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DualShockers' Game of the Year Awards 2020 -- Hades Takes the Throne

For all its challenges, 2020 was a great year in gaming, with Hades escaping from the underworld as our Game of the Year winner for 2020.

January 4, 2021

2020 has obviously been a rough one, to say the least. With last year in the rearview mirror and 2021 ahead of us, all of us at DualShockers are looking forward to (hopefully) brighter and better days ahead for everyone in a year that was especially challenging. But before we completely put 2020 to bed, there’s one last thing from the past year that is worth celebrating, which are the incredible games that we played throughout 2020.

This past year was notable for the games industry in a multitude of ways, both positive and negative. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic radically altered the landscape of the industry in 2020 by forcing studios to work remotely, delaying several major releases, and cancelling the vast majority of this year’s major events and conventions. This year also also sparked new conversations around many of the current issues facing the industry in terms of racial inequality, crunch and development practices, and accountability for studio management.

But on the positive end, this year also saw the closure of one generation and the beginning of a new one with the launches of the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. Even in the face of substantial challenges like those we faced throughout 2020, gaming–perhaps now more than ever–became an important outlet for finding entertainment and comfort, making connections with friends and strangers from around the world, and discovering what makes this medium so special.

With that being said, all of us at DualShockers are excited to officially reveal the winners of our Game of the Year Awards 2020, which saw around 100 unique games nominated across all of our categories. That number only speaks to the strength of this year’s roster of games that brought us comfort, new perspectives, and a deeper appreciation for what we all love about games, especially in a year like 2020.

Before we jump into revealing the winners: we want to give a quick shoutout to our readers and the DualShockers community for your support over the year, and especially for those that participated in our Game of the Year Awards voting. This is the second year that we’ve had community voting for our GOTY Awards, and much like last year, we had an amazing turnout for both our community awards–Game of the Year – Readers’ Choice and Most Anticipated Game – Readers’ Choice–and especially for the community vote in our official GOTY Awards. In several contentious categories for this year’s awards, the community vote ended up being the deciding factor in several “too close to call” races and tiebreakers.

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Now that all the business is out of the way — below you’ll find the winners of our Game of the Year Awards 2020. Once again, thank you to all of the nominated developers, studios, and publishers for their incredible titles released this year, thanks to our readers and community for their incredible support, and see you all in 2021: a year that I’m sure we are all looking forward to in more ways than one.

DualShockers’ Game of the Year Awards 2020 – Full Winners List:

Game of the Year: Hades
Game of the Year – Readers’ Choice: The Last of Us Part II
Most Anticipated Game: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel
Most Anticipated Game – Readers’ Choice: God of War sequel
Hardware of the Year: PS5
Best Developer: Supergiant Games
Best Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Best First-Party Game: The Last of Us Part II
Best Indie Game: Hades
Best PS5 Game: Demon’s Souls
Best Xbox Series X|S Game: Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Best PS4 Game: The Last of Us Part II
Best Xbox One Game: Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Best Nintendo Switch Game: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Best PC Game: Half-Life: Alyx
Best Mobile Game: Genshin Impact
Best Virtual Reality Game: Half-Life: Alyx
Best Action-Adventure Game: The Last of Us Part II
Best Competitive Game: Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
Best Cooperative Game: Among Us
Best DLC or Expansion: Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers
Best Family Game: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Best Fighting Game: Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate
Best Horror Game: Phasmophobia
Best Interactive Story Game: 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
Best Metroidvania: Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Best Multiplayer Game: Among Us
Best Ongoing Game: Final Fantasy XIV
Best Platformer: Astro’s Playroom
Best Puzzle Game: Tetris Effect: Connected
Best Racing Game: F1 2020
Best Remake: Final Fantasy VII Remake
Best Remaster: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2
Best Roguelike: Hades
Best Role-Playing Game: Final Fantasy VII Remake
Best Shooter: DOOM Eternal
Best Sports Game: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2
Best Strategy Game: Gears Tactics
Best Art Direction: Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Best Audio Design: The Last of Us Part II
Best Character: Abby (The Last of Us Part II)
Best Graphics: The Last of Us Part II
Best Narrative: The Last of Us Part II
Best Open World: Ghost of Tsushima
Best Performance: Laura Bailey (Abby, The Last of Us Part II)
Best Soundtrack or Original Music: Final Fantasy VII Remake
Biggest Shocker of 2020: Microsoft acquires Bethesda Softworks/ZeniMax Media
Best Moment in the Gaming Industry of 2020: Accessibility reaches new milestones in 2020
Best In-Game Moment or Scene of 2020: The Museum (The Last of Us Part II)
Best Self-Care Game of 2020: Animal Crossing: New Horizons

