'The Game Awards' snub of Forza Horizon 5 is a disservice to the entire game industry (Update)

The Games Awards Geoff Keighley
The Games Awards Geoff Keighley (Image credit: The Game Awards via Thumbsticks.com)

The Game Awards

Source: The Game Awards (Image credit: Source: The Game Awards)

Update Nov 17, 2021 I received some additional information since posting this which adds clarity and context as to why Forza didn't make the grade. I've included it at the bottom of this article.

The Game Awards has increasingly positioned itself as the de facto awards show for the gaming industry, turning itself into something of a mini winter E3 in the process. It's certainly starting to look that way, as more and more celebrities get involved, although the show itself for many has become a game news show, with its host and creator Geoff Keighley attracting more and more marketing eyeballs to the proceeds.

How exactly are the awards chosen, though? Well, The Game Awards uses a "jury" panel consisting of media influencers and outlets (including some of our colleagues at GamesRadar and PC Gamer, no less), who vote on the nominees for the top accolades, they also cast votes for who actually wins the awards, with a mere 10% of the vote weight going to the public, you know, the people who actually play and buy the games en masse.

If I wasn't questioning The Game Awards' candidacy for becoming The Oscars of the gaming industry before, I certainly am now, after seeing them snub the top-rated game of 2021: Forza Horizon 5.

Snubbing Forza Horizon 5 is a mistake

Forza Horizon 5 Store Screenshot

Source: Xbox Game Studios (Image credit: Source: Xbox Game Studios)

The Game Awards errs bias towards cinematic action games, snubbing sports games, mobile games, and well, practically anything that doesn't fit into a very specific Hollywood-shaped hole. There are rare occasions where titles rise up that can break free of this close-minded thinking, such as Overwatch, but it's unusual to see a game nominated, let alone awarded, when there isn't a big-budget cinematic story interwoven with the gameplay. This mentality betrays the diversity that gaming represents.

If there was ever a year where a racing game deserved to be nominated, 2021 was exactly it.

Forza Horizon 5 might not be a cinematic tear-jerker of a game, but it's no less worthy of being nominated. This is a game that currently enjoys a position at the top of 2021's Metacritic metascore, which averages out scores from hundreds of different review sites and YouTubers. This is a game that will probably see more players than all of the current nominations combined over the course of their lifetimes. This is a game that will touch more lives and create more friendships and relationships than all of the current nominees and is also arguably the most technically impressive game on the docket.

You might be wondering if Forza Horizon 5 is ineligible for awards based on its launch date, but alas no, since Forza Horizon 5 has found itself into many other categories, including top gongs for accessibility features and audio.

Forza is a franchise that wins top prize for racing year in, year out. Does this mean games in the subcategories are ineligible for the top prize? Will we ever see roguelikes such as Returnal hit the top spot? Will strategy games like Age of Empires ever be given a fair analysis?

None of this is to suggest the current nominees don't deserve it, but if there was ever a year where The Game Awards could prove it wasn't specifically looking for Hollywood-styled games for its top prize, 2021 was exactly it.

What makes an award-worthy game?

Source: The Game Awards (Image credit: Source: The Game Awards)

I often wonder if journalists motion bias towards cinematic games out of some misplaced desire for their profession to be seen as respectable as movie critics might be. That's not going to be the case until the establishment generation is replaced with gamers. No amount of playing to their rules and pandering to the Oscar-shaped box will change how gaming is viewed from a respectability perspective. Games are supposed to be fun, above all else.

To snub Forza Horizon 5 isn't just a snub for Playground Games, it's a snub of the creativity of the entire industry.

Why should Forza Horizon 5 be discredited for not having a heavy story-driven campaign? The entire point of a video game is that they can be more than movies. They can be more interactive. They can shift modalities and transcend our ideas of what entertainment is. This snub is symbolic of a game journalist's general inability to think outside of the narrow perspective of a movie critic when it comes to game analysis.

Video games are more than the stories they tell. They represent the cutting-edge intersection of culture, art, and technology. Few games represent this as impressively, as effortlessly as Forza Horizon 5, which showcases Mexico with utterly stunning visuals, laser-scanned cars, cloud-powered features. A complete package, with full cross-platform mass-multiplayer gameplay, regardless of whether you're playing on a phone, on a console, or on a PC.

