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Koalition Picks: The Game Awards 2014

Alternatively titled: 'We All Agree to Disagree'

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The newest rendition of video game awards is almost upon us, and with it comes a plethora of names, faces, and kickass nominees. After last year’s awkward VGX display, the industry is in dire need of something refreshing — an event that will honor the art of gaming and give praise to the dedicated teams behind all of it.

The Game Awards 2014 is set to air tomorrow night, and while we patiently wait with you, the staff here at The Koalition has decided to devote some extra brain power to choosing our very own winners from the list of nominees. While we’re pretty certain there will be some definite upsets, we all hold out hope that maybe, just maybe, something we love will actually win.

But then again, every game’s a winner, right? Ladies and gentleman, grab your Doritos and tag along as we dive into The Koalition’s Staff picks — we promise we took this somewhat seriously.

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Anthony Nash – News Editor

Game of the Year:

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor – As good as Dragon Age might’ve been, I have to give this one to the game that managed to take the elements that made the Batman: Arkham series and the Assassin’s Creed series so much fun, and merged it all into one amazing experience. That, and…I’ve never played a Dragon Age game.

Best Narrative:

The Walking Dead — Season 2 – All of these nominees have a real chance at winning, even the odd nominee of South Park, but it’s hard to bet against what is probably the favorite. The Walking Dead took all the greatness of Season 1 and built upon it, taking you on an insane journey with Clementine.

Best Independent Game:

TransistorBroken Age is a game that could give Transistor a run for its money, but the fact that half of it has not been released might hinder that from happening. Transistor was a great follow up to what was arguably the independent game of 2011, Bastion. Supergiant is building up quite the resume, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they came away with the award.

Best Remaster:

Grand Theft Auto V – Rockstar really knocked it out of the park for this one; updated graphics, an expanded soundtrack, and an all new way to play the game (there’s something about playing a GTA game in first person that’s oddly exhilarating), there’s no way this should lose.

Best Fighting Game:

Super Smash Bros. – 3DS, Wii U. Tomato, tomatoe. Nintendo has the clear edge in this category.

Best Action/Adventure:

Alien: Isolation – You could call this my upset pick, but the presentation, atmosphere, and overall gameplay style of Alien: Isolation was so good, it needs to be recognized in some way.

Best Sports/Racing Game:

NBA 2K15 – Presentation is still top notch, and the mycareer mode is miles above what any other sports game is doing.

Best Shooter:

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – I haven’t been a fan of the Call of Duty franchise since Treyarch joined the developer fray and delivered two of the best games the CoD world has seen (Black Ops I-II), but Advanced Warfare has pulled me back. Fresh gameplay mechanics, retaining the classic CoD style makes this one an easy choice.

Best Role-Playing Game:

Dragon Age: Inquisition – I was never drawn to any of the previous Dragon Age games, but I would be lying if I said that Inquisition hasn’t made me very curious as to what the hype is all about. Any game that lets you put literally hundreds of hours into it has to win best RPG.

Best Family Game:

Disney Infinity 2.0Disney Infinity is the perfect family game because it captures nearly every audience; kids love it because of the characters, adults love it because of the characters, and anyone in between loves it because of… well, the characters.

Best Online Experience:

Destiny – I try to look at two things when deciding a “best online experience” for a game: community and connectivity. Because of that, there isn’t much competition for Bungie’s huge lovechild of a game. Bungie quickly built a huge community around their game, and have had almost no problems when it comes to connectivity issues.

Best Mobile/Handheld Game:

Super Smash Bros. 3DS – Nintendo might very well clean up at this years award show, and it’ll all be because of this game. The perfect game to play at parties or conventions, on the go, or even at home makes this one a no brainer.

Developer of the Year:

Telltale – This award is such a toss up, that I wouldn’t be surprised if any of the nominees won (except maybe Ubisoft Montreal). At the end of the day though, Telltale managed to put out two amazing games at the same time earlier this year in The Wolf Among Us and TWD Season 2, and then followed that up by releasing the first (amazing) episode of Tales From the Borderlands, and the Game of Thrones game. What can’t these guys do?