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

10 wins – The Last of Us Part II

3 wins – Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Hades, Ori and the Will of the Wisps

2 wins Among Us, Half-Life: Alyx, Final Fantasy XIV, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2

1 win – 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, Astro’s Playroom, Demon’s Souls, DOOM Eternal, F1 2020,  Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, Gears Tactics, Genshin Impact, Ghost of Tsushima, Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate, Phasmophobia, Tetris Effect: Connected, Yakuza: Like a Dragon


Best of the Year Awards

DualShockers‘ Game of the Year 2020: Hades

Additional Wins: Best Indie Game, Best Roguelike

Just like Zagreus’ quest to reach the surface and get past the underworld, we here at DualShockers couldn’t escape from Hades and named it as our Game of the Year for 2020. Though it faced steep adversaries in The Last of Us Part II and Final Fantasy VII Remake–the other two games that made it to the top of our staff’s GOTY deliberations this year–ultimately we could find few flaws with Supergiant Games’ latest (and perhaps best) title. From top to bottom, Hades was the game this year that our staff had the most overall enthusiasm for, making it more than worthy of the Game of the Year title.

While it started out as an Early Access title, with its final release this year, our staff nearly unanimously praised the high degree of polish that Supergiant has delivered with Hades. Not only does the game manage to weave an intricate, well-told story filled with memorable (and unbearably hot) characters and fast-paced gameplay, but it accomplishes this all through an impeccably designed roguelike. Whether our staff loved or hated roguelikes, nearly all of them agreed that Hades strikes a near-perfect balance of being accessible and fun, while also challenging and with enough depth for players to keep coming back to, run after run.

Though The Last of Us Part II and Final Fantasy VII Remake were more or less our runners-up for Game of the Year 2020 for how they pushed boundaries in storytelling and graphical fidelity in this generation, to us Hades was as much (if not more) impressive for achieving so much with a much smaller team. As we noted in our review of the game earlier this year, Hades managed to pull off an impressive hat trick; it’s likely Supergiant’s best game yet, it’s one of the best roguelikes ever made, and to us, it is unequivocally 2020’s Game of the Year.

Game of the Year 2020 – Readers’ Choice: The Last of Us Part II

Additional Wins: Best First-Party Game, Best PS4 Game, Best Action-Adventure Game, Best Audio Design, Best Character, Best Graphics, Best Narrative, Best Performance, Best In-Game Moment or Scene of 2020

While Hades wound up taking DualShockers‘ award for Game of the Year in 2020, our runner-up for Game of the Year was the clear victor of the community’s vote for this year’s best title, and one of the few times where the DS team and the community were split on GOTY. With a commanding lead of around 37% of the votes, The Last of Us Part II easily took the prize of Game of the Year – Readers’ Choice along with 10 wins in our Game of the Year Awards overall, making it our most honored title in all of 2020. The two runners-up for GOTY – Readers’ Choice this year were Ghost of Tsushima (2nd) and Final Fantasy VII Remake (3rd).

You can check out a rundown of how the community votes broke down for Game of the Year – Readers’ Choice below:

The Last of Us Part II by far earned its acclaim this year, as it not only won several of our headlining awards in 2020 like Best First-Party Game and Best PS4 Game, but it also nearly pulled off a sweep of our technical and artistic awards with wins in Best Audio Design, Character, Graphics, Narrative, and Performance.

