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Game Awards 2021 nominees revealed, led by Xbox and Bethesda

Game Awards
Game Awards (Image credit: Game Awards)

What you need to know

  • The 2021 Game Awards nominees have been announced.
  • Xbox and Bethesda saw the most nominations, with 20 awards across the two publishers of the Xbox first-party family.
  • Games like Deathloop, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart and Psychonauts 2 were the most-awarded.

Despite the many game delays of 2021, there's still a lot of different games that players have enjoyed over the last several months. The nominees for the 2021 Game Awards, hosted by Geoff Keighley, have been revealed, with Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda Softworks seeing 20 nominations combined, the most of any publishers at the event. Voting is live right now, so players can take part in determining which of the dozens of games get awarded.

There's several highlights, with games such as Deathloop and Psychonauts 2 being heavily awarded.

Here's the full list of nominees:

Game of the Year

  • Deathloop - Arkane Studios, Bethesda Softworks
  • It Takes Two - Hazelight, EA
  • Metroid Dread - MercurySteam, Nintendo
  • Psychonauts 2 - Double Fine, Xbox Game Studios
  • Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart - Insomniac Games, PlayStation Studios
  • Resident Evil Village - Capcom

Best Performance

  • Giancarlo Esposito - Far Cry 6
  • Jason E. Kelley - Deathloop
  • Ozioma Akagha - Deathloop
  • Erika Mori - Life is Strange: True Colors
  • Maggie Robertson - Resident Evil Village.

Best Action-Adventure

  • Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy - Eidos Montreal, Square Enix
  • Metroid Dread - MercurySteam, Nintendo
  • Psychonauts 2 - Double Fine, Xbox Game Studios
  • Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart - Insomniac Games, PlayStation Studios
  • Resident Evil Village - Capcom

Games for Impact

  • Before Your Eyes - Goodbyeworld Games, Skybound Games
  • Boyfriend Dungeon - Kitfox Games
  • Chicory: A Colorful Tale - Greg Lobanov, Finji
  • Life is Strange: True Colors - Deck Nine, Square Enix
  • No Longer Home - Humble Grove

Best Audio Design

  • Deathloop - Arkane Studios, Bethesda Softworks
  • Forza Horizon 5 - Playground Games, Xbox Game Studios
  • Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart - Insomniac Games, PlayStation Studios
  • Resident Evil Village - Capcom
  • Returnal - Housemarque, PlayStation Studios

Best Action Game

  • Back 4 Blood - Turtle Rock, WB Games
  • Chivalry 2 - Torn Banner Studios, Tripwire Interactive
  • Deathloop - Arkane Studios, Bethesda Softworks
  • Far Cry 6 - Ubisoft Toronto, Ubisoft
  • Returnal - Housemarque, PlayStation Studios

Best Art Direction

  • Deathloop - Arkane Studios, Bethesda Softworks
  • Kena: Bridge of Spirits - Ember Lab
  • Psychonauts 2 - Double Fine, Xbox Game Studios
  • Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart - Insomniac Games, PlayStation Studios
  • The Artful Escape - Beethoven & Dinosaur, Annapurna Interactive

Best Family Game

  • It Takes Two - Hazelight, EA
  • Mario Party Superstars - Nocube, Nintendo
  • New Pokémon Snap - Bandai Namco/The Pokémon Company, Nintendo
  • Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury - Nintendo
  • Warioware: Get it Together! - Intelligent Systems, Nintendo

Best Game Direction

  • Deathloop - Arkane Studios, Bethesda Softworks
  • It Takes Two - Hazelight, EA
  • Returnal - Housemarque, PlayStation Studios
  • Psychonauts 2 - Double Fine, Xbox Game Studios
  • Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart - Insomniac Games, PlayStation Studios

Best Multiplayer

  • Back 4 Blood - Turtle Rock, WB Games
  • It Takes Two - Hazelight, EA
  • Knockout City - Velant, EA
  • Monster Hunter Rise - Capcom
  • New World - Amazon Games
  • Valheim - Iron Gate Studios, Coffee Stain

Best Narrative

  • Deathloop - Arkane Studios, Bethesda Softworks
  • It Takes Two - Hazelight, EA
  • Life is Strange: True Colors - Deck Nine, Square Enix
  • Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy - Eidos Montreal, Square Enix
  • Psychonauts 2 - Double Fine, Xbox Game Studios

Best Ongoing

  • Apex Legends - Respawn Entertainment, EA
  • Call of Duty: Warzone - Infinity Ward/Raven Software, Activision
  • Final Fantasy 14 - Square Enix
  • Genshin Impact - Mihoyo
  • Fortnite - Epic Games

Best Role-Playing

  • Cyberpunk 2077 - CD Projekt Red
  • Monster Hunter Rise - Capcom
  • Scarlet Nexus - Bandai Namco
  • Shin Magami Tensei V - Atlus, Sega
  • Tales of Arise - Bandai Namco