Best Score/Soundtrack:

Transistor – If I’m being honest, I’m very disappointed Wolfenstein: The New Order isn’t on the list of nominees, especially with that extremely underrated soundtrack. However, since it isn’t, I can’t see anyone but Transistor winning this one. Supergiant gave us another awesome soundtrack to another awesome game.

Games For Change:

The Last Of Us: Left Behind – So many great nominees for this title, but Naughty Dog managed to make us feel so much in such a couple in such a short amount of time with the story of Ellie and Riley.

Most Anticipated Game:

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – This may not end up winning the award (it’s hard to beat Batman, after all), but this is MY most anticipated game. It’s been a little too long since we’ve seen or heard from Drake, and I’m extremely interested to see how his story ends.

Trending Gamer:

PewDiePie – Gamer? Check. Famous gamer? Check. Made millions playing games? Check.

Best Fan Creation:

Twitch Plays Pokemon – I’d be very hard pressed to vote against something that took over the internet for as long as this did. I don’t know the purpose of the social experiment, but the thousands of forum posts, fan theories, and spin offs make this easily the best fan creation of the year.

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Emily Lemay – Managing Editor

Game of the Year:

Dragon Age: Inquisition – There are some pretty great games up for the GOTY title this year, but I truly think Dragon Age is the most deserving of the title. Any game that let’s you put hundreds of hours into side quests alone is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Graphics, gameplay, dragons, and that kickass score? A true contender.

Best Narrative:

Wolfenstein: The New Order – If you know me even a little, you’ll know that Wolfenstein is one of my favorite games of 2014, and perhaps even of all time. If the return of BJ Blazkowicz wasn’t cool enough, the dual timeline narrative was something that really surprised me. What I though was going to be a generic shooter turned in to a completely engrossing storytelling experience. Also, I’m a sucker for romance. No shame.

Best Independent Game:

Transistor – Like Nash, I want to put my vote to Broken Age, but I can’t entirely do so without playing part II. Transistor seemed to be a sleeper hit for a lot of gamers. It came almost out of nowhere, swept gamers up, and made them instantly fall in love. Supergiant Games are becoming something of an indie hit-maker, and it’s no surprise why. If you’re looking for a completely moving experience, look no further.

Best Remaster:

Grand Theft Auto V – Honestly, it pains me a little bit to choose this over some of the other options, but the GTA V remaster really is something incredibly. They’re one of the only remasters to actually add a slew of new elements, from gameplay to music to even the addition of a first-person mode. It’s nice to be ble to revisit Los Santos in all its brilliant current-gen glory.

Best Performance:

Melissa Hutchison as Clementine in The Walking Dead – Season 2 – Melissa is hands down one of the most humble voice actors I’ve ever had the pleasure of chatting with. She’s so passionate about Clementine, knowing every little intricate detail about her, inside and out. Her performance as Clementine is completely moving. The stark contrast of Clem from season one to season two definitely shows the range Hutchison has, and I’m so excited to see what’s next for her.

Best Fighting Game:

Super Smash Bros. – Does this really need an explanation? Smash is the only thing anyone’s been talking about for the past year. ‘Nuff said.

Best Action/Adventure:

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor – Now here’s a game that really surprised me. Licensed games are always tough to swallow, but Shadow of Mordor came out of the gate and just kept running. The narrative is insanely fun, the gameplay offers unlimited possibilities, and it’s one of the few games to actually accompany a beloved book/movie franchise in a positive light. Mix in the fact that Troy Baker is associated with it, and you’ve got a clear winner.

Best Sports/Racing Game:

Mario Kart 8 – I spent some time in San Francisco earlier this year, and played a hefty amount of Mario Kart 8 with some Nintendo employees. I’ve never been so aggravated yet completely engrossed in a racing game. It’s fun as hell, great for parties, and is something that’s completely accessible to a wide range of gamers. Nintendo has once again shown us why its beloved franchises are a staple in the life of any gamer.

