Editorials

DualShockers' Game of the Year 2020 -- GOTY Nominations & Vote for Readers' Choice

With the end of 2020 in sight, we're revealing our official Game of the Year Awards 2020 nominees and opening up our Readers' Choice voting.

December 30, 2020

The time has finally come. Yes, 2020 is nearing its end–thankfully–but there is still a lot worth celebrating even in a literal dumpster fire of a year. Though the games industry faced substantial challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2020, this year still stood out as one of the best years yet for gaming, and there is a lot worth celebrating.

On behalf of the entire DualShockers staff, we’re excited to reveal the official nominees for our Game of the Year Awards 2020. Across 48 different categories, we’ve nominated the games that have left an impact for us over four groups of awards: Best of the Year Awards, Best in Genre Awards, Best in Technical/Artistic Awards, and Best in Culture Awards. 

As is tradition, alongside our official staff nominations for our GOTY Awards, we also are opening up voting for two of our community vote awards, Game of the Year – Readers’ Choice and Most Anticipated Game – Readers’ Choice, which you’ll find instructions for how to participate further on this page.

Additionally, all of our readers will get the chance to have a say in our staff nominations with a collective community vote in our GOTY categories. We’ll break everything GOTY-related down below, with the final winners across all of our categories to officially be announced on Monday, January 4, 2021.


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Vote for Readers’ Choice Awards 2020

First things first; we have an amazing community at DualShockers and want to thank you all for your continued support and readership, especially in a year that’s been as challenging as 2020. This year we really want to honor and acknowledge the developers and others making games, but we also want to give our readers the chance to share the games that have made this year incredible with two of our top prizes: Game of the Year – Readers’ Choice and Most Anticipated Game – Readers’ Choice.

Below you’ll find a form to vote for your favorite games in both our GOTY and Most Anticipated Game Readers’ Choice categories. In order to vote and submit your picks, you’ll just need to use a Google account in order to reduce spam and/or vote manipulation. All of our readers will be able to submit one vote for each category.

Voting will be open starting today (December 23, 2020) through Wednesday, December 30, 2020 at 11:59pm ET. After you make your picks for both categories, you’ll have the opportunity to change your vote at any point before the cutoff time on December 30.

To be eligible for the Game of the Year category, a game needs to have been released for the first time (other than remasters or remakes) between December 16, 2019 and December 23, 2020. Expansions are not eligible for GOTY consideration. Early Access games that have moved out of their Early Access period this year (for example, Hades) are considered eligible as 2020 releases.

In terms of Japanese games–which we love dearly–we will only consider games that released in the West in 2020 eligible for consideration so that games don’t appear two years running for GOTY consideration. Additionally, Asian market releases in English have been included where appropriate, just in case a Western release is confirmed as not happening or seen as unlikely.

Both of the nominee lists for Game of the Year – Readers’ Choice and Most Anticipated Game – Readers’ Choice are very long, as I’m sure you’ll notice. However, each of them is sorted alphabetically and in-depth to encompass the majority of releases in 2020 for GOTY, and most of the upcoming games in 2021 that we know (so far) for Most Anticipated Game. Ultimately, we wanted to make sure that our readers have an opportunity to make their voice heard and to pick their favorite game, whether it’s a major AAA release or a smaller, niche title. If there is a game that you notice is missing or think is worth adding, let us know in the comments of this article and we’ll be sure to add it.

With all that being said, now comes the fun part: VOTING! Go ahead and make your picks for Game of the Year – Readers’ Choice and Most Anticipated Game – Readers’ Choice and nominate the games that left a mark in 2020 and beyond.


DualShockers’ Game of the Year Awards 2020 Nominations and Community Voting

Alongside the two Readers’ Choice awards that will be voted on by the community, we also want to give the opportunity for our readers to have a say in our official staff Game of the Year Awards.

Below you’ll find the official nominations from the DualShockers staff for our Game of the Year Awards 2020, which were determined from a few weeks of nominations and voting internally. Starting today, we will be tallying votes from both the staff and from our community.

Each staff member of DualShockers will have one vote per category; the community will get a stake in the final totals (at 3 points) for all of the leading contenders from their votes. No game in each category will win without having a clear majority among the other candidates.

Community voting for the DualShockers Game of the Year Awards will be open from today through Wednesday, December 30, 2020 at 11:59pm ET. Below you’ll find the full list of our official GOTY Awards 2020 nominations, and a Google Form to enter and make your picks for each category (excluding the staff’s Game of the Year and Most Anticipated Game categories).