To snub Forza Horizon 5 isn't just a snub for Playground Games, it's a snub of the ingenuity of the entire industry. Game journalists have unwittingly sat up and said, "Unless your games fit this specific criterion of design, we aren't going to award you," and that amounts to a dereliction of duty.

The Game Awards 'jury' failed

With Forza Horizon 5 not only the most awarded game of 2021, but also played by more gamers than any of the nominees, suggests to me that The Game Awards are hostile to the realities of game design, and want to ensure that diversity continues only along biases they ordain.

For The Game Awards to give such a heavy 90% voting weight to games journalists and media outlets is, in my view, laughable, and isn't reflective of the industry at large. Even if I'm wrong in my assumption that the jury panel is pandering to a specific subset of games, more diversity and actual expertise in the vote tallying certainly couldn't hurt the award's credibility. Game developers should be allowed to be involved in the nomination process somehow too, as they peer-review their colleague's work with more expertise than the vast majority of game journalists on the jury panel. Gamers should also have at least an equal voting weight with journalists since it is ultimately gamers who vote with their wallets on this stuff.

The Game Awards could have been a legitimate source of accolades for an industry that desperately deserves it, but its current methodology for nomination represents a huge failure towards the industry it represents.

Geoff Keighley put out a tweet this week which asked viewers to give feedback on the nominations with a conciliatory "we also have the Player's Choice award to vote on coming up!" "Player's Choice" should be the voice that matters more than establishment journalists who struggle to celebrate a video game if it isn't trying hard enough to be a movie.

Update: Nov 17, 2021

Since posting this article, I received a flurry of information from members of The Game Awards jury, as well as game developers themselves, which adds some important additional context as to why Forza specifically didn't make the grade this year.

Geoff Keighley has stated on Twitter that Forza Horizon 5 was indeed eligible for this year's awards, with the cut-off date being set for Nov. 19. However, game journalists were told they had to submit their picks by Nov. 4. Forza Horizon 5's early access period didn't begin until Nov. 5, which calls into question just how much eligibility it had in real terms.

In Keighley's defense, they do include additional information in the email pack to jury members, informing them that ballots can be altered up until Nov. 11. However, I was told that this information isn't highlighted clearly enough, and not enough time was given in general.

My take? I get it, it's tough to build award shows, to line up timings, review embargos, and all of that, on top of the existing busy Q4 period. That just accentuates my point that if jury members didn't have enough time to properly assess a game that is eligible in 2021 but won't be eligible in 2022, it calls into question the general fairness of the award process.

Veteran game developers should also be on the panel to offer their insight and perspective, which often diverges wildly from games press, perhaps partially due to how secretive the industry can be. I heard today from a musician who noted that their gaming OST work had enjoyed more streaming plays across streaming sites than all the other nominations from that year combined. I also heard that publishers' marketing departments who are familiar with the process go to extra lengths to provide access as early as possible before the ballot cut-off date to increase their chances of being of being considered.

I think, ultimately, everybody wants The Game Awards to be as good as it can be, if we have all collectively decided it is the de facto game award show. By not including game devs in the jury, by not giving enough breathing space to the games themselves, it's hard to understand how they could be considered completely fair.

Should they even be fair? Does anyone really care that much? I've never watched the Oscars personally, but hey, it all depends on what your expectations are for these types of events. It is completely my opinion that the weight of scrutiny over the years seems to favor cinematic action games, but maybe I'm taking it all a bit too seriously, and I'm not a game dev. It's like I said above, game devs of all stripes do deserve to be celebrated in a big way, but a big fair way, where the weight of opinion doesn't fall on a relatively few number of overworked, pressed-for-time game journalists who probably haven't even played most of the games that have been nominated this year. It falls on a wider conversation about the constraints of game criticism and the relationships between press and marketing in general, but I digress.

