It’s that time of year again, where we roll out the red carpet and celebrate the best that 2020 has offered us. In a year that has otherwise been so terrible, the fact that we’ve had a steady stream of such excellent games to play has been nothing but a relief.
It really has been a great year for games, from the big blockbusters right down to the most humble of projects. We’ve had surprises that have come out of nowhere, and long-anticipated games that have managed to meet and exceed our expectations when we’ve finally got our hands on them.
This year, for the DDNet awards, we have 16 different categories to recognise, and as we always do. Today’s award is all about the words and storytelling. Video games have great potential as a storytelling medium. It’s increasingly sidelined as publishers chase the games-as-a-service and esports dollars, but there are still plenty of games that are structured around telling a compelling narrative, with engaging characters and an idea or two to share.
If Tell Me Why was something real and meaningful, Final Fantasy VII is the polar opposite as something purely fantastic and adventurous. And yet, Final Fantasy VII is also hugely intelligent and more subversive than it will ever get credit for. Since the original Final Fantasy, 33 years ago now, the entire series has been wrapped up in a stubborn commitment to deterministic philosophy. These games were heavily reliant on the idea of fate and destiny, and wrapped their stories around that concept. Final Fantasy VII, despite being a remake of one of those deterministic stories, has comprehensively and completely challenged and subverted that idea, to the point that even fans of the original FFVII should not be predicting what will come with the second chapter of the VII Remake. Throw in a range of progressive themes of its own that are explored through the story (that dance number where Cloud metaphorically comes to terms with his sexuality is an all-time highlight key scene in videogames), and FFVII deserves respect for doing something meaningfully different with one of the most beloved stories in video game history.
Of course, we very much welcome your own picks for each category, so be sure to let us know your thoughts, and we’ll see you tomorrow for the next category!