Zelda: We Have the GOTY
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom comes out today, and I think it’s safe to say that it’s already probably going to be Game of the Year.
I’m not basing that off any special knowledge. I’ve barely played the first, let alone the sequel. But sometimes a game causes such a stir, creates such a hype, that there’s no way it’s going any other direction.
Last year it was Elden Ring. Nothing else was going to replace that in terms of mindshare. In previous years it’s been The Last of Us 2 or The Witcher 3. These are games that capture the imaginations of most of the community. It’s so clearly visible that nothing else matters within these online communities for as long as it takes for the majority to get bored.
Now that’s not to say there aren’t going to be other good games this year. Spider-man 2, if it makes 2023, is going to sell well. It’ll get 80ish scores, but it’ll be hailed as revolutionary. It’ll get a mountain of hype, although not nearly on the same level as Zelda. Like most PlayStation games not called God of War or The Last of Us, it’ll be the toast of the town. And then people will move on.
On the green team, Starfield has a chance at beating Zelda, but the odds have changed after Redfall. Bethesda and Xbox have so much to prove that there’s barely any oxygen in the room for actual pure excitement. It’ll look better than Zelda, it’ll play better in many aspects, and on a larger scale. But it still won’t be good enough for a lot of people. And that’s presuming it’s good enough in the first place. I still live in hope.
Forza should probably be in this conversation. Driving games never are.
Zelda: The GOTY?
We have to remember that there is no objective Game of the Year. Nobody is sitting down and working out statistics about these games, and judging them on merits outside of “which did we enjoy?” Is that a problem? No. That’s how we all enjoy games.
The issue really comes from the difference between quality and enjoyment, I suppose. We all like things that are bad. Sometimes things that are bad still make a billion dollars. “If I enjoyed it,” people assume, “it cannot be bad.”
Not that I’m saying Zelda is bad. But rather that when so many people have already collectively decided something is so good regardless of anything else, it ultimately only goes one way. Sometimes – like with Zelda, I’m sure – that is deserved. In other cases, not so much. We can all think of examples where this is the case.
The ideal situation for all of us is actually that Zelda isn’t this year’s GOTY. If Starfield and Spider-Man can get back into the running, it means we have three very, very high-quality titles this year. And that’s not a bad thing for any of us. That’s especially true for those who have all the consoles (or a decent PC).