I appreciate what Keighley and his team seem to be trying to bring to the games industry, and I think most of us here do too. But, Forza seems to have been screwed by the process here. This isn't about platform wars as some love to suggest because oh no we are Windows Central after all. This could've happened to Gran Turismo, or Super Smash Bros, or any other game that you think deserved the top celebration. Keighley has shown himself to be willing to evolve The Game Awards, though, so I suspect things may change again next year.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • While it's pretty sad to see, it's the same for any commercial awards. The Oscars are another prime example of where the voting system isn't quite rigged, but you know it's not in line with the public views (sometimes in a literally sense) .
    I've played Forza Horizon 5, and I can't say for sure because I have a bias view of being a huge fan of the Forza Horizon series so far... but to snub the game at what is seemingly the peak of the series, that's shameful.
  • I lost respect a long time ago, Forza Horizon 5 not being nominated for GOTY is just another example and it's not even the worst this year, you have CP2077 nominated for best RPG and have Dream, a known cheater in speed running nominated for best content creator. I even remember that insanity that was Overwatch winning over Uncharted 4, Inside and Doom. You also have weird things like Persona 5 Royal being nominated in 2020 for best RPG despite being an extended port of an already released game (one of the best games ever made mind you), however what's weirder is how they could consider it for best RPG, but couldn't for best music and GOTY, like who's making these lists? Also want to remember that Among Us won best MP game and best mobile game and also that the game came out in 2018. At this point I really don't care about the game awards and I don't think they can do alot to fix it, you can't trust game's media and you can't also trust gamers. Another thing to point out is how can game awards even work? How many in the game's media and gamers themselves have played every game nominated in a category? For example how many people played Deathloop, it takes two, Metroid Dread, Psychonauts 2, Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart and Resident Evil VIII? I bet very little and with that, then how can they even vote? With movies things are different because they are a passive media and way shorter then games, so it's feasible for people to watch them, but with games you are talking sometimes games that take hundreds of hours, sometimes you have to dedicate a month to finish a single game, this just can't work.
  • Who gives a ****. I never watched any awards show there all bs. All that matters are
    viewers and buyers ratings. Aka audience score ratings
    Professional reviewers.
    Award shows.
    Don't mean @#$&.
  • Yeah, I thought it was well known that this guy is a hardcore Playstation shill. Year after year he confirms it with his gross bias towards PS titles. This only confirms it. Screw this marketing event disguised as awards.
  • This is funny take, when this year Xbox studios has most nominations. Y'all take lack of Forza personally, but reality is - sport and racing games don't ever get much attention during big awards shows. No one is robbing your favourite brand lol.
  • Sorry for the politics of this statement. But I don't know how else to say it. Liberals in the press and Hollywood destroy everything they touch. It is what they do.
  • Liberals bring you every video game and console. So they've got that going for them...
  • Oh, so everybody making games have exactly the same ideology and political leaning? Wow.
  • LOL overreact much?
  • Overreact? You said every game is made by liberals.
  • And because of modern liberalism, gaming isn't good as it was in past generations. It's not all bad, though it's way too politicized now days.
  • I’d say they’re not liberals at all. What passes for „liberalism” today in America (and the increasingly Americanized world) is actually not liberal at all, it’s an authoritarian corporate ideology. I’ve seen it described as a „successor ideology” since it basically replaced liberalism.
  • Here we go again, just get over it and realize that other people have different viewpoints than you, and that is okay.
  • Or maybe devs/producers should leave politics out of gaming and just create quality products that don't pander to one political ideology? I remember the days when personal politics were never a thing in gaming and when gaming was fund, creative and edgy with no backlash from gamers or critics.
    Gaming has always been liberal (which is fine), however now it is just on the nose, which suck the creativity out of what should be excelling in creativity.
  • Replace "gaming" with literally any other medium (movies, books, etc), and think about how that sounds. "Fun, not politics" - sure, absolutely you can only consume that kind of media if that's to your tastes, but let's not keep entertainment in a little box and tell others what it's *supposed* to be about.
  • I think most people who say „keep politics out of …” actually just mean political tribalism and preachiness. So just badly done politics. When a fictional story incorporates politics skillfully, it adds more depth and encourages people to think, and it might not be recognizable as „politics” at all. If it’s immediately recognizable as politics, then it probably just tells people what they should think, instead of encouraging them to think.
  • If something is "immediately recognisable as politics" then it is telling you what THEY think, not what you should. This idea of being "preached to" is simply crying victim. Again, the same with any other medium, going back hundreds of years now.
