This year – 2015 – has been one of the finest years for games ever. The new console really hit their strides, and we saw some superb games really start to leverage the power that they offered. At the same time, the independent developers really started to break out and produce games that are creative and artistic, but every bit as refined as the finest of the AAA-titles.
Every year we run a series of awards, celebrating the finest games that we’ve seen across each platform, and a number of key categories (art, narrative, sound, and so forth). Each day we’ll unveil the winner, as well as the key runner’s up, one category per day.
What were your favourite games of the year in each category? Be sure to let us know in the comments!
This is one of our pet favourite categories at DDNet, as it goes right to what is core to what we do; the independent and arthouse game developers are the ones creating the most innovative, intelligent, interesting and creative games. Are they as mechanically and technically sound as the blockbuster stuff? Of course not! They’re build with teams and budgets a fraction of the size. But the heart and soul that goes into them makes them the kind of unique, meaningful experiences that do more to prove the artistic credibility of video games than any A-lister can.
This one took us all a little by surprise when it was released. We knew it would be gorgeous; the screenshots make that much clear, but Submerged is much more than that. An exploration-heavy adventure game about a girl trying to save her brother after rising ocean waters have destroyed much of the world, Submerged has some quite serious points to make, and the melancholic atmosphere, coupled with the vision of nature taking back the world that humanity has destroyed, has a direct, and quite poignant relevance to the real world at the moment. Slammed by many critics for not having enough action (or something), this is not only the best Australian game of the year, but one of the most underrated releases across 2015.
Without a doubt one of the finest narrative games ever created, Life is Strange is a breathtakingly intense teenage narrative, wrapped within some time-bending fantasy tropes. The two come together to leave us with a game filled with moral challenge and consequence, but also a deeply personal coming of age story, that is told with a deftness and maturity that left us all with great hope for the development of games as a storytelling device.
Yes, yes, we know, this is a “walking simulator” and that puts some people off. After all, if you don’t get to shoot something dead, it must not be a real game, right? But getting past that nonsense, you realise that Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is a really, really special kind of game. The most intelligent apocalyptic game you’ll ever play, the talented team at thechineseroom do a really good job of using flashbacks to explain to the player how the apocalypse came to be, with melancholia and emptiness replacing the ugly imagery and violence that other, lesser, developers use to create an impact with their own apocalyptic stories.. Subtle, rich, and beautiful, this is the kind of game we would love to see the industry produce a whole lot more of, and kudos to Sony for backing what is very much an independent arthouse title.