Can we talk about this for a second?
Australians crowned Detroit Become Human as the best RPG of 2018 as part of the Australian Games Awards last night.
Well, enough Australians to cast 75,000 votes across 30 categories, that is.
To say the Australian Games Awards was controversial is an understatement. Nominations and voting were placed in the hands of the people with zero vetting process and things went wrong quickly. Two games up for awards weren’t even available for purchase at the time of nomination, yet made the cut. Scoffon remains unreleased at the time of writing and, worse yet, appears to have been cancelled even though it’s still seeking Kickstarter donations. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate managed to walk away with a nomination in November ahead of its December release date as the event’s head organiser “thought that it came out just after [Pokemon] Lets Go.”
A writer named as a finalist in the Best Journalist category was under fire this week and last over allegations of plagiarism. Rather than eject the disgraced writer, the organisers of the Australian Games Awards waited until the writer removed himself. The publication he writes for, GoTo.Game, didn’t follow suit and remained in contention for gaming publication of the year. GoTo.Game is a whole other mess — described as a “gaming marketing agency” by its head, the outlet’s inclusion in the awards is questionable… and that’s without factoring in its connection to Bethesda, a major event sponsor. Actually, sponsorships are a mess unto themselves, with a number of publishers sponsoring awards also in the running for several of them.
There are other logistics to consider — nominations were announced, then shortlisted to finalists after fans had voted and had their say. Nominees were asked to buy tickets to the event — at hundreds of dollars a pop — before they were possibly ejected from proceedings. Those who attended the awards last night weren’t allowed to give a victory speech (though some rightly grabbed the mic and went for it — good on them!). Sponsors were able to take a moment to wax lyrical, but those that the event were supposed to honour? Nope. Square Enix and Activision won across multiple categories but chose not to attend the awards — that’s something I’m very curious to learn more about.
But hey, here we are — the inaugural Australian Games Awards are done and dusted there are some positives to take away from this. First, the awards had Aussies talking about games in the mainstream and for the first time in a long time, the conversations weren’t about how Fortnite is destroying the youth of today. While the nomination and voting process was questionable, it’s also hard to deny that those who made it to the finals were deserving of praise and recognition.
With that said, let’s highlight those deserving games, companies and individuals who won last night:
- Multiplayer of the Year: Fortnite
- Best Esports Game: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
- Handheld Game of the Year: Octopath Traveller
- Family Game of the Year: Spyro Reignited Trilogy
- Tabletop Game of the Year: Terrible Candidates
- Gaming Audio Brand of the Year: Plantronics
- Controller and Accessories Brand of the Year: Razer
- Sports Game of the Year: Forza Horizon 4
- Strategy Title of the Year: Frostpunk
- RPG of the Year: Detroit: Become Human
- Action/Adventure Game of the Year: Red Dead Redemption 2
- Independent Game of the Year: Hollow Knight
- Shooter of the Year: Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
- Gaming Publication of the Year: Press-Start
- The Game Changer: Rae Johnston
- Journalist of the Year: Rae Johnston
- Cosplayer of the Year: WhereisDanielle
- Social Media God: The Click Crew
- YouTube Creator of the Year: James Turner
- Mixer Creator of the Year: Duke of Flukes
- Twitch Creator of the Year: TobyontheTele
- Breakout Creator of the Year: Pestily
- Creator of the Year: James Turner
- Esports Organisation of the Year: FNATIC
- Play of the Year: Acez’s 1v4
- Esports Personality of the Year: Miles Ross
- Esports Team of the Year: FNATIC Rainbow Six
- Esports Player of the Year: Futwiz Jamie
- Aussie Developed Game of the Year: Hollow Knight
- Game of the Year: Red Dead Redemption 2
So yeah, Aussies Detroit: Become Human has been voted in as best RPG. That’s not to say it’s a bad game (we gave it a 7.5), it’s just not a better RPG compared to the likes of Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, Monster Hunter: World, Kingdom Come: Deliverance or even Pokemon Let’s Go. It’s just not.
The controversy will die down, but one thing will remain — the Australian Games Awards has a long way to go before it can be considered a legitimate event comparable to the likes of The Game Awards. Let’s hope lessons are learned ahead of next year’s event.
I feel uncomfortable writing any more about all this as I was a finalist in the Game Changer award — a category, like Play of the Year, which would have benefitted from some context (okay, that’s the last barb, honest). Instead, I’ll leave it to you, readers: tell us what you liked and didn’t like about the awards in the comments.