  • My point is that there are skillful ways to incorporate politics in a story. They are thought provoking, and add depth. There are also badly done ways to incorporate politics in a story. They don’t encourage any kind of thinking, and usually just reflect the author’s political tribalism. And when people say that they „don’t want politics” in something, they typically just mean the latter.
  • I know what your point is, and mine is that the level of "finesse" is entirely uncorrelated with the reception it receives for being political. It may be your stance but the kickback against politics in games is rarely a cry for "put politics in games more skillfully."
  • Maybe it’s just a matter of perception, but personally when I saw anything criticized as “too political”, it was always “political” in the way that clearly reflected the author’s political tribalism, not “political” in the sense that gives depth and makes something thought provoking. Something that touches political topics in a way that doesn’t encourage tribalism rarely gets accused of being “too political”.
  • A lot of people claim that there are politics in games when there simply aren't on many occasions and it's actually those who are complaining who are bringing their politics into the discussion. For instance, I've heard people complaining about the fact that the protagonist in one of the Dishonored games (can't recall whether it's the second or third) is gay for no reason and that is the devs bringing politics into the game. There is obviously a political discussion about representation these days but gay people exist in real life and they don't need a reason, so why should the same thing happening in a game be a problem? The complaint was that she reminisced about a past relationship and it was with a woman and that fact didn't actually have any bearing on the story. Why should it have to? Would her having had a straight relationship have had any bearing on the story? Conservatives like to talk about others having an agenda while completely ignoring their own, i.e. keep everything that doesn't fit their narrow definition of normal from being portrayed as normal. Something like a gay character existing in a game shouldn't be considered political and the fault lies with those who think it is. Those who complain that their enjoyment of a game is spoilt by this sort of thing are often the same people who will say that anyone who has a problem with every protagonist being a white man should just get over it. I suggest they take their own advice. Having said all that, this is just one example of where the argument about politics in games fails. That doesn't necessarily mean that it fails in every case. There are plenty of games available these days though, so maybe just avoid the ones that you don't like for whatever reason, including that you don't like their politics. A game dev can put whatever they want in their games. You get to vote with your wallet for those you like.
  • Wow, that was very well said and such a valid point. I don't understand why people think they can dictate people's art to them or why trying to emulate life is "pushing an agenda".
  • Bravo! This is probably one of the best statements on this issue I have ever read. I'm sick and tired of people thinking that basic human rights are political. The right MADE them political due to everything you stated. I can't stand people who say "politics ruined games today". No, they actually made them more believable and might educate you on how these cultures REALLY are rather than in the eyes of a racist. Thankfully these idiots are a minority as these "political games" end up being massive sellers and sadly, internet comments put a spotlight on this small group and it artificially makes them look like the majority.
  • To be fair, by specifically not including politics in gaming, then they are still taking a stance on politics. Also, there has never been a point when personal politics haven't been in gaming except for the days of Pong and Space Invaders.
  • Or maybe sit this one out?
  • Oh good lord. How moronic.
  • TGA lost credibility for me a long time ago. Is good to see an article talking about how biased they are.
    I started to not care about who wins the award and now just get happy that a respective game actually got on the list. I've already noticed that most of the games that are on the lists are these big AAA Action-Adventure Open World games, most of them with a cinematic story. Overwatch winning over Doom and Titanfall 2. Funny that Overwatch is an exception to the "AAA Action-Adventure Open World" that I said, but still I think it was unfair to win over the others.
    TLOU 2 winning Best Game Direction even though the game had crunch.
    Hades winning Best Action Game over Doom Eternal.
    Also, is Fortnite going to appear every single year for Best Ongoing Game? If is that so, where is Halo: MCC? The game changed a LOT for the better throughout the years. You can say that is because Halo: MCC is just a collection of games, but we already had weird nominees like Persona 5 Royale and Monster Hunter World Iceborne, which are just extended ports, and Among Us winning Best MP on 2020 even though it launched on 2018. I just watch because I like watching events and the announcements, don't really care about who wins the awards.
  • What do you think "Best Game Direction" means? You've just listed a bunch of ways an awards ceremony diverged from your personal tastes, that's always going to happen.
