In 2023, Fortnite was nominated for the prestigious Best Ongoing Game title at the Game Awards. However, Cyberpunk 2077 surprised everyone by winning this special award, a result that has left several Fortnite players in a state of disbelief.
Known for its surprises, this year's Game Awards did not fail to deliver. Big announcements included the unveiling of free DLC for God of War: Ragnarok by PlayStation, Xbox's partnership with Deathloop developer Arkane Lyon for a new Blade game, and the special participation of Jordan Peele during Hideo Kojima's OD game presentation.
Controversy started brewing during the awards segment of the event. Recipients were given a short 30-second timeframe to deliver their speeches and many awards were presented away from the main stage. This meant that numerous developers did not get the opportunity to deliver their acceptance speeches.
Aside from the surprising winners, several unexpected snubs caught the attention of the audience. For instance, despite seven nominations, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 left the ceremony trophyless. Fortnite fans felt a similar disappointment after getting the snub for the Best Ongoing Game award.
'Best Ongoing Game' is a category that recognises games for their exceptional development and their ability to continuously evolve the player's experience over time. In 2023, five noteworthy titles - Apex Legends, Cyberpunk 2077, Final Fantasy XIV, Fortnite, and Genshin Impact were nominated.
The coveted award eventually went to Cyberpunk 2077, largely because of the high praise received for its Phantom Liberty expansion and the 2.0 update. However, the Fortnite community was up in arms, arguing vehemently that the Epic game should have been awarded, claiming that Fortnite had had its most successful year to date.
One of the major Fortnite accounts decided to publicly voice its disappointment via a Twitter post: 'Woke up to Fortnite losing the ‘Best Ongoing Game’ to a game that shouldn’t even be there, after having their best year ever and literally proving what ‘Ongoing Game’ means...' The post quickly went viral.
Many individuals from the Twitter community agreed that Fortnite should have been the rightful recipient of the trophy. One tweet said, 'Fortnite was so robbed it's obvious', accompanied by a screenshot showing Cyberpunk 2077's relatively lower peak player count on Steam. Other Fortnite fans echoed similar sentiments with numerical data to support their arguments.
Other posts included arguments claiming that Fortnite is continually overlooked for these awards because of the generalized bias against it. Regardless of whether you play Fortnite or not, some believe that it was absurd for Fortnite not to win from a purely objective point of view.
Notably, Fortnite had a successful year, with its player count increasing consistently. Its Season OG was a huge hit, and events like the Big Bang event garnered attention not only from the Fortnite community but also from the rest of the gaming world. Upcoming events such as LEGO Fortnite, Rocket Racing, and Fortnite Festival are expected to attract significant crowds as well.
The controversial win of Cyberpunk 2077 over Fortnite at the 2023 Game Awards has provoked discussions among the gaming community about the fairness and effectiveness of the award nomination and selection process at such events.
Public opinions matter, and the voices of discontent among the Fortnite community have highlighted the need for a transparent and objective system for award selection in the gaming industry. As consumer expectations increase with each passing year, it's crucial for such prestigious awards to maintain a level playing field for all game developers.
At the end of the day, while winning awards can indeed validate a game's success and contribution to the industry, it would be fair to say that the true measure of a game's significance lies in its capacity to connect with players, revolutionize gaming experiences and stand the test of time.
Despite the controversy at the 2023 Game Awards, both Fortnite and Cyberpunk 2077 continue to be phenomenal games that have significantly impacted the gaming industry in their unique ways. The journey forward for these games remains exciting and promising, as both developers continue to innovate and push the boundaries of what gaming can offer to their loyal players.
Looking towards future Game Awards events, one can only hope for a nomination and selection process that is as unbiased and transparent as possible, effectively celebrating all forms of excellence in the gaming industry and giving credit where it's due.