As one of the most talked-about games of the year, it isn’t exactly a huge surprise to see that The Last of Us Part II not only resonated so strongly with our own staff, but also with our community. Naughty Dog had no easy task trying to follow-up what is (arguably) its most acclaimed game ever, but The Last of Us Part II managed to thrill and excite players with the next chapter of Ellie’s story, while also challenging it with a new perspective from its second playable character, Abby.

DualShockers‘ Most Anticipated Game: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel

As The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was one of the most acclaimed titles of the generation, it’s safe to say that its upcoming sequel is one title worth waiting for. Originally announced last year by Nintendo during E3 2019, the (as-yet-untitled) sequel to Breath of the Wild was ultimately the title that the team at DualShockers is most looking forward to, whether it winds up releasing in 2021 or otherwise.

Interestingly, our staff’s vote for Most Anticipated Game was pretty competitive, with only one vote separating the Breath of the Wild sequel from the two runners-up for this category, Final Fantasy XVI (2nd) and Halo Infinite (3rd). While we don’t know a ton just yet about the sequel to one of the best games of the last generation, we’ll be looking forward to (hopefully) hearing more about it later this year.

Most Anticipated Game – Readers’ Choice: God of War sequel

Much like with Breath of the Wild‘s sequel, the DualShockers community is also looking forward to an entirely different (but as much anticipated) sequel to one of the best titles of the past generation, the upcoming sequel to 2018’s God of War. Far and away, the God of War sequel was the clear victor in the votes for Most Anticipated Game – Readers’ Choice with just over 39% of the overall votes from our readers. The two runners-up in this category among the community were Horizon Forbidden West (2nd) and Resident Evil: Village (3rd).

You can check out a rundown of how the community votes broke down for Most Anticipated Game – Readers’ Choice below:

While there isn’t much that we know just yet about where Kratos and Atreus’ journey will head next, either way, the DualShockers community is clearly looking forward to the game, which is (so far) confirmed for release on PS5 sometime in 2021. As the revival of God of War was DualShockers‘ Game of the Year winner in 2018, hopefully we won’t have to wait too much longer to hear more about it, and remember: Ragnarok is coming.

Hardware of the Year: PS5

With the launch of three next-gen consoles this year, it’s safe to say that 2020 was especially competitive for Hardware of the Year. However, ultimately the PS5 came out on top with a commanding lead among its competition in the Xbox Series X|S, Oculus Quest 2, and the NVIDIA GeForce RX 3000 GPU line.

Both the DualShockers staff and community agreed that the PS5 truly feels like the epitome of what the next-generation of console gaming has to offer, from its blazing fast loading times, to its roster of strong launch games, and especially to the potential of the DualSense controller. Of course, some of us had a hard time just getting the damn thing to fit in our entertainment centers, but more importantly, Sony has proved with the PS5 that the next-generation of gaming is already off to an incredible start.

Best Developer: Supergiant Games

The lineup of nominees for Best Developer this year was perhaps one of the best examples of the diversity of talent out there right now in the games industry. Studios like Naughty Dog and Square Enix showcased the power of AAA development with stunning end-of-the-generation titles like The Last of Us Part II and Final Fantasy VII Remake, while InnerSloth and Mediatonic highlighted the innovation from indie developers with two of this year’s breakout hits, Among Us and Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout.

Of all the nominated studios for this year, Supergiant Games claimed our award for Best Developer with ambition, innovation, and healthy development practices. Not only did the studio achieve outstanding success with Hades as our winner for Game of the Year, but Supergiant has shown what can come from Early Access development and taking in community feedback, all while working against the crunch culture that has defined the past several years of the games industry.

Best Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Even in a year that’s been as challenging as 2020, Sony Interactive Entertainment had a banner year as it closed out the PS4 generation and brought us into a new one with the PS5. The PS4 closed the book on an impressive seven-year-run with some of the console’s best exclusives this year like The Last of Us Part IIGhost of Tsushima, and Dreams, while Sony also brought us into the next-generation with launch showstoppers like Demon’s Souls and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales.