Best of the Year Awards

DualShockers’ Game of the Year

  • 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
  • Among Us
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
  • Crusader Kings 3
  • Desperados 3
  • DOOM Eternal
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake
  • Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • Hades
  • Half-Life: Alyx
  • The Last of Us Part II
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  • Persona 5 Royal
  • Spiritfarer
  • Star Renegades
  • Trails of Cold Steel 4
  • Wasteland 3
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Most Anticipated Game

  • Deathloop
  • Final Fantasy XVI
  • Halo Infinite
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel
  • Resident Evil: Village

Hardware of the Year

  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3000 series graphics cards
  • Oculus Quest 2
  • PS5
  • Xbox Series S
  • Xbox Series X

Best Developer

  • InnerSloth (Among Us)
  • Mediatonic (Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, Murder By Numbers)
  • Naughty Dog (The Last of Us Part II)
  • Square Enix (Final Fantasy VII Remake, Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory)
  • Supergiant Games (Hades)

Best Publisher

  • Codemasters (F1 2020, Dirt 5, Project CARS 3)
  • Devolver Digital (Sludge Life, Exit the Gungeon, Carrion, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, Disc Room, Serious Sam 4)
  • Nintendo (Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Pikmin 3 Deluxe, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, Paper Mario: The Origami King, Super Mario Bros. 35)
  • SEGA (Persona 5 Royal, Yakuza: Like a Dragon)
  • Sony Interactive Entertainment (The Last of Us Part II, Ghost of Tsushima, Astro’s Playroom, Patapon 2 Remastered, Dreams, MLB The Show 20)

Best First-Party Game

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • Astro’s Playroom
  • Demon’s Souls
  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • The Last of Us Part II

Best Indie Game

  • Ghostrunner
  • Hades
  • Spelunky 2
  • Spiritfarer
  • Star Renegades

Best PS5 Game

  • Astro’s Playroom
  • Bugsnax
  • Demon’s Souls
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Best Xbox Series X|S Game

  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
  • Destiny 2
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  • Tetris Effect: Connected
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Best PS4 Game

  • Dreams
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake
  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • The Last of Us Part II
  • Persona 5 Royal

Best Xbox One Game

  • Battletoads
  • Gears Tactics
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  • Wasteland 3

Best Nintendo Switch Game

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • CrossCode
  • Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
  • Murder By Numbers
  • Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore

Best PC Game

  • Gears Tactics
  • Half-Life: Alyx
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator
  • Star Renegades
  • Risk of Rain 2

Best Mobile Game

  • Genshin Impact
  • Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
  • Pokemon Cafe Mix

Best Virtual Reality Game

  • Half-Life: Alyx
  • Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond
  • Phantom: Covert Ops
  • Star Wars: Squadrons
  • The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners

Best in Genre Awards

Best Action-Adventure Game

  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • Ghostrunner
  • The Last of Us Part II
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  • Nioh 2

Best Competitive Game

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
  • Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
  • Super Mario Bros. 35
  • Valorant

Best Cooperative Game

  • Among Us
  • Minecraft Dungeons
  • Phasmophobia

Best DLC or Expansion

  • Beat Saber: BTS Pack
  • Control: AWE
  • Destiny 2: Beyond Light
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Fighters Pass Vol. 2

Best Family Game

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
  • Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit
  • Minecraft Dungeons
  • Paper Mario: The Origami King

Best Fighting Game

  • Granblue Fantasy Versus
  • Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate
  • Them’s Fightin’ Herds
  • Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late[cl-r]

Best Horror Game

  • Amnesia: Rebirth
  • The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope
  • Half-Life: Alyx
  • Phasmophobia
  • Resident Evil 3

Best Interactive Story Game

  • 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
  • The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope
  • Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition
  • Tell Me Why
  • Wide Ocean Big Jacket

Best Metroidvania

  • Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2
  • Carrion
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Best Multiplayer Game

  • Among Us
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
  • Deep Rock Galactic
  • Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
  • Phasmophobia

Best Ongoing Game

  • Destiny 2
  • Final Fantasy XIV
  • No Man’s Sky
  • Pokemon GO
  • Rainbow Six Siege

Best Platformer

  • Astro’s Playroom
  • Kunai
  • Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  • Super Mario 3D All-Stars

Best Puzzle Game

  • Good Sudoku
  • Murder By Numbers
  • Tetris Effect: Connected

Best Racing Game

  • Dirt 5
  • F1 2020
  • Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered

Best Remake

  • Demon’s Souls
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake
  • Mafia: Definitive Edition
  • Resident Evil 3
  • Trials of Mana

Best Remaster

  • Pikmin 3 Deluxe
  • Super Mario 3D All-Stars
  • Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore
  • Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2
  • Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition

Best Roguelike

  • Hades
  • Popup Dungeon
  • Risk of Rain 2
  • Spelunky 2
  • Star Renegades

Best Role-Playing Game

  • Final Fantasy VII Remake
  • Persona 5 Royal
  • Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore
  • Trails of Cold Steel 4
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Best Shooter

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
  • Destiny 2: Beyond Light
  • DOOM Eternal
  • Half-Life: Alyx
  • Valorant

Best Sports Game

  • Blaseball
  • Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions
  • PGA Tour 2K21
  • Super Mega Baseball 3
  • Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2

Best Strategy Game

  • Crusader Kings 3
  • Desperados 3
  • Football Manager 2021
  • Gears Tactics
  • Star Renegades

Best in Technical/Artistic Awards

Best Art Direction

  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • Hades
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  • Spiritfarer
  • Star Renegades

Best Audio Design

  • DOOM Eternal
  • Half-Life: Alyx
  • The Last of Us Part II
  • Resident Evil 3
  • Unto the End

Best Character

  • Barret (Final Fantasy VII Remake)
  • Craig (Halo Infinite)
  • Abby (The Last of Us Part II)
  • Kamala Khan (Marvel’s Avengers)
  • Ichiban (Yakuza: Like a Dragon)

Best Graphics

  • Final Fantasy VII Remake
  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • Ghostrunner
  • The Last of Us Part II
  • Resident Evil 3

Best Narrative

  • 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake
  • Hades
  • The Last of Us Part II
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Best Open World

  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
  • Genshin Impact
  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • Paradise Killer
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Best Performance

  • Logan Cunningham (Hades, Hades)
  • John Eric Bentley (Barret, Final Fantasy VII Remake)
  • Laura Bailey (Abby, The Last of Us Part II)
  • Ashley Johnson (Ellie, The Last of Us Part II)
  • Kaiji Tang (Ichiban, Yakuza: Like a Dragon)

Best Soundtrack or Original Music

  • Final Fantasy VII Remake
  • The Last of Us Part II
  • The Pathless
  • Persona 5 Royal
  • Spiritfarer

Best in Culture Awards

Biggest Shocker of 2020

  • Cyberpunk 2077 has an extremely rough launch
  • Halo Infinite is delayed from the Xbox Series X|S launch lineup
  • The Initiative is working on a Perfect Dark reboot
  • Microsoft acquires Bethesda Softworks/ZeniMax Media
  • Persona 4 Golden releases on Steam

Best Moment of the Gaming Industry in 2020

  • Accessibility reaches new milestones in 2020
  • Animal Crossing becomes the social experience of 2020
  • AOC streams Among Us
  • Next-generation console memes

Best In-Game Moment or Scene of 2020

  • Winning a Crown (Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout)
  • The Airbuster Fight (Final Fantasy VII Remake)
  • The Honeybee Inn (Final Fantasy VII Remake)
  • The Museum (The Last of Us Part II)
  • Chimp Calamity (Yakuza: Like a Dragon)

Best Self-Care Game of 2020

  • Among Us
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
  • Murder By Numbers
  • Persona 5 Royal

For a recap of our GOTY Award nominations, you can take a look below at the games that have earned multiple award nominations from our staff.

Overall, The Last of Us Part II is our most-nominated title of 2020 at 12 nominations, followed by Final Fantasy VII Remake at 11 nominations, Yakuza: Like a Dragon at 8 nominations, and Ghost of Tsushima at 7 nominations. Additionally, around 100 unique games have been nominated across all of the categories for this year’s DualShockers Game of the Year Awards.

Game of the Year Awards 2020 – Games by # of Nominations

12 nominations – The Last of Us Part II

11 nominations – Final Fantasy VII Remake

8 nominations – Yakuza: Like a Dragon

7 nominations – Ghost of Tsushima

6 nominations – Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, Hades, Half-Life: Alyx, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Star Renegades

5 nominations – Among Us, Persona 5 Royal

4 nominations – Destiny 2, Resident Evil 3, Spiritfarer

3 nominations – 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Astro’s Playroom, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Demon’s Souls, DOOM Eternal, Gears Tactics, Ghostrunner, Murder By Numbers, Phasmophobia, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore

2 nominations – Crusader Kings 3, The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope, Desperados 3, Final Fantasy XIV, Genshin Impact, Halo Infinite, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Minecraft Dungeons, Risk of Rain 2, Spelunky 2, Super Mario 3D All-Stars, Tetris Effect: Connected, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2, Trails of Cold Steel 4, Valorant, Wasteland 3

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Ryan Meitzler

Ryan is the Editor-in-Chief at DualShockers and has been a lover of games as long as he can remember. He holds a BA in English and Cinema and lives in New York City.

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