We really may have a race on our hands for Game of the Year, despite Elden Ring’s clear position as frontrunner, which has not been shaken since its debut in February.
While I am as skeptical of lightning striking twice as anyone, I have to say, everything I’ve seen from God of War Ragnarok indicates to me that Sony Santa Monica may just do it again, and produce a more than worthy sequel to what I would consider the best single player game of the previous generation. And we really may have a race on our hands for Game of the Year 2022, despite Elden Ring’s clear position as frontrunner, which has not been shaken since its debut in February.
Yesterday brought with it a mostly Japanese-focused Sony PlayStation State of Play, but it ended with what is without question the best trailer we’ve gotten out of God of War yet, full of iconic imagery (the wolves chasing the moon) and great lines (“Death can have me, when it has earned me”). It also seems to me like the trailer was tasked with showing as much footage as possible to differentiate this game from the last one, with the (very stupid) joke that Ragnarok is just “DLC” for the first game rather than a full sequel. That’s just console war nonsense, and it’s clear that Ragnarok is shaping up to look incredible, and we have no better vision of that than this excellent trailer.
As for whether I think God of War Ragnarok or Elden Ring will take home GOTY from most outlets (and I guess the one that “matters” now is The Game Awards), that’s complicated. I feel like you could have something just as high quality as the first game, but the nature of it being a sequel would mean it would have to go well above and beyond the first game to attract the same level of attention and accolades. Elden Ring, meanwhile, is a sales monster, an instant-classic IP and a crowning achievement from one of the best developers in the entire industry.
It’s going to be hard to compete. Of course the correct answer here is “everyone wins.” Even as this has been a relatively light year overall with so many pandemic-induced delays, the fact that both Elden Ring and Ragnarok will hit this year is something all by itself. Originally, this could have been a three-way race with Xbox’s Starfield, but that was delayed until 2023 where then, I supposed, it will be a frontrunner for GOTY if past Fallout and Elder Scrolls entries from Bethesda are any indication. Though as a totally new IP, that’s making a lot of assumptions.
I am impressed that Sony Santa Monica did not have to hit God of War Ragnarok with another delay, though I suppose it already had a year-long one, with the hilarious notion it was originally supposed to be out in 2021, which no one believed. Even still, I would have lost money guessing that Starfield, with its very prominently announced holiday 2022 date, would be delayed and Ragnarok would not, when all was said and done. Just two more months now…