: it impacted a pretty important part of the videogame industry right now.

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#35 Edited by Dastardry (106 posts) -

@ripelivejam: If you're actually going to boycott an entire company because of one guy you might as well start growing and raising your own food and making your own clothes because I'm sure there's at least one guy in all companies on Earth that has done something dumb or has views that you don't agree with.

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#36 Edited by dovah (705 posts) -

I agree that Palmer went from the genius whiz kid on the cover of the magazine to the bottom of the trash heap. Interested to see how these lawsuits proceed.

I enjoyed No Mans Sky. Agree with Swery65.

My point of view: do they need negative awards? Not sure what it benefits. But they do their own thing asalways with categories and I support them.

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#38 Posted by VincentVendetta (512 posts) -

The people bitching about No Man's Sky need to follow Jeff Minter on Twitter. That's the best way to enjoy No Man's Sky!

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#39 Edited by Qrowdyy (360 posts) -

@zaldar: The population US is 318 million. The number of people who voted in the 2016 election is approximately 130 million. Trump got 63 million of those votes rounding up. 63 divided by 318 = 0.198. AKA 20 % of Americans voted for Trump.

Obviously not everyone out of those 318 million are eligible to vote. But you can see where GB got these numbers right?

I would suggest reading more carefully before you post angry.

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#41 Posted by GiantLennonx_x (386 posts) -

@linkxlinkotp: The one thing I'll say, is that them giving the hottest mess to to lucky has less to do with trump (they actually say in the podcast that they don't care who he voted for or why) and more to do with his entire arc as the face of vr and a company and how that got obliterated in such a short time frame. Also that the way how all the information came out about how luckey lied about donating money to an Internet company that has had some pretty messed up stuff in the things they post. But I never really take much stock in these GOTY conversations anyway. Just my two cents ^_^

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#43 Edited by ripelivejam (12861 posts) -

@dastardry: if you're indicating that i intend to boycott occulus over it, i did not say that; not that it matters anyway. what i DID say is it's going to affect the image of a prominent company involved heavily in gaming in a negative way, which i believe is going to have consequences any way you cut it. especially considering this is a tech that is just now starting to take off. couldn't have happened at a worse time. i think it's going to have quite a bigger effect than one hyped game not delivering on promises. we shall see, i suppose.

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#44 Posted by DeadPanJazMan (381 posts) -

This whole "la la la, not listening, don't talk about politics to meeee" attitude of apathy that a lot of people show; is a big part of why we find ourselves in this global political situation IMO.

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#45 Posted by neokef (113 posts) -

Hottest Mess was SAVAGE

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#46 Posted by EvilAshe (114 posts) -

@todomachi: If only there was some sort of a recording of them discussing why they made their choices...

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#47 Edited by sammo21 (5876 posts) -

The Witcher 3 finally got props. Just took a whole other year and a category that doesn't really matter :D

Also, the Lucky Palmer stuff got HYPERBOLIC AS HELL! Seriously, its getting into "Fake News" territory with how it is being discussed. And here sites like Kotaku and Gizmodo want to say, "WHY IS PALMER LUCKY NOT SHOWING UP?!?!" Well, maybe because you guys spent months calling him a white supremacist and he doesn't want your bs getting in the way of Oculus coverage?

Also, I just realized that we won't really get any Destiny talk this year...which is amazing. But we actually will probably have Destiny 2 talk next year ><

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#48 Edited by todomachi (54 posts) -

@evilashe: Do they show proof of him being a white nationalist?

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#49 Edited by Qrowdyy (360 posts) -

I feel like the Palmer Luckey debacle is a bigger thing for game industry people than it is for gamers, and the giant bomb staff are industry people.

I don't know that any of the Giant Bomb staff are big No Man's Sky apologists, but I know that Alex genuinely enjoys that game.So having a dissenting voice in the room might definitely have swayed that discussion.

Or maybe No Man's Sky felt like the obvious, no brainer, choice and they didn't want to go for low hanging fruit.

In any case a garbage PR strategy for a garbage game(imo), leading to a months long toxic overreaction from the internet definitely wins it in my book.

In contrast the Palmer thing seemed like news for a week at most.

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#50 Posted by MindBullet (684 posts) -

Kinda funny that Witcher 3 got on there despite seemingly nobody on staff playing it? Or even really liking it?