With a number of high-profile titles lined up for next year like Horizon Forbidden WestGran Turismo 7Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, and the upcoming God of War sequel, it also wouldn’t be too surprising if we wind up seeing Sony Interactive Entertainment compete for this prize once again in 2021.

Best First-Party Game: The Last of Us Part II

Best Indie Game: Hades

Best PS5 Game: Demon’s Souls

As one of the true next-gen showcases of the fall, few games proved the power of the new consoles greater than Demon’s Souls. Bluepoint’s remake of the iconic PS3 title–the game which arguably established the “Soulslike” genre–came to life with a brilliant reimagining and also demonstrated what we’ll have to look forward to with the PS5 in the coming years.

Whether you managed to get through it with a breeze or might have broken a DualSense controller (or two) along the way, Demon’s Souls was easily the standout title of the PS5’s launch and a brilliant way to kick off a new generation of PlayStation gaming.

Best Xbox Series X|S Game: Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Ichiban is number one! In an especially competitive category, Yakuza: Like a Dragon ultimately managed to grab the prize as the best launch title for the Xbox Series X|S, as the Yakuza series only continues to reach new heights year-after-year.

It’s no secret that many of us here at DualShockers are big fans of the Yakuza series, but to see its growth over the past several years is entirely worth honoring for both the series’ developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and publisher SEGA. What initially started as a niche series on the PS2 has grown into a long-running and acclaimed multi-platform franchise, with Yakuza: Like a Dragon easily ranking as one of its best installments yet.

Best PS4 Game: The Last of Us Part II

Best Xbox One Game: Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Additional Wins: Best Metroidvania, Best Art Direction

Among all of the Xbox exclusives released this year, Ori and the Will of the Wisps was by far the title that our staff had the most enthusiasm and praise for. Moon Studios’ follow-up to Ori and the Blind Forest not only improved on nearly every aspect of its predecessor, but also told a deep, heartfelt story with little to no dialogue; a storytelling feat that certainly is not easy.

It’s safe to say that the Xbox One easily had one of its best exclusives this year in Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and whether you play it on Xbox One, PC, or with its recent optimizations on Xbox Series X|S, you are in for a visually and emotionally-stunning experience.

Best Nintendo Switch Game: Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Additional Wins: Best Family Game, Best Self-Care Game of 2020

Though it didn’t wind up taking either of our Game of the Year prizes, it’s easy to say that Animal Crossing: New Horizons may have been the game of 2020 by allowing us all to escape from the realities of this year a bit. Of course, it also helps that even without a pandemic that kept us in our homes for most of the year, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a stellar experience in itself that brings the series to (literally and figuratively) new horizons.

From its brand new features like crafting and terraforming, to a sheer endless number of ways that you can customize almost every facet of your island, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a match made in heaven on the Nintendo Switch. More importantly, it was one of the key games this year that helped many of us navigate the difficulties of 2020.

Best PC Game: Half-Life: Alyx

Additional Wins: Best Virtual Reality Game

If 2020 wasn’t already packed with stellar experiences like The Last of Us Part IIFinal Fantasy VII Remake, and Hades, it would be hard to forget that this year also gave us a return to the world of Half-Life. After one heck of a cliffhanger in Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Valve finally brought us the series’ next installment with Half-Life: Alyx through the power of VR.

As the winner of both our Best PC Game and Best Virtual Reality Game Awards, it speaks to the strength of what Valve has achieved with Half-Life: Alyx by bringing players back into their beloved universe in a new way. Few other titles have reached the heights of immersion and storytelling that Alyx has on display, and it’s hopefully a sign of more to come for Half-Life fans in the future. Well…at least sometime in the future.