  • This is one of the funniest "nerdrage" reads I ever had. Not only does the author hates the difference between critic's choices and popularity polls, to a degree he's questioning the validity of the former, but the fact that he's trying to discredit the entire industry because his favourite (coincidentally windows machine exclusive) game isn't nominated, results in one of the pettiest and most misguided fanboy rants ever. There's plenty of awards given by popularity and players alone, yet the fact that the Game Awards isn't one, is causing the author so much grief, he's spinning and its quite frankly embarassingly funny. He even complains about "movie games". This is 100% comedy gold. Read this article in Donald Trump's voice and it becomes even better.
  • "... suggests to me that The Game Awards are hostile to the realities of game design, and want to ensure that diversity continues only along biases they ordain." I think this is some kind of a satire?
  • laughin that you signed up just to make this comment. who's nerdraging here again? ty for the engagement tho xoxoxox
  • Hahaha, got'em good! Don't let generic fools like this troll get to you Jez. I love the honesty of your articles and opinion pieces, this is how all journalism should be. Total kudos to you for calling out The Game Awards as you see it, I agree with every word (without any kind of stupid pseudo-political bullshit like the above poster). I feel the problem with TGA is they want to be seen as objective and they pull something like this every year regardless. An easy solution would be if either:
    - there wouldn't be a GOTY award (there are genre categories after all AND ones for direction and narrative, so gatekeeping Forza triply makes no sense) or
    - all jury members need to play all GOTY candidates (maybe up to 15 or so) for at least 3 hours. These awards don't make a lot of sense either. Which one do you think the people will vote for who would've voted Returnal if it was on the list? Ratchet and Clank, all of them, no doubt. So if all this is is a popularity contest in the end, why "award" anything? Take a look at Metacritic or the sales charts and boom -- there are your awards.
  • They're right though Jez, your petty defensive comment doesn't help Your article is way OTT mate, you should probably sleep on it next time.
  • That's your opinion, some of us actually agree with him.
  • Of course people will agree with the stance of having more audience representation, but if it was a popularity contest then we might as well just rank them by sales figures and/or aggregate user review scores and be done with it. There will always be bias in awards ceremonies, and "at least half should be user voted" doesn't remove that. There are other award shows that are user-voted, so audiences can pivot to those if they like.
  • Yeah, I've read user reviews online, I would not in a million years trust the opinion of the general public on what is good or not.
  • I was actually referring to agreeing with Jez and the premise of the article. Of course I don't care what is popular or I would watch the Kardashians. 😜
  • But that's exactly the point being made here. Agreeing with Jez means putting more of the vote over to the public audience, which creates greater bias towards better selling or multiplatform games (literally as TGA put it).
  • Yes, but it wasn't a majority say. It was equal to. I don't know the right way to do it. I do think however the rules need to be solidified and actually mean something. Although I guess I see the flaw in sales. I still don't understand CoD every freaking year.
  • I think "at least half" was the wording. It's easy to be up in arms when awards go against popular vote, but else we'd have the MCU dominating the oscars. The rules aren't meaningless, but there is no science to it. Any configuration has issues. Forza got missed and everyone is looking for some conspiracy against racers or Xbox or both, but sometimes it's just bad timing.
  • Que merda de comentário, a indústria gamer é a minha caceta. Para de mamar jornalista e cai no mundo real.
  • TGA is a fully biased and plainly commercial enterprise. Anyone can see that, no matter which console you like best.
  • I guess the...
  • I guess the entire article went over your head, and you laser-focused on the one very small part of his message that you could argue against. The point is not who determines the awards, but what methodology they use. He is asking for a broadening of the mindset as to what constitutes a good game. And that it should be about the 'objective' quality of the games. As someone who hardly ever plays any racing games (frankly bad at them), I have already put in more than 20 hours already in FH5. That says something about this specific game.
    Yes, awards should not be solely a popularity contest. The problem is you assume that the current 'so-called' critics/experts on the panel are in the best position for that. Last year, for example, they decided to give every award possible to a certain very divisive game just so they could make a point and protect some high-profile egos, even though there were equally excellent but NON-DIVISIVE games to consider. Mind you, I am not saying that game didn't derve some accolades, but it was clear it was no longer about objective critique, it was about activism and pushing back. And I am actually shocked to learn that developers are not involved in such a panel. Who can be more qualified?!? I work in academia and I could never take any judgement of my work serious if it was not from a fellow academic.
  • Couldn't have said it better. I'm an Xbox fanboy but this piece is pure gold.
