The Now You See It Now You Don’t Award - Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell.
Despite the “Johnny Gat vs. Satan” angle, the too-cute Disney song number, and one of the best angelic flight mechanics made, this game came and went with almost no notice in January. Even with a bargain launch price, people just weren’t ready to cough up the cash for another activity grind in the increasingly tired Saints Row engine.
The No, Really, Traditional RTS Games Are Dead Award - Grey Goo and Act of Aggression.
In one corner you have Grey Goo, Petroglyph’s take on the StarCraft formula, and in the other corner you have Act of Aggression, Eugen’s take on the C&C model. Both games were made with a lot of heart, but gamers as a whole just didn’t care. Was it the sometimes wonky mechanics? The questionable balance? The mediocre production values? Whatever it was, the audience didn’t give either game a chance.
Oh Wait, Traditional RTS Games Aren’t Dead Award - StarCraft II: Legacy of The Void.
It’s not clear how many copies of Legacy of the Void were sold when it launched, but what is clear is that if you string fans along for three chapters over five years, you can make money if your name is Blizzard. Fans finally got the wrap-up they were waiting for, and the MP community got more toys to play with.
The Energizer Bunny Award - Diablo III
Speaking of Blizzard and longevity, let’s take a look at Diablo III. At the start of 2015, Blizzard’s ARPG had successfully turned around from a controversial launch in 2012, to a vibrant and healthy PC and console game with regular substantive updates. In 2015 alone, Blizzard added Kanai’s Cube, the Ruins of Sescheron, new Treasure Goblins, new Legendary Items, new Sets, four Seasons of competition, and a zillion balance changes. All this with no subscription fee or F2P doodads. With Diablo III, Blizzard takes “software-as-service” to heart.
The You Reap What You Sow Award - Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
After the monumental fumble of Assassin’s Creed: Unity’s launch, it was high time that gamers pushed back on Ubisoft’s ninja parkour franchise. Unfortunately, for both Ubisoft and gamers, Syndicate is probably the best of the series so the lower sales feel petty. The game took everything Ubisoft learned from Unity and implemented an exhaustive list of fixes, scaled back on engine-crippling NPC crowds and cosmetic geometry, while creating an evocative and convincing Industrial Revolution London. Plus, Evie Frye! Oh, Lawd!
The Who Didn’t See This Coming Award - Evolve
A new IP. Multiplayer only. Tons of DLC announced pre-launch and all of it was expensive. Asymmetrical MP in which everyone wanted to be the monster and a bad group of Hunters meant a frustrating, pointless match. So yeah, despite the assessment that Evolve could be lots of fun if everything went just right, the game had no staying power. Smooth move 2K.
The 28 Days Later Award For The Best Zombie Apocalypse Game That Didn’t Have Zombies - Total War: Attila.
Detailed here. Playing as any faction other than Attila is pretty much like a non-zombie Rebuild. It’s all about balancing what you’re willing to lose with what you can build up before the teeming hordes of Hun get to you.