Best Mobile Game: Genshin Impact

With some of the biggest vote majorities from both our DS staff and the community, Genshin Impact clearly made an impact as this year’s breakout mobile hit for anyone that played it. The Breath of the Wild-inspired action RPG has only grown bigger every month, and though it’s also available on PS5, PS4, and PC (and soon on Nintendo Switch), mobile seems to really be where developer miHoYo’s hit has found its stride.

Best Virtual Reality Game: Half-Life: Alyx

Best in Genre Awards

Best Action-Adventure Game: The Last of Us Part II

Best Competitive Game: Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout

As one of this year’s biggest hits, it’s safe to say that Fall Guys has taken the crown this year in our Best Competitive Game category. One of the breakout games of 2020, Mediatonic’s colorful and zany title not only put a fresh spin on the battle royale genre, but became the gaming sensation of the summer with its release in August.

With Season 3 of the game in full swing, both Mediatonic and Devolver Digital clearly have much more in store for Fall Guys heading into 2021, making it our clear-cut winner among the rest of the competition for, well…Best Competitive Game.

Best Cooperative Game: Among Us

Additional Wins: Best Multiplayer Game

There’s no need for an Emergency Meeting here: alongside Fall Guys, it’s clear that Among Us also was one of the standout multiplayer experiences of the year. While the game originally debuted in 2018, there’s no denying that few games have had the impact that Among Us has had in 2020 as both a multiplayer title and a social experience. Heck, even AOC got in on the multiplayer phenomenon and climbed to the top of the Twitch charts with her stream of the game in October.

Whether you’re a Crewmate, Imposter, or otherwise, Among Us was easily the game that had us shouting and yelling in an effort to try and figure out who’s sus, making it our clear winner for Best Cooperative Game.

Best DLC or Expansion: Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers

Additional Wins: Best Ongoing Game

For the second year in a row, Final Fantasy XIV has taken the prize for the Best DLC or Expansion of the year and Best Ongoing Game, and with good reason. While Shadowbringers launched last year, the game’s devoted team at Square Enix have pushed the long-running MMO’s boundaries with new content and stellar updates that continue to keep its dedicated community engaged. FFXIV‘s ongoing support is also in light of the fact that several of the community-focused events around the game were cancelled this year due to the pandemic, making it that much more impressive what its team has been able to accomplish in an especially difficult year.

Best Family Game: Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Best Fighting Game: Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate

The winner of our Best Fighting Game prize for the second year in a row, it’s not a huge surprise that Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate would klaim the award once again. By taking an already fantastic fighting game and solidifying that experience with new content and a surprising roster of new characters, Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate easily cut through the fighting game competition this year and held on to its title for two years running.

Best Horror Game: Phasmophobia

In a surprising turn, Best Horror Game turned out to be our most competitive race this year during our GOTY Awards. With an initial round of voting and two run-offs, Phasmophobia and Resident Evil 3 were in a tight race as this year’s top horror title, with Kinetic Games’ hit finally coming out on top.

While it’s still in Early Access, Phasmophobia immediately left an impression as both a terrifying horror experience and a unique take on cooperative multiplayer. Given the game’s huge success so far on Twitch, it’s no surprise that we’ll likely see a lot more from Phasmophobia in the future, ghosts or otherwise.

Best Interactive Story Game: 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim

In a year of stellar games that found new ways to engage with storytelling, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim was arguably the standout. The latest title from Vanillaware has it all: a cast of memorable characters, mechs, and a time-bending plot. But more importantly, 13 Sentinels is also a title that uniquely demonstrates the art of storytelling in games. There’s simply no other way that 13 Sentinels‘ story could have been told, making Vanillaware’s title our Best Interactive Story Game for this year.

Best Metroidvania: Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Best Multiplayer Game: Among Us

Best Ongoing Game: Final Fantasy XIV

Best Platformer: Astro’s Playroom

Though it faced heavy competition from Ori and the Will of the Wisps, ultimately Astro’s Playroom was the platformer that jumped into our hearts for this year. Not only was the PS5 launch title one of the best displays of the potential for next-gen (and especially the DualSense controller), but Astro’s Playroom is also a charming and heartwarming platforming game in its own right. If anything, this short but sweet PS5 title only left us wanting more, and hopefully we haven’t seen the last of this up-and-coming PlayStation mascot.