  • "coincidentally windows machine exclusive" You're obviously trying to imply that it's not a coincidence, but it is. A good game is a good game, regardless of what platforms it is or isn't available on. Should we disregard PlayStation owners' praise of Demon's Souls, Bloodborne, TLOU or God of War because they are PlayStation exclusives? No we shouldn't. Nor should we ignore praise of Forza Horizon 5 because it's not available on PlayStation. I wonder whether I'm getting an inkling of the real reason you have an issue here. As for the validity of gamers preferences over that of critics, I don't think that anyone is actually saying that. The fact that gamers preferences are included but weighted so little is the problem, I think. If you're going to include a popular vote as a component at all then it probably ought to be weighted equally with that of the critics. The specific issue here is that those critics seem only to be considering specific types of games in the first place. If you're a game critic and you can't consider what the people who will actually play the game will think of it and rather just base your entire opinion on your own narrow definition of what constitutes a game worthy of being considered for an award then you're simply biased and not actually providing the people who will read your critiques with an accurate representation of the games you're critiquing.
  • Why caring for game awards? Awards jury are just a biased folks who don't know about every game! Play what you like.
  • So much hyperbole in this article... Game awards really shouldn't be held thid highly, honestly. FH5 is great, but it released so close to the cut off that of course it isn't going to register in a lot of the general categories... it hasn't had the time as other games to be really considered there. Some of you really do need to calm down a bit on this one, the language in this article is way over the top.
  • This 2021 nomination is the 'right in the deep end' of this award event.
  • Great article. It's nice seeing this clown get called out. This is exactly why I don't watch the game awards anymore. It's completely biased towards Sony and Geoff has always been a Sony Pony Shill. Waste of time watching anything made by that cuck.
  • Tell me you're a console warrior without telling me. Imagine getting this worked up over a video game award just because your favorite game didn't get picked. Boohoo. "disservice to the entire game industry" **** off, you are not even a developer, just a random blogger so don't even try to speak for the "industry"
  • projection much lol. i dont even play forza.
  • Just look at all the glowing reviews of FH5. It is a fantastic successor to the FH series. This game doesn't need this award, just go play it.
  • "This game doesn't need this award" Hardly the point and not one made in the article.
  • DICE and AIAS game awards hold more weight. This event is nothing more than ads for 2022 gaming stuff and an ego boost for Geoff Keighley.
  • Nobody cares about the Playstation awards. I have not watched or even looked up the winners in a few years.
  • Looks like some folks are.missing the point of this article. If issues are not highlighted and swept under the rug. They never get fixed, so it's best to tackle them as and when. Bad news doesn't get better with age - it causes an ever spreading rot. So kudos to Jez for having the courage to call out the b.s.
  • The update, reinforces the point made above. If Jez hadn't called out the issue. We wouldn't have gotten a clear cut answer really quickly and the commitment to do better. By calling issues as and when only then can things improve rapidly. So again, kudos to Jez calling out the issue in the first place. Major props and respect to you.
  • With these type of articles Xbox just doesn't deserve any nomination for any awards. Imagine being such a stupid "journalist". Imagine being this upset about one of the hundreds of awards. Imagine being this upset about your favourite game not being nominated for GOTY in one award show. Imagine being this upset about sports/racing game not being nominated for GOTY. Imagine being so pissed about colleagues journalists not nominating my favourite game. Imagine being this upset about racing game which is just beautiful, but does nothing interesting or innovative. There is literaly tens of indie games better than the nominees, why should I be upset? Everybody has different taste and opinion and everybody has different GOTY. Get over it you ******* piece of **** Corden.
  • Thanks for making a new account to make a fool of yourself.
  • Imagine being as upset as you are that someone criticised a game awards that doesn't recognise the best games. Imagine being so upset that you think that what one journalist unaffiliated with Microsoft thinks should have a bearing on whether games exclusive to Xbox are deserving of receiving awards. Oh, the humanity! Your poor fee fees.
  • i needed a fanboy translator to cut through the tears in this comment
  • This show has lost all credibility to me and I am glad I never watched it.
  • The problem is that FH5 doesn't feel new or innovative. It looks and sounds better, sure, but it's the same "dude-bro" schtick that has tormented the Horizons franchise. If you deleted the European gameworld in FH4 and replaced it with Mexico, the game would play out just the same. In fact, it's so incredibly similar that it could have been marketed and sold as an expansion or as DLC to FH4 and nobody would have been any wiser. It doesn't help that everyone is speaking with a European accent except for one really annoying new character that you wish they didn't have any cringe inducing dialog for. If the game felt like a revamped formula or made an attempt to provide something that felt like a generational leap, I'm sure it would have been worthy of contention. Unfortunately, it's just not GOTY material when it's compared to the final 5.