Best Score and Music

  • Cyberpunk 2077 - P. T. Adamczyk, Marcin Przybyłowicz, Paul Leonard-Morgan
  • Deathloop - Tom Salta
  • Nier Replicant - Keichii Okabe
  • Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy - Richard Jacques
  • The Artful Escape - Johnny Galvatron, Josh Abrahams

Best Sim and Strategy

  • Age of Empires 4 - Relic Entertainment/World's Edge, Xbox Game Studios
  • Evil Genius 2 - Rebellion Developments
  • Humankind - Amplitude Studios, Sega
  • Inscryption - Daniel Mullins Games, Devolver Digital
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator - Asobo Studio, Xbox Studio Studios

Best Sports and Racing

  • F1 2021 - Codemasters, EA
  • FIFA 22 - EA Vancouver, EA
  • Forza Horizon 5 - Playground Games, Xbox Game Studios
  • Hot Wheels Unleahed - Milestone
  • Riders Republic - Ubisoft Annecy, Ubisoft

Best Mobile

  • Fantasian
  • Genshin Impact
  • League of Legends: Wild Rift
  • Marvel Future Revolution
  • Pokémon Unite

Innovation in Accessibility

  • Far Cry 6 - Ubisoft Toronto, Ubisoft
  • Forza Horizon 5 - Playground Games, Xbox Game Studios
  • Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy - Eidos Montreal, Square Enix
  • Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart - Insomniac Games, PlayStation Studios
  • The Vale: Shadow of the Crown - Creative Bytes Studios, Falling Squirrel

Most Anticipated Game

  • Elden Ring - FromSoftware, Bandai Namco
  • God of War: Ragnarok - Sony Santa Monica, PlayStation Studios
  • Horizon Forbidden West- Guerrilla Games, PlayStation Studios
  • Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Nintendo
  • Starfield - Bethesda Game Studios, Bethesda Softworks

Best VR and AR

  • Hitman 3 - IO Interactive
  • I Expect You to Die 2 - Schell Games
  • Lone Echo 2 - Ready at Dawn, Oculus Games
  • Resident Evil 4 - Armature Studios/Capcom, Oculus Studios
  • Sniper Elite 4 - Coatsink/Just Add Water, Rebellion Developments

Best Esports team

  • Atlanta Faze
  • DWG KIA
  • Natus Vincere
  • Team Spirit
  • Sentinels

Best Esports event

  • 2021 League of Legends Championship
  • PGL Major Stockholm 2021
  • PUBG Mobile Global Championship
  • The International 2021
  • Valorant Champions Tour: Stage 2 Masters

Content Creator of the Year

  • Dream
  • Fuslie
  • Gaules
  • Ibai
  • Grefg

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.

9 Comments
  • Xbox consoles can currently play 3 of the 6 GOTY nominees (4 with Deathloop obviously playable near the end of 2022)... Nintendo can play 2 of the 6 GOTY nominees... PlayStation can play 5 of the 6 GOTY nominees...
  • Forza Horizon 5 should have been nominated for game of the year. It shouldn't matter if it's a racing game or not. Hard for me to choose between Resident Evil Village and Psychonauts 2.
  • Agreed. This is about as much BS as Ori not getting in.
  • I really want It Takes Two to win. Also The Artful Escape would have to get art direction, that game is a visual and aural delight. Also I haven't played Metroid Dread yet, but I'm really looking forward to trying it as soon as I have a Switch.
  • Not that I watch this, but this show has lost all credibility to me. The timing of the cut off is ridiculous. Why not have the show later and have ALL the games in the year included? I have also heard on the RDX podcast that they voted already a while back. WTF is that? I loved Psychonauts 2 and when I finished it I thought that it was certainly GotY material. I don't think it will win, but it should be there to me. HTF does the top rated game of the year not even get a spot? I have only played a couple of hours of FH5, but I can even see how great it is. If it was between the two, FH5 should be there. Really it should be both.
  • What is the date range covered? Curious if Cyberpunk that came out less than a year ago, but in 2020, didn't make the any of the lists because of its problems, or because it's too old. Now that it's pretty much fixed, I think that game is amazing, and it always had incredible voice acting, graphics, and original music. Following the 1.3 patch, even on Xbox, which doesn't have the Next Gen update yet, the light reflectivity is so good, it looks like it has ray tracing. Graphically (for an RPG) and in terms of open world detail, I think it blows away every other game. Glad to see Starfield here for anticipated games. That's certainly top of my "most anticipated" list.
  • Argh, just after posting that, I saw that it is in the list "Best Score and Music." Sorry.
  • From what I have heard it is 11/19. This might be just this year and without looking at a calendar I have no idea what day that is right now. Apparently even Meta critic pointed out how ridiculous it was that their highest rated game that happened BEFORE the cut off wasn't put in there.
  • Forza 5 not making the nomination is complete BS. It's by far the most next gen looking game of this year. Geoff once again proving to the world how much of a Sony Pony Shill he is.