Best Puzzle Game: Tetris Effect: Connected

As the winner of this category back in 2018, it’s not a huge surprise that Tetris Effect would once again return to claim the prize two years later. With several new features and its integration of a brand new multiplayer experience, Tetris Effect: Connected is not only an even better edition of a fantastic puzzle game, but a powerful reminder of the connection that we all have in a year where we truly needed it most.

Best Racing Game: F1 2020

With a three-way race for our Best Racing Game Award this year, ultimately it was F1 2020 that came out ahead of the pack. While each of our three racing game competitors all take on the genre in unique ways, this year Codemasters outdid themselves with an immersive racing sim that is a cut above the rest, even above the studio’s own Dirt 5 as a fellow nominee.

Best Remake: Final Fantasy VII Remake

Additional Wins: Best Role-Playing Game, Best Soundtrack or Original Music

As our second most-nominated title of the year, Final Fantasy VII Remake was expected to walk away with a few awards, and the three it did pick up are arguably well-deserved. However, the Best Remake Award is easily where FFVII Remake is perhaps most deserving, as it not only remade and redefined an all-time classic, but also gave us new perspective on what a “Remake” can be.

From revisiting iconic locations throughout Midgar to reintroducing players to beloved characters like Cloud, Aerith, Barret, and Tifa, Final Fantasy VII Remake was a nostalgic joy that brought players the first chapter of an extensive remake of the beloved JRPG. However, what is even more impressive is the fact that FFVII Remake recontextualized and outright altered several moments throughout the original story, making for a bold move by Square Enix. While we don’t know where the future of FFVII Remake is heading in its next chapter, there’s little doubt that what Square has in store for fans to revisit this classic is likely to feel brand new again.

Best Remaster: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2

Additional Wins: Best Sports Game

The dream of the ’90s (and early 2000s) is alive in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2. While the franchise has had some stumbles in the past several years (the less we say about Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5, the better), the Pro Skater series was able to return to its roots with a stellar remaster of its first two entries this year. Old-school nostalgia met some modern day tweaks and improvements, and as far as remasters go, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 was certainly a welcome one.

Best Roguelike: Hades

Best Role-Playing Game: Final Fantasy VII Remake

Best Shooter: DOOM Eternal

Rip and tear. Though it released at the start of the year, it was hard to forget DOOM Eternal and how it brought us back to Hell all over again. id Software and Bethesda’s follow-up to 2016’s DOOM was everything we hoped for and then some: a thrilling FPS that brings an old-school mindset to a modern day shooter. From its gameplay mechanics that are honed to a razor’s edge, to thrilling action complemented by its outrageous soundtrack, DOOM Eternal easily shot its way to the top of our Best Shooter Award for this year.

Best Sports Game: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2

Best Strategy Game: Gears Tactics

Though it faced steep competition from some of this year’s best strategy games like Crusader Kings 3 and Star RenegadesGears Tactics was able to chainsaw its way through the rest. The strategy spin-off was able to take the best elements of both Gears of War and XCOM, merging them into an accessible, fun experience that also had plenty of challenge behind it.

Best in Technical/Artistic Awards

Best Art Direction: Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Best Audio Design: The Last of Us Part II

Best Character: Abby (The Last of Us Part II)

Best Graphics: The Last of Us Part II

Best Narrative: The Last of Us Part II

Best Open World: Ghost of Tsushima

In a year that saw us roaming through Viking-era England, exploring the streets of Japan, searching for clues on a tropical island, and journeying through an anime wonderland, ultimately it was the breathtaking sights of Ghost of Tsushima that kept us coming back for more. The long-awaited title from Sucker Punch Productions not only took us to a world inspired by classic samurai films, but brought us into the island of Tsushima where near-endless exploration and quests awaited.

