Announcing the Video Games are Good 2023 GOTY winner
When we announced our Game of the Year nominees last month, we spent a lot of time lamenting the issues facing the games industry. We called for unionization, we called for empathy, but most importantly, we called for the protection and support of the artists who make games a reality.
And so, as we reveal this year's Game of the Year winner, that's what we'll focus on. The people.
This year was so defined by things meant to push humanity aside, things meant to discredit the work of talented individuals all across the industry. But at the end of the day, it's the artists themselves who inspire us and give us hope for the future of the industry.
When you've got people pouring everything they have into the work, people telling some of the most deeply human and connective stories, and people managing to fulfill an audience's greatest hopes and dreams — and THEN some — you're bound to have a year as celebrated as 2023.
That's why, as we celebrate the people behind the games, we show you the people behind VGG. Despite 2023's best efforts, we still believe in the message. Video Games are Good. The industry might not be... but the games and the people are. With that, let us celebrate the team that sparked our creativity the most this year with the reveal of VGG's 2023 Game of the Year.
Alan Wake 2, Remedy Entertainment - 2023 Game of the Year
It's not a lake, it's an ocean. It's not a loop, it's a spiral. And it's not just Alan Wake 2, it's the Game of the Year.
Alan Wake 2 is and isn't many things. It replaces the campy cheesy horror of the first game with a genuinely horrifying tone that creeps in your mind and ends up being part of one of the best survival horror games I've ever played. One that stars not only the famous writer Alan Wake as he claws his way back to reality, but a fresh faced Saga Anderson too, who finds herself fighting back against the same kind of fiction that Alan himself is writing.
What might be most impressive, though, is the simple fact that Alan Wake 2 represents the culmination of everything Remedy Entertainment has been building toward in its nearly 30 years of existence.
Alan Wake 2 is a fulfillment of a story that's been 13 years in the making and of a formula for development that has been iterated on every year since. Take the filmic narrative lessons learned from 2010's Alan Wake, toss in an incredibly refined version of the mixed media experience from Quantum Break, and tumble that together with the efforts to cohesively blend the story and gameplay from Control and you end up with this very special game.
Blurring the storytelling barriers of live action cinema and digital interactive media, Remedy provides an experience unlike any other we played this year. It delivers a story about stories and the unexpected ways they can bleed into our reality. And we're not talking about a book teaching you valuable life lessons. No, this is more like slowly watching the world around you melt away and be replaced by something altogether unfamiliar to you. It's a disorienting experience, one that enhances the obvious creature feature elements with an even more impactful psychological horror. And it does it all under layers and layers of undeniable style and technical achievement.
From the original tracks by Finnish musicians that accompany the end of every chapter to the incredible fidelity of Remedy's recreation of Pacific Northwest forests and marshes, Alan Wake 2 has an undeniable wow factor. The amount of times I stopped to take in the beautiful nature around me, just like in my real life living in the Pacific Northwest, definitely accounted for more playtime hours than I care to admit.
That stop and smell the roses mentality seeps into almost every part of the experience. As Saga, you genuinely work to investigate the horrible mystery plaguing Bright Falls. As Alan, you're quite literally writing the world around you to fit your needs. And as the player, the more time you spend just staring at the piles and piles of detailed work Remedy has put into building out its world, the more you sink into the reality they've crafted. That slower pace and more deliberate construction of its spaces make for a game that leans into its literary roots.
And if you couldn't already tell... we are ALL about that.
Remedy Entertainment more than deserves its flowers for being a game studio so committed to its unique artistic vision, so dedicated to pushing the boundaries of technology in gaming, and so willing to constantly evolve itself with each new game.
They're the champions of light. They're the heralds of darkness. And they're the developers of Video Games are Good's 2023 Game of the Year. Congratulations to Remedy Entertainment and Alan Wake 2.
And there it is!
2023 was an incredible year for VGG, but it was also one of the most difficult. Keeping up with our growth took a lot out of us, but moments like this are what we live for. The chance to celebrate the games that define us and the year, with a community as passionate and excited as ours? That makes everything worth it.
Before we leave, I do want to reiterate that every game on our list is a winner this year. It was a near-impossible task to select the one to take the top spot among them. Every person who had a hand in making these games — and so many others — deserves to feel the deepest pride in the work they've done. We can only hope the future brings with it the right protections for the creative folks behind the art. But in the meantime, we celebrate them.
On behalf of the VGG community, and to all the video game developers out there, thank you for being the reason video games are so good.
If you want to read more from us, check out the rest of the site. If you want to find a place where you can celebrate games without being called cringe on the internet, join our Discord! And if you wish to support us financially, you can find us on Patreon! If we get $100 a month, maybe Fern and I will have to learn the Herald of Darkness dance... just sayin'...
SEE YOU NEXT YEAR. VGG OUT!