  • That's exactly how I feel about ratchet and clank 5.... Same ****... better graphics...same old same old. I actually couldn't play it for long because I just played and completed the fun psychonauts 2 and couldn't do anotherplatformer. But what yer saying about how FH5 should've been a dlc tells me yer a moron and you have zero credibility because you're a moron. Simple. I could care less for game of the year but dlc hahah
  • How was Ratchet & Clank "new or innovative"? It's literally the 16th game in the series and only an interation from the prior game.
    Clearly you haven't actually played FH5. I've put 30 hours into the game and also beat Ratchet.
  • Yea and Ratchet and Clank is "innovative"...LoL sure. Oh look another Resident Evil Game. Give me a break.
  • Here's my hot take to counter yours: A game that launches in the horrendously buggy state that Horizon 5 did doesn't deserve GOTY, simple as that. I love the game and have spent way too many hours playing it already but every step of the way I've been wading through technical issues, some of them game-breaking. It's a ton of fun and absolutely the best entry in the series so far, sure, but I wouldn't recommend it for such an award after the awful problems that I and so much of the community have had. The awards should take in to account all aspects of the game including the technical problems in a released product.
  • I've put 30 hours into FH5 and have experienced zero bugs other than online disconnections that don't impact the single player experience.
    FH5 is a technical masterpiece that plays well on all platforms. Just watch Digital Foundry's detailed analysis.
  • "The Game Awards" is the "Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame" of the gaming industry. It exists only to toot it's own horn.
  • Well what I think of their nominees, I think about who is "The Game Awards" anyways? I've never watched it and would never in a million years use game awards as a guide to buy games.
  • I'm not saying it didn't deserve a nomination (I haven't played it so I can't say for sure), but I do get tired of the disgusting overuse of the word "snub" in relation to nominations in any industry. The word snub means something has been DISDAINFULLY SPURNED. I don't think anyone is contemptuously, filled with disdain, rejecting this game. We don't know what their reasons for it not being nominated are. No one sent out a social media blast saying it was a worthless trash game that was beneath consideration. It just didn't get nominated. As for whether or not it deserves it.. the Forza games are fun, no doubt. But I can't fathom them ever being game of the year material either. And it's not because it doesn't have a big, epic story. It just doesn't feel like a broad enough experience across what the medium can offer. It also is just too iterative from a series perspective.
  • "Just too iterative from a series perspective". Like Ratchet and Clank. The 16th in the series and an interation from the prior game on PS4?
  • There are 16 RaC games if you count 2 phone games, one of them being a phone game before smartphones were a thing, 1 PSP game developed by a different studio, 3 handheld/console spin off games and a standalone DLC that are obviously all very different from the main games. It seems like you just went to Wikipedia glanced at the article and didn't dig further. And they aren't as iterative as you think they are: RaC 1 - the first game RaC Going Commando - added leveling up of weapons and health as well as it added armor, arenas and open levels, things that dramatically changed the franchise. RaC Up your arsenal - refined the formula and added MP as well as it added "battle" levels that can use cars and ships and it added a somewhat big 2D game. Ratchet Deadlocked - a purely arena game, way different then the previous games. RaC Tools of destruction - not much added to gameplay over the third game, but it was the first HD game and it was the first game that got a proper writer and in turn it was the first that had a surprisingly great plot, and because it was the first PS3 game, it used the power to allow for content that wasn't possible before. RaC quest for booty - it was basically a standalone DLC for the previous game that has alot of experimental content. RaC a Crack in time - added space exploration, quests and had big puzzles as a big part of the game. RaC into the Nexus - a short budget game that was focused on open levels and added the jetpack. RaC PS4 - a remake of the first game that is also in a way a compilation of the best RaC offered. RaC Rift Apart - added the whole dimensions thing, added enhanced mobility and is the first game with a proper second playable character and you have to give credit as it is the first game that was truly next gen game and not possible on last gen. Basically all the games are very destinct, I don't know about FH5 since I'm not into arcade racing games, but I heard that it didn't bring anything new, but that however it was still the best in the series, maybe share your opinion.
  • I will say this much out of those nominees only I'd say Three of them deserve the nominee and 1 is on the boarder but I will say is a fantastic game. The other one I have not played so I can't really say and the last is a game that was a copy and paste of a previous game with a fancy new coat of paint.
