Baldur's Gate 3 sweeps Golden Joystick Awards, Starfield secures Xbox Game of the Year

midian182

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In brief: The 41st Golden Joystick Awards took place at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London this week, and it should come as no surprise to learn that one game absolutely dominated proceedings: Baldur's Gate 3, winner of seven awards including the coveted Ultimate Game of the Year. There was also a big award for Starfield, which won Xbox Game of the Year.

2023 has been one of the best years for game releases in recent memory – here's some PC titles you should be playing. But Baldur's Gate 3 has stood above the rest as the highest-rated PC game ever on Metacritic, the best overall game ever on OpenCritic, PC Gamer UK's best-scoring game of all time, and the list goes on.

The Golden Joystick Awards is also known as the People's Gaming Awards as the winners are voted for by the general public. Five million people showed their love for Baldur's Gate 3 by crowning it winner in the storytelling, best visual design, studio of the year (Larian), best game community, best-supporting performer (Neil Newbon as Astarion), PC game of the year, and the ultimate game of the year categories. You can see the entire list of nominees and winners at the bottom of the page.

Only one other game secured multiple awards during the event: Final Fantasy 16, for best audio and best lead performer - Ben Starr for his performance as Clive Rosfield.

Some other notable winners included the once-hated No Man's Sky. Thanks to its amazing turnaround in fortunes since being released in 2016, the space/survival game secured the Still Playing award. Another unsurprising win went to the amazing Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty for best expansion, while the critics' choice award went to another top title of 2023, Alan Wake II. As for the most wanted game among voters, that was Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth.

One game that hasn't been as universally loved as Baldur's Gate 3 is Starfield. Bethesda's massive adventure RPG was one of the most anticipated games in years, but it's fair to say that the reception didn't live up to the hype in many cases. However, despite a user score of 7.0 on Metacritic, voters still chose Starfield as the Xbox game of the year. Its category wasn't the strongest, admittedly - Chants of Sennaar, Hi-Fi Rush, Planet of Lana, Dead Space Remake, and Pentiment – but while this writer is a big fan of the last two, I'd still have expected Starfield to win here.

Full list of nominations and winners:

Best Storytelling

  • Baldur's Gate 3 (winner)
  • The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood
  • Armored Core 6: Fires Of Rubicon
  • Oxenfree 2: Lost Signals
  • Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo
  • Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

Still Playing

  • No Man's Sky (winner)
  • Genshin Impact
  • The Sims 4
  • Fortnite
  • Naraka Bladepoint
  • GTA Online
  • Warframe
  • Valorant
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive / Counter-Strike 2
  • Apex Legends
  • Dota 2
  • Call of Duty

Best Visual Design

  • Baldur's Gate 3 (winner)
  • Starfield
  • Hi-Fi Rush
  • Viewfinder
  • Lies of P
  • Street Fighter 6

Studio of the Year

  • Larian Studios (winner)
  • Digital Eclipse
  • Nintendo EPD
  • Mimimi Games
  • Remedy Entertainment
  • CD Projekt Red

Best Game Expansion

  • Power Wash Simulator DLC
  • Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty (winner)
  • The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom
  • The Case of the Golden Idol Mysteries: The Lemurian Vampire and Spider of Lanka
  • Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania
  • A Little to the Left: Cupboards & Drawers

Best Indie Game

  • Dave the Diver
  • Pizza Tower
  • Dredge
  • Cocoon
  • Viewfinder
  • Sea of Stars (winner)

Best Multiplayer Game

  • Exoprimal
  • Diablo 4
  • Street Fighter 6
  • Remnant 2
  • Mortal Kombat 1 (winner)
  • We Were Here Expeditions: The FriendShip

Best Audio

  • Stray Gods
  • Hi-Fi Rush
  • Bomb Rush Cyberfunk
  • Starfield
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
  • Final Fantasy 16 (winner)

Best Game Trailer

  • Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty - Official Cinematic Trailer (winner)
  • Alan Wake 2 - The Dark Place Gameplay Trailer
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom - Official Trailer #3
  • Baby Steps Reveal Trailer
  • Mortal Kombat 1 - Official It's In Our Blood Trailer
  • Dave the Diver - Official Release Month And Accolades Trailer

Best Game Community

  • Final Fantasy 14
  • Warframe
  • Baldur's Gate 3 (winner)
  • Deep Rock Galactic
  • Dreams
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Best VR game

  • C-Smash VRS
  • Horizon Call of the Mountain (winner)
  • Synapse
  • Vertigo 2 VR
  • F1 23 VR
  • The Light Brigade

Best Gaming Hardware

  • PlayStation VR2 (winner)
  • Turtle Beach Stealth Pro Headset
  • Alienware 34 AW3423DWF
  • Nitro Deck
  • ASUS ROG Strix Scope II 96
  • Samsung 990 PRO

Breakthrough Award

Cocoon / Geometric Interactive

Critics' Choice Award

Alan Wake 2

Best Streaming Game

Valorant

Best Lead Performer

  • Ben Starr - Clive Rosfield in Final Fantasy 16 (winner)
  • Yuri Lowenthal - Peter Parker in Marvel's Spider-Man 2
  • Cameron Monaghan - Cal Kestis in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
  • Ilkka Villi and Matthew Porretta - Alan Wake in Alan Wake 2
  • Nadji Jeter - Miles Morales in Marvel's Spider-Man 2
  • Ellise Chappell - Kathy Johanson in Deliver Us Mars
  • Melanie Liburd - Saga Anderson in Alan Wake 2

Best Supporting Performer

  • Laura Bailey - Mary Jane in Marvel's Spider-Man 2
  • Neil Newbon - Astarion in Baldur's Gate 3 (winner)
  • Cissy Jones - Andreja in Starfield
  • Amelia Tyler - Narrator in Baldur's Gate 3
  • Ralph Ineson - Cidolfus Telamon in Final Fantasy 16
  • Patricia Summersett - Princess Zelda in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
  • Idris Elba - Solomon Reed in Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty

Nintendo Game of the Year

  • Pikmin 4
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (winner)
  • Fire Emblem Engage
  • Metroid Prime Remastered
  • Octopath Traveller 2
  • Fae Farm

PC Game of the Year

  • Baldur's Gate 3 (winner)
  • Diablo 4
  • Dave the Diver
  • Tchia
  • System Shock
  • Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew

PlayStation Game of the Year

  • Final Fantasy 16
  • Resident Evil 4 (winner)
  • Street Fighter 6
  • Humanity
  • Armored Core 6: Fires Of Rubicon
  • Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

Xbox Game of the Year

  • Starfield (winner)
  • Chants of Sennaar
  • Hi-Fi Rush
  • Planet of Lana
  • Dead Space
  • Pentiment

Most Wanted Game

  • Death Stranding 2
  • Star Wars Outlaws
  • Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth (winner)
  • Tekken 8
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl
  • Hades 2
  • Fable
  • Hollow Knight: Silksong
  • Everywhere
  • Frostpunk 2
  • Ark 2
  • Metal Gear Solid Δ: Snake Eater
  • Persona 3 Reload
  • Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles
  • Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
  • Pacific Drive
  • Black Myth: Wukong
  • Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden
  • Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin

Ultimate Game of the Year

  • Baldur's Gate 3 (winner)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
  • Marvel's Spider-Man 2
  • Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
  • Alan Wake 2
  • Resident Evil 4
  • Cocoon
  • Starfield
  • Final Fantasy 16
  • Diablo 4
  • Forza Motorsport
  • Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon
  • Assassin's Creed Mirage
  • Super Mario Bros. Wonder
  • Street Fighter 6
  • Metroid Prime Remastered
  • Hi-Fi Rush
  • Lords of the Fallen
  • Dead Space
  • Sea of Stars

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Why is starfield winning any awards? It's 6 out of 10 at best, why do we keep forgiving Bethesda? The bugs in Morrowind, oblivion and fallout 3 added charm to the game. They're games, they don't need to be realistic. Skyrim was mediocore but still fun, some of the bugs even got added back into skyrim by modders because they made the game more fun. Fallout 4 sucked, lets not talk about 76 and then we have Starfield. I keep hearing that you need to invest time in Starfield and then it gets good. I have over 80 hours in starfield and I'm still not having fun yet. How much time is enough time? 180 hours?
 
While Starfield is a superior experience, BG3 has the additional benefit of being produced by professionals.
Starfield does not, and to this day looks like a game done by amateurs that just tripped and fell in to a great game. Of course Bethesda has a history of their games being great..... A YEAR AFTER RELEASE!!! So we will see.

For me though, Lies of P is the unexpected great game of the year.
If you don't mind having childhood memories crushed forever.
 
I guess Starfield had to win something because MS owns Bethesda and Xbox? I suppose the only reason Starfield won, conspiracy theory aside, is because BG3 isn't currently available on Xbox.
 
I guess Starfield had to win something because MS owns Bethesda and Xbox? I suppose the only reason Starfield won, conspiracy theory aside, is because BG3 isn't currently available on Xbox.
Its not a conspiracy theory… its business… they want to maximise profits
 
For me though, Lies of P is the unexpected great game of the year.
If you don't mind having childhood memories crushed forever.
Totally agree - Lies of P is a fantastic game. Plays like a modern Dark Souls which is especially timely given that FROM have decided to embrace the open-world icon-fest hellscape.
 
Why is starfield winning any awards? It's 6 out of 10 at best, why do we keep forgiving Bethesda? The bugs in Morrowind, oblivion and fallout 3 added charm to the game. They're games, they don't need to be realistic. Skyrim was mediocore but still fun, some of the bugs even got added back into skyrim by modders because they made the game more fun. Fallout 4 sucked, lets not talk about 76 and then we have Starfield. I keep hearing that you need to invest time in Starfield and then it gets good. I have over 80 hours in starfield and I'm still not having fun yet. How much time is enough time? 180 hours?
Because the GAMURZ with continue to Consooom Product (TM) regardless of quality and continue to vote for slop because it's the best slop they every slopped. Case in point: despite knowing how bad the last few fallout games were, and knowing Starfield would use the same engine and have the same bugs and issues, you either bought it anyway, or paid for the gamepass subscription filling MS's coffers regardless, then proceeded to put 80 hours into it despite not having fun.

Why should they change, when they sell millions?
 
Forza Motorsport 2023 was THE Game of the year for me. What a direction!, completely bug free launch, incredible graphics and most importantly “bU1Lt 4r0m Gr0uNd uP”
 
Cyberpunk phantom liberty was amazing. CDPR really put their heart and soul into polishing this game as a whole and its truly a masterpiece. I know they're done using REDengine but I really hope they continue this franchise with UE5.
 
How the hell is star wars jedi survivor even a nominee? lets forget the piece of sht performance issues the game has... the story was really quite boring, I uninstalled it half way thru because it didnt keep my interest at all.
 
I'm not surprised BG3 cleaned up, but there are a few I disagree with here...
Best Audio should've gone to Stray Gods
PS Game of the Year should go to Spiderman 2
Lead Actor should've gone to one of the Spiderman 2 leads (both are fantastic)
Still Playing should've gone to Vampire Survivors, can't believe it wasn't even shortlisted, but kudos to Hello Games for NMS.

Not surprised at all Xbox Game went to starfield, just so they can slap GOTY onto it at some point, while I don't hate it like some clearly do, I think it's an 8/10 but like a good all rounder that doesn't excel at anything.
 
Baldur's Gate 3 was phenomenal.
Hands down flawless.
It's not a genre for everyone though.
In general games these days are mediocre but I'll agree, BG3 is great but maybe a bit difficult to learn and slow for some people.
 
Just highlights what a poor year it's been for AAA PC games. MS have had a particularly bad time - Redfall, Forza and Starfield have all been really disappointing.
 
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