Best Shooter:

Wolfenstein: The New Order – I don’t know if this will actually win out against Call of Duty, but it’s my biggest wish that it would. I’ve never had a shooter push me the way Wolfenstein did. It encourages you to experiment with gameplay, provides a slew of crazy weapons and abilities, and allows you to dual-wield shotguns. I mean, come on. If you ever wanted to destroy giant german-spewing London robots with lasers or fight Nazis on the moon, this game is a must.

Best Role-Playing Game:

Dragon Age: Inquisition – This needs no explanation. I’ve put over 100 hours into my game already, and I haven’t even begun to finish the story. I’m hooked. You’re hooked. Everyone’s hooked.

Best Family Game:

Disney Infinity 2.0 – Having worked at GameStop, I know just how much Disney Infinity is loved. I am haunted by it, actually.

Best Online Experience:

Destiny – I’ve a lot to say about Destiny, but more than anything, I’ll say that it’s been an overwhelmingly positive experience. The community is one that has an abundance of passion, and Bungie has finally started to listen. I still get on to play every day with my three characters, and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. In an age where online games come with a multitude of issues, Destiny is a shining beacon of hope.

Best Mobile/Handheld Game:

Bravely Default – When this game came out, not a single person could shut up about it. It was sold out everywhere around me, and I saw almost everyone I know playing the game endlessly. It’s gotten overwhelmingly positive reviews, and it’s a definitely classic for the 3DS already.

Developer of the Year:

Telltale – If there’s any studio that’s yet to disappoint, it’s Telltale. They’re the episodic kingpins, and they’ve mastered the art of moral choice. Between The Walking Dead, The Wold Among Us, Tales from the Borderlands, and Game of Thrones, Telltale is at the top of their game, and I couldn’t be happier.

Best Score/Soundtrack:

Transistor – I’m with Nash on this one, again. I was really hoping to see Wolfenstein’s soundtrack on here — I’ve been listening to it endlessly since its release — but Darren Korb’s work on the Transistor soundtrack is some of the most impressive stuff I’ve heard in a game. He puts so much love into every detail of his work, and it shows on every single track. It accompanied the game almost as a narrative within itself, and was definitely one of the reasons Transistor has such a large impact on the industry.

Games For Change:

Never Alone – It’s the first game from Upper One Games, the first Indigenous-owned game studio in the US. It brings Native Alaskan cutlure to life through vibrant storytelling, and is such an important game for so many reasons. It’s a testament to how inclusive and expressive the games industry can be, and it’s encouraging other stories to be made. We need more games like Never Alone, and I can only hope it will help usher in a new way to experience cross-culture connections.

Most Anticipated Game:

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Come on, like you’re not excited. Don’t lie — you are.

Trending Gamer:

PewDiePie — although I can’t entirely say I’m a fan, you can’t deny that PewDiePie doesn’t have a brand. He’s got a mass following, a solid game plan, and he’s even been on South Park. Overall, I think it’s a win for the industry, and I hope to see other gamers branch out the way he has.

Best Fan Creation:

Twitch Plays Pokemon – Praise Helix.

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Tony Polanco – Executive Editor

(Editor’s note: Tony wasn’t around to give us a full explanation of his picks, but we’re glad to share them with you anyway.)

Game of the Year: Hearthstone

Best Narrative: The Walking Dead – Season 2

Best Independent Game: Broken Age – Act 1

Best Remaster: The Last of Us: Remastered

Best Performance: Melissa Hutchison as Clementine – The Walking Dead – Season 2

Best Fighting Game: Super Smash Bros. 3DS/Wii U

Best Action/Adventure: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Best Sports/Racing Game: Mario Kart 8

Best Shooter: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Best Role-Playing Game: Dragon Age: Inquisition

Best Family Game: Disney Infinity 2.0

Best Online Experience: Destiny

Best Mobile/Handheld Game: Bravely Default

Developer of the Year: Blizzard

Best Score/Soundtrack: Child of Light

Games For Change: The Last of Us: Left Behind

Most Anticipated Game: Batman: Arkham Knight

Trending Gamer: PewDiePie

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