  • Great article Jez I agree with you on the variety of perspectives especially individuals that actually develop games. Games are such a unique medium because they interactive with a variety of genres. When some journalist don't/can't play every game listed with a mind to critique various aspects of the game (instead of just getting it out) games that are narrative tend to be easier to translate as "great" or "amazing". It is a broken system unfortunately and as they continue to try and improve there will always be something not quite right as nothing is perfect. I would be find with a breakdown of judging based on 1) technical elements with a heavy weight to devs/technical journalists lower weight to other journalists and public 2) Game Design elements (gameplay/music/story) journalists 40%, Devs 40%, gamers 18%, Influencers 2%
  • Man, I think the people saying that Jez is going over the top or taking things way too seriously are themselves taking this OPINION way too seriously. While I totally agree with Jez, it would be perfectly fine for me not to and him STILL HAVE the same one. He voices some real valid concerns and even their own response highlights a fundamental flaw in their system. How do you have a deadline that is BEFORE the cut off date? That's just plain stupid. Either way, it shouldn't have a cut off date untill the following year, period.
  • Microsoft should have known the deadlines for consideration here.
  • So Microsoft should develop games and base their releases around the incompetence of this award show? I think you you need to think before you express yourself...
  • I don't see why it's so difficult, let voters submit their vote right up to the cutoff date and any games that are released after the cutoff date become eligible for nexts years show. The reasoning of you can't submit your vote up to the cutoff date but the games caught in the limbo between submit date and the cutoff date can't be eligible for next year's show is just nuts. A 10 year old could figure out how to fix it.
  • „ If I wasn't questioning The Game Awards' candidacy for becoming The Oscars of the gaming industry before, I certainly am now” I agree with the article, but I think the problems with The Game Awards make it much more similar to the Oscars than you think. The Oscars are becoming more and more irrelevant, and some of their recent decisions have been kind of questionable and nonsensical. So I’d say that The Game Awards are the Oscars of the game industry, and it’s not a compliment.
  • interesting point. i kinda came into this not really familiar with award shows in general, but if the expectation is that they aren't meant to be "fair" then that's kinda weird imo. i do think that i didn't articulate the points i wanted to make very well and, really it's not the TGA's fault, game journalists in general favor Hollywood style games which, if you look at engagement figures, isn't really reflective of what people are actually out there playing. maybe they just need to get rid of the overall game of the year award and stick to genres if that's the case. but eh. i do feel it's 1000x easier to handle the logistics of a movie awards show than a video game one, given that people might need access to content, and then have a spare 100 hours+ to properly experience a game. but what can you do eh. i do regret the antagonistic tone of the article, cus i do know ppl are just doing their best at the end of the day.
  • RE: fairness - it's to prevent a world where the Avengers wins a dozen oscars by virtue of popularity. A public vote may as well take the metacritic user reviews, because polls get swarmed by different people (look at the vastly different results of some user-voted awards last year). It can be frustrating when they seem to go against the grain of public opinion, and this has ALWAYS created controversy (there is no perfect award allocation), and every time people will call out for them to be "fixed" or whatnot. But the reality is that they're not broken, they're simply not useful metrics of objective quality, and they never have been.
  • Nothing should have stopped Forza 5 from being nominated. The system is flawed if it wasn't able to be nominated. Break your rules!
  • The Game Awards... hoist with its own petard.
  • I don't understand why the award show is in December? Why not have it in January so all games from the previous year can be up for nomination? This really doesn't make any sense to me.
  • It’s awards in name only. It’s clearly a Christmas season marketing tool.
    I prefer to read game reviewers I trust in January who sum up the prior year. It’s actually a time that produces some really good game journalism. Games of the Year awards etc.
  • That's easy: announcing nominees in Nov and Winners in December helps game marketers for the holiday season.
    It's all about promotion.
    After all, why else would CYBERPUNK 2077 get nominated as *best* RPG? To try to rehabilitTe it and get the uninformed to buy and wait for another year of debugging. Look at it that way and it makes perfect sense that a game heavily promoted all summer, with preview and review copies readily available (and with guaranteed exposure through GAMEPASS) would get ignored and then waved off because "it shipped the day after the nominations were due". Bull-oney. If FH got a GOTY nod it would serve as a validation of GAMEPASS and the gaming establishment built around sales and ads for same can't tolerate such a challenge. Not an accident nor an oversight but a coldly calculated play.
    And a meaningless one.
    Gamers know better: no amount of hype is going to erase the stink around CYBERPUNK and no establixhment "oversight" is going to keep FH from being played more and enjoyed more than whatever gets the marketers push.
  • Oh yeah. I forgot what kind of world we live in haha. Of course it’s all a promotion. Here I was thinking it was actually about picking the best games!
  • If there was a deadline for 'Game of the Year 2021', why was FH5 still able to be nominated for 'Best Sports/Racing Game' and 'Best Audio Design'?