Steam Awards 2023: Nominations Unveiled

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The Ongoing Legacy of Red Dead Redemption 2: A Peculiar Journey Through the Steam Awards

In the expansive realm of gaming, where titles rise and fall, Red Dead Redemption 2 has stood the test of time. The game, despite not receiving an update since 2020, continues to be tended to by its devoted development team. It's akin to parenting a creative offspring long after its debut, a testament to the dedication of the developers. This enduring commitment is a rarity, especially when compared to more prominently supported games like those in the Grand Theft Auto series or even Red Dead Redemption's predecessor. The question arises – should a game like Red Dead Redemption 2, with its limited recent updates, be a contender for gaming awards in 2023?
Steam Awards 2023 banner with diverse game nominations and community perspectives.
Image credit: Steam

Enter the Steam Awards, a platform that ostensibly embodies the spirit of democracy in gaming. Users nominate their favorite games, and a subsequent vote on the shortlisted nominees determines the winners. In theory, this democratic process should reflect the gaming community's diverse tastes. However, the nominations for 2023 present a curious collection that leaves one questioning the criteria.

Red Dead Redemption 2, a game not significantly updated since 2020, finds itself in the Game of the Year category. This nomination raises eyebrows, given its relatively modest post-launch support compared to other contenders like the GTA games or even its predecessor. It sparks a broader inquiry into the Steam Awards' selection process and the alignment of nominees with the gaming community's sentiments.

As we delve into the nominations, anomalies emerge. Categories like Outstanding Visual Style feature games like Atomic Heart and High on Life, alongside Starfield, nominated for Most Innovative Gameplay. Love is All Around, an FMV dating sim, surprisingly contends for Outstanding Story-Rich Game. Overwatch 2 is even labeled as one of the "Best Games You Suck At," an award designated for games that reward persistence and are not for the faint-hearted. The diversity in nominations prompts contemplation on whether these choices genuinely mirror the gaming community's preferences or if the process requires a rethink.

While it's expected that general users might vote for recognizable games or champion their favorites irrespective of category definitions, the Steam Awards nominations seem notably eclectic and somewhat out of sync with broader industry recognitions. The nominations feel scattered, lacking the coherence found in other gaming award ceremonies. Although acknowledging the effort Valve puts into the presentation with stunning graphics, animated stickers, and a user-friendly voting interface, the question lingers – is it time to reevaluate the nomination process?

The skepticism isn't about discrediting individual game achievements or belittling the user's voice in the process. Instead, it raises the question of whether the Steam Awards, as currently structured, truly encapsulate the collective sentiment of the gaming community. The diversity in nominations might be seen as a celebration of individual preferences, but it also risks diluting the significance of the awards and making them seem arbitrary.

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As the voting period concludes, anticipation mounts for the announcement of winners. The full list of nominations across diverse categories is as follows:

Game of the Year

1. FC24
2. Lethal Company
3. Resident Evil 4
4. Baldur's Gate 3
5. Hogwarts Legacy

VR Game of the Year

1. Ghosts of Tabor
2. F1 23
3. Gorilla Tag
4. I Expect You To Die 3: Cog in the Machine
5. Labyrinthine

Labor of Love

1. Rust
2. Deep Rock Galactic
3. Dota 2
4. Red Dead Redemption 2
5. Apex Legends

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Best Game on Steam Deck

1. Diablo 4
2. Dredge
3. Brotato
4. Hogwarts Legacy
5. The Outlast Trials

Better With Friends

1. Sons of the Forest
2. Sunkenland
3. Warhammer 40,000: Darktide
4. Lethal Company
5. Party Animals

Outstanding Visual Style

1. Cocoon
2. Darkest Dungeon 2
3. Inward
4. Atomic Heart
5. High on Life

Most Innovative Gameplay

1. Your Only Move is Hustle
2. Starfield
3. Shadows of Doubt
4. Contraband Police
5. Remnant 2

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Best Game You Suck At

1. Lords of the Fallen
2. FC 24
3. Sifu
4. Street Fighter 6
5. Overwatch 2

Best Soundtrack

1. Hi-Fi Rush
2. The Last of Us Part 1
3. Chants of Senaar
4. Pizza Tower
5. Persona 5 Tactica

Outstanding Story-Rich Game

1. Love is All Around
2. Resident Evil 4
3. Baldur's Gate 3
4. Lies of P
5. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

Sit Back and Relax

1. Cities Skylines 2
2. Coral Island
3. Dave the Diver
4. Train Sim World 4
5. Potion Craft

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The varied selection across these categories highlights the eclectic nature of the Steam Awards nominations, leaving room for debate about their alignment with industry standards and player expectations. While the

winners are yet to be revealed, the diversity in these nominations opens up discussions on the evolving landscape of gaming awards and the role of community voices in shaping the narrative of excellence in the industry.

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