Earlier this week, we released a detailed list of our 2015 game of the year nominees across various categories. After taking the time to tally up our votes, we are now ready to reveal our winners along with an explanation as to why we made each choice. The games chosen were based specifically off of notable titles that we have all played at some point and time this year.
Game Of The Year: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Let me start by saying that 2015 was an exceptional year for AAA video game releases. With heavyweight contenders like Fallout 4, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain all hitting the market, gamers everywhere have had more than enough to play throughout the year.
In a showdown between Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3, Geralt’s latest adventure received the most accolades for its overall presentation, quality, and substance. Ever since we saw the game way back at E3 2014, we knew it was something special and we are proud to call it our definitive game of the year.
Best Indie Game: Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
Each and every day, independent games and development studios leave their mark on this industry.
Despite impressive releases like Ori and the Blind Forest and Axiom Verge, the one title that proved to be the most enjoyable was Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. This violent, yet awesome sequel delivered in more ways than one and is certainly a must play for any fan of the original.
Best New IP: Bloodborne
Shortly after the PS4 and Xbox One launched back in 2013, we were all promised that new experiences where right around the corner.
This year made good on the promise with the release of notable titles like Dying Light, Until Dawn, Bloodborne, and Splatoon. With so many quality titles to choose from, the IP that impressed us the most was Bloodborne. The concept may not necessarily be original, but the enjoyment we got out of this title was simply unmatched.
Developer Of The Year: CD Projekt RED
With so many great titles across various genres releasing this year, it’s important to acknowledge that most of these games wouldn’t exist without the talented development teams put in place to create them.
While Bethesda Game Studios deserve recognition for their work on Fallout 4, CD Projekt RED impressed us more by creating one of the most ambitious games in The Witcher series.
Best RPG: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
RPGs offer some of the most intricate, tactical, and complete gameplay experiences out there today.
With so many great nominees to choose from, our pick for best RPG ultimately went to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Much like Fallout 4, this is massive game that consumed most of our time and kept us coming back for more.
Best Action/Adventure Game: Just Cause 3
Every single action-adventure title released this year was nothing short of spectacular in terms of execution and engagement.
While Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and Batman: Arkham Knight were tied in votes, Just Cause 3 was the one title that bested them both. Avalanche Studios set out to make an explosive, fun game and that was more than enough to win us over.
Best First-Person Shooter: Halo 5: Guardians
First-person shooter fans saw the return of Star Wars Battlefront, Halo, and Call of Duty’s popular Black Ops series this year.
While all of these titles have their own set of pros and cons, Halo 5: Guardians easily outshines the others in terms of value, quality, and substance. 343 industries has not only proven that it can handle the series, but that it has also developed a perfect blueprint for how an FPS experience should be.
Best Episodic Series: Life is Strange
While Telltale Games successfully completed two of their most high profile releases this year, Dontnod Entertainment and Square Enix changed the game by debuting an emotionally gripping episodic graphic adventure called Life is Strange.
This title’s use of time travel and character development brought a fresh approach to the episodic format and instantly made choices meaningful from start to finish. Tales from the Borderlands, Game of Thrones, and Broken Age were all recognized, but Life is Strange received the most votes and is our choice for best episodic series of 2015.
Best Fighting Game: Mortal Kombat X
While some would argue that Guilty Gear XRD Sign and Dragon Ball Xenoverse were decent fighting games this year, the truth of the matter is that neither of these titles stood a chance against a new entry in Mortal Kombat series.
Mortal Kombat X is the most brutally satisfying entry in the franchise and our definitive pick for best fighting game of 2015.
Best Racing Game: Forza Motorsport 6
Racing games require the right amount of features, content, and attention to detail to keep fans fully engaged throughout.
In a showdown between Project CARS and Forza Motorsport 6, Turn 10’s racer came out victorious and is a landmark achievement of what can be accomplished when the developers are willing to listen to their fans.
Best Sports Game: Rocket League
When it comes to sports titles, every single developer knocked it out of the park this year. NBA 2K16, Madden NFL 16, and MLB: The Show 15 were nothing short of phenomenal, but the surprise release and appeal of a new indie sports title trumped them all.
Rocket League is an addictive physics-based vehicle soccer game that captured our attention the longest and rightfully deserves recognition as the best sports game of 2015.
Best Xbox Exclusive: Rise of the Tomb Raider (Timed Exclusive)
Microsoft released several high profile exclusives this fall, but in the end it was a timed exclusive third-party title that delivered the best experience.
With Rise of the Tomb Raider, Crystal Dynamics has succeeded in creating a masterful sequel filled with action, intrigue, and a deeply personal narrative. If you own an Xbox One and you still haven’t played this game, then you should do so as soon as humanly possible.
Best PlayStation Exclusive: Bloodborne
While some will claim that there are no games on the PS4, the fact of the matter is that Sony has a wide range of both new and old IPs that are currently in the works.
The lineup may be sparse this year, but there was at least one title that made a very strong impression on all of us. Bloodborne is not only our best PlayStation exclusive of 2015 but it is also a clear sign that even more impressive Sony exclusives are coming in 2016 and beyond.
Best Nintendo Exclusive: Xenoblade Chronicles X
Nintendo is notorious for taking a long time to release games, a practice that continues to be successful for them.
While Splatoon received a good number of votes, Xenoblade Chronicles X easily surpassed it. This is a title that many of us have been waiting to get our hands on and for the most part it hasn’t disappointed yet.
Best Handheld Game: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D
Handheld games offer some of best gameplay experiences while traveling.
While Lara Croft GO was very close to taking this award, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D proved to be the more popular of the two. Nintendo has had a solid track record when it comes to supporting the 3DS and it will be very interesting to see which of their titles will make our list next year.
This concludes our full list of winners for this year. Stay tuned for our Game of the Year Podcast this upcoming weekend. Did any of the games we have listed above make your own personal list? Please feel free to let us know in the comments section below.