Baldur’s Gate 3 and Larian Studios walked away with seven awards at this year’s Golden Joystick Awards (which is one of the more prestigious, and is certainly the longest-running award ceremony). For all of you who aren’t award nerds out there, that’s a new record for a base game to win in a single year at the People’s Gaming Awards (same awards, different name). The only game that comes close is Witcher 3 which won 5 in 2015. (Although, Witcher 3 technically does have more awards if you count the wins from its expansion, Blood and Wine.)
It was a tough year for studios hoping to win their nominations, since each category was stacked with great games. The way we see it, this attention was well deserved for Baldur’s Gate 3, which has made a massive impact on the gaming community in a year when there were ample other Titans (The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Resident Evil 4, and Starfield, for example), also making waves.
Even when we wrote our Baldur’s Gate 3 Review, there was a sense in the RPG community that the title has reached beyond its intended circles of audience, as a worthy addition to the legendary Baldur’s Gate series and Larian Studios’ impressive library, and won the hearts of many players out there. Topping the charts for concurrent players on Steam, the game has been sparking heated debates about the industry, and inspiring wholehearted praises from major game developers and delighted players alike.
We think what really cemented Baldur’s Gate 3’s success, though, was Starfield’s fizzle. The Bethesda original IP was poised to go nova, but the reaction wasn’t hot enough to compete with Larian Studio’s surprising popularity and success — in our Starfield Review, we gave it a 5.5. Starfield did win the Xbox game of the year, however, with the hype it was generating before release, one might’ve thought it should win in more categories.
It is worth taking a moment to reflect on another reason this is such a remarkable win — Baldur’s Gate 3 is a top-down classic role-playing game (CRPG). Never in the 41-year history of the Golden Joystick Awards has a CRPG won the major game of the year award, let alone set award records. It really is a game genre that has, until now, had a smaller dedicated following. (Though, funny enough, Baldur’s Gate 1 might’ve won if the Golden Joystick ceremony wasn’t skipped in1998.) It’ll be interesting to see if Baldur’s Gate 3’s success will spur more developers to try their hand at making these more traditional types of games.
Okay, enough gushing over Baldur’s Gate 3 — let’s put it in context by taking a look at all of the winners from Golden Joystick Awards 2023:
- Best Storytelling – Baldur’s Gate 3
- Still Playing Award – No Man’s Sky
- Best Visual Design – Baldur’s Gate 3
- Studio of the Year – Larian Studios
- Best Game Expansion – Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty
- Best Indie Game – Sea of Stars
- Best VR Game – Horizon Call of the Mountain
- Best Multiplayer Game – Mortal Kombat 1
- Best Audio – Final Fantasy XVI
- Best Game Trailer – Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty
- Best Streaming Game – Valorant
- Best Game Community – Baldur’s Gate 3
- Best Gaming Hardware – PlayStation Virtual Reality 2
- Breakthrough Award – COCOON / Geometric Interactive
- Critics’ Choice Award – Alan Wake 2
- Best Lead Performer – Ben Starr (Clive Rosfield, Final Fantasy XVI)
- Best Supporting Performer – Neil Newborn (Astarion, Baldur’s Gate 3)
- Nintendo Game of the Year – The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
- PC Game of the Year – Baldur’s Gate 3
- Xbox Game of the Year – Starfield
- PlayStation Game of the Year – Resident Evil 4
- Most Wanted Game – Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth
- Ultimate Game of the Year – Baldur’s Gate 3
Another quick note for those not in the know: these Golden Joystick Awards are not The Game Awards. The Game Awards is considered to be the more official video game award ceremony because they consolidate a lot of accredited reviewers’ opinions in order to judge the nominees, whereas the Golden Joystick Awards are judged off of public votes. The Game Awards will take place on December 7th, 2023.
What did you think of the award winners? Did you expect Baldur’s Gate 3 to crush the competition so thoroughly, or is everyone being manipulated by tadpoles in their brains? Let us know by leaving a comment below!