Last night, the Golden Joystick Awards for 2021 took place. In this yearly award show, games of the past year are revisited in order to select the top games in certain categories. From storytelling to audio and gameplay, there’s a wide range of categories. I thought it would be interesting to look at the Golden Joystick Awards from a Stadia point of view, to see what top games we can or can’t enjoy on the platform. I’ll briefly visit each category, with my own analysis of the nominees and winner. Be mindfull, this is entirely based on my personal opinion.
In the category of ‘Best Storytelling’, the following games were nominated:
- Life is Strange: True Colours (Winner)
- Psychonauts 2
- 12 Minutes
- Chicory: A Colorful Tale
- Tales of Arise
The first category doesn’t really have a surprising outcome. Life is Strange: True Colours is the winner. It’s been praised a lot since it’s release and with almost it’s entire focus on storyteller it was a huge contender from the get go. The best news? It’s available on Stadia as well, so we all have the chance to experience it for ourselves! From the other nominees, there’s one other game which I personally expect on Stadia eventually. And that’s Tales of Arise. Bandai Namco is the game’s publisher and they have been increasing their Stadia ports the past few months.
Best Multiplayer Game
In the category of ‘Best Multiplayer Game’, the following games were nominated:
- It Takes Two (Winner)
- Chivalry 2
- Back 4 Blood
- Naraka: Bladepoint
The winner in the category for ‘Best Multiplayer Game’ is EA’s ‘It Takes Two’. The developer of ‘Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons’ and ‘A Way Out’ seem to have perfected the two player co-op adventure genre. ‘It Takes Two’ once again proved to be a hit. In the game, you and a friend play as a couple with relationship problems. They get turned into dolls and need to work out their problems and work together in order to get back to normal. I am very surprised this one wasn’t nominated in the Storytelling category as well.
Whether we’ll be seeing the game on Stadia is unlikely in my opinion. EA’s contract for Stadia games is fulfilled with FIFA 22 and they show no interest in Stadia further than that. Regarding the other titles, Deathloop is ultimately owned by Microsoft. So there’s almost no chance of it appearing on Stadia. Apart from that, I only see a small chance for Chivalry 2 and Back 4 Blood. Mostly because their publishers are atleast in contact with Stadia (Deep Silver and Warner Bros.). Both games also support cross play.
Audio is one of those areas in games which is often forgotten or overlooked, however so extremely important to the overall experience. The nominees and winner are:
- Jett: The Far Shore
- Little Nightmares 2
- Resident Evil Village (Winner)
- The Artful Escape
The winner for Best Audio is also not very surprising. It’s Resident Evil Village, which launched day one on Stadia and remains one of the biggest games on the service. The game follows Ethan Winters story from Resident Evil VII and sets you on a terrifying adventure once again. Audio is an extremely important part of horror games, and Resident Evil Village seems to nail it. Another nominated Stadia game is Little Nightmares 2. A game I personally also very much recommend.
As for the other games in the list: Returnal is a Playstation exclusive. So chances of it coming to Stadia are almost zero. The other games are made by publishers which, so far, haven’t shown any interest in Stadia either. So, while it is always possible, there are no signs pointing to these games arriving on Stadia anytime soon.
Best Visual Design
The next category, Best Visual Design, is all about graphics. However, not in terms of horsepower but rather aesthetic. Hence you’ll find games which are not just technically impressive but look great regardless.
- Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Winner)
- Psychonauts 2
- The Artful Escape
- Little Nightmares II
- Hitman 3
- Genesis Noir
The winner here is the PS5 exclusive Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. The previous game in the franchise, Ratchet & Clank on PS4, already looked like an animation movie. Rift Apart took the game even further and showed of the PS5’s raw power. You’ll take Ratchet & Clank to multiple worlds and dimension in their newest adventure game. Being a PS5 exclusive, a Stadia release is extremely unlikely.
The other nominees do feature two games which are available on Stadia. Both Hitman 3 and Little Nightmares 2 were day one releases on Stadia, with Little Nightmares 2 having been available for Stadia Pro subscribers. The other games however, show no hints or signs of coming to Stadia.
Best Indie Game
Indie games are a category where Stadia might be able to shine, since a large part of the catalogue consists of indie games. Let’s find out how Stadia is represented.
- Death’s Door (Winner)
- Chicory: A Colorful Tale
- Old World
- Bonfire Peaks
Ironically, the ‘Best Indie Game’ category is one of the categories where Stadia is not represented at all. Death’s Door is the winner, in which you control a crow on the job. His job consists of reaping souls from the dead. The isometric action RPG has won the hearts of many. Fortunatly, the publisher is Devolver Digital, which has some games on Stadia. So who knows, we might someday see the game on Stadia as well.
The other games however, are less inclined to arrive on Stadia. They are all indie games from publishers who haven’t really shown any interest in Stadia. Once again, this doesn’t mean they won’t ever arrive. However, chances are slim for now.
Studio of the Year
This category doesn’t focus on one game persé however looks at the development studios themselves. The nominees are:
- Io Interactive
- Double Fine
- Capcom (Winner)
- Draknek & Friends
The winner of the Studio of the Year award is Capcom. Undoubtedly because of their work on Resident Evil Village. Capcom was one of the studios which was highlighted as a Stadia partner during it’s initial announcement, however so far we’ve only seen the two Resident Evil games. Thus there can be no conclusion that calling them a partner was kind of exaggerated. Honorable mention for IO Interactive, which does seem to be supporting Stadia with their Hitman games.
Best Game Expansion
Pretty much every game nowadays receives add-on content or DLC. However Game Expansions are something else. They are massive additions which add a dozen or more hours of gameplay. Nominees for this category are:
- Ghost of Tsushima: Iki Island (Winner)
- Final Fantasy VII Remake: Episode Intermission
- The Outer Worlds: Murder on Eridