The Race To GOTY series is exactly what it says on the tin. There will be new entries, overtakes, disqualifications, and of course uncompromising wheel-to-wheel to go along with it. Game of the year title is the prize.
Revving engines, chain-kill combos, sneaky backstabs, min-maxed level-ups. The competition is fierce and so are their tools. It is therefore a sight unexpected to see some merely walk. And talk.
Love-or-hate affair ‘walking simulators’ undoubtedly are, they are a thing. A growing thing at that. And on the surface of it, one can probably see why. Lax on any systems as they tend to be, they are, on paper at least, easy to make. Or are they?
To make a good game that is in traditional sense nearly not a game at all takes careful balancing. Where you lose mechanics, you have to build something else, equally as heavy. That, that takes talent. Which Campo Santo, a studio whose very debut marches towards our GOTY today, have an evident abundance of.
Firewatch is an absolute masterclass in narrative, writing, and art design. I’d name it a GOTY in those categories in a heartbeat. Not despite its only true gameplay element is a silly dialogue timer – because of it. How Firewatch delivers quality of mentioned video game aspects over quantity of others is something truly, truly special. It’s our seventh and final game of the year 2016 nominee.