Past Game of the Year Winners Share a Common Trait

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Award shows provide an outlet for fans to celebrate the most prominent works from the entertainment industry. From the Grammys to the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, audiences have multiple venues to express their appreciation for music, television and film. Over the past five years, another segment of the entertainment industry has gained popularity for its annual awards show: The Game Awards. The pinnacle of the annual video game celebration is the game-of-the-year announcement. This year’s nominees are among the most iconic in gaming history; however, past winners share an interesting commonality. Let’s dive in.

Class Warfare

It is no secret that the action-adventure genre has dominated the game-of-the-year category. In fact, the last three winners were action-adventure games: Breath of the Wild, God of War, and Sekiro. While other genres, such as role-playing games and first-person shooters, had sufficient nominees, players seemingly gravitate towards the industry’s most popular category. Does this mean that the year’s best action-adventure game will win game of the year next month? Could there be another explanation for the recent trend at The Game Awards?

All About Timing

Although the action-adventure genre is the most popular in gaming, the past five winners share another curious similarity: the release date. Since 2015, every game-of-the-year winner launched between the months of March and May.

The Game Awards WinnerRelease Date
The Witcher 3: Wild HuntMay 19, 2015
OverwatchMay 24, 2016
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildMarch 3, 2017
God of WarApril 20, 2018
Sekiro: Shadows Die TwiceMarch 22, 2019

Given the diversity of video game release schedules, there is no denying that launch windows play a role in determining the game of the year. While the summer and fall months are bustling periods for critics and fans, the winter timeframe is too close to The Game Awards for a game to draw attention. Therefore, springtime is the perfect window to release the year’s best games.

Based on these recent trends, the most likely winner should be an action-adventure game that released between March and May; however, this year’s nominees deviate from the proven formula.

GameGenreRelease Date
Animal Crossing: New HorizonsSocial SimulationMarch 20, 2020
Doom EternalFirst-Person ShooterMarch 20, 2020
Final Fantasy VII RemakeRole-PlayingApril 10, 2020
Ghost of TsushimaAction-AdventureJuly 17, 2020
HadesAction-AdventureSeptember 17, 2020
The Last of Us Part IIAction-AdventureJune 19, 2020

Which trend will be the deciding factor in 2020: the genre or release date? Although The Last of Us Part II is the action-adventure favorite, the springtime darling of Animal Crossing has a realistic chance of winning. It will be fascinating to see which game will ultimately prevail. Be sure to visit The Game Awards official site to cast your vote before December 10, 2020.


But we want to know what you think. Do you believe that a game’s release date is a factor in determining the game-of-the-year winner? Should Animal Crossing and Final Fantasy VII Remake be the favorites to win? What is your choice for Game of the Year? Let us know in the comments below or the social media links on the right. Also, be sure to check out our other news items on MarioZeldaMonster HunterCall of Duty and more.

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