Though this year was especially competitive for open world games, Ghost of Tsushima was the standout among the DualShockers staff and community for its gorgeous vistas and sense of discovery. May the Guiding Wind bring us back to Sucker Punch’s brilliantly-crafted world once again someday.

Best Performance: Laura Bailey (Abby, The Last of Us Part II)

With a category packed with memorable characters from many of our most-nominated titles like The Last of Us Part II, Hades, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, and Final Fantasy VII Remake, this year’s Best Performance category was especially competitive. From two survivors of the apocalypse, to a Yakuza member, to a mercenary, to the lord of the underworld, each of the nominated performances this year delivered standout characters that will be in our memories for years to come.

This year our Best Performance Award goes to Laura Bailey, who arguably delivered one of her finest performances yet in her incredible career in games. In her role as Abby in The Last of Us Part II, Bailey gave an exceptional turn not only as a brand new character to the series, but also showcased a challenging, complex performance that felt effortless. While we’re meant to hate Abby at her first introduction, Bailey was able to humanize the former Firefly and, by the end of journey, it was hard to not root for her cause.

Best Soundtrack or Original Music: Final Fantasy VII Remake

Best in Culture Awards

Biggest Shocker of 2020: Microsoft acquires Bethesda Softworks/ZeniMax Media

While 2020 was obviously a year with plenty of unexpected twists and turns, in terms of surprises by the games industry standard, few could have seen something on the scale as this. In September, Microsoft formally announced its plans to purchase ZeniMax Media, which would also include Bethesda Softworks and its roster of headlining franchises behind it. The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Dishonored, Prey, DOOM, Wolfenstein, and Starfield are now all under Microsoft’s helm, and ultimately we’ll have to see what’s in store for these beloved franchises down the line.

Best Moment in the Gaming Industry of 2020: Accessibility reaches new milestones in 2020

While traditionally we have had the “Worst Moment in the Gaming Industry” category in our Game of the Year Awards, in light of the challenges faced by everyone in 2020, this year we decided to shift things to a more positive outlook of where the games industry is heading. By all accounts, it’s safe to say that one of the biggest achievements for the games industry this year is that 2020 was a huge step forward towards accessibility in playing, making, and developing games.

Several of this year’s releases not only pushed forward in making gaming more accessible to disabled players, but also highlighted ways that the games industry as a whole can be more forward-thinking in how to make their games playable to wider audiences. The Last of Us Part II for instance launched with an outstanding suite of features geared towards accessibility, while other titles like Gears Tactics and Grounded catered to specific accessibility needs, such as implementing various colorblind modes and a gameplay mode for those with arachnophobia.

Best In-Game Moment or Scene of 2020: The Museum (The Last of Us Part II)

In a game full of emotionally devastating moments, the true standout moment for us in 2020 was the museum scene in The Last of Us Part II. As one of the most heartfelt moments in the sequel, showing Joel as he takes Ellie to a long-abandoned natural history museum for her birthday, Naughty Dog expertly weaved environmental storytelling and deep, human emotion into the sequence. More importantly, the scene provides some heavy context for where Joel and Ellie’s relationship stands in TLOU Part II; a reminder of how love truly is the emotional connection of Naughty Dog’s title.

Best Self-Care Game of 2020: Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Gaming itself was a major source of comfort for many throughout the entirety of 2020, but few games had the kind of impact that Animal Crossing: New Horizons did this year. Released just as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to grasp the world, Animal Crossing was a source of warmth, hope, and connection when we all needed it most.

Aside from delivering a stellar take on one of Nintendo’s most beloved series, New Horizons took things further with its deeper level of connectivity and social features. By being able to share items and visit the islands of friends and loved ones, it’s easy to see how Animal Crossing allowed us all to connect and provide positivity in a year that was as challenging and difficult to face in light of the pandemic.


That’s all for 2020; congratulations to all of our Game of the Year Awards winners for this year, and a big thank you to everyone that participated in the community voting and for our two Readers’ Choice Awards! Let us know what you think of our winners for this year and shout out your personal Game of the Year picks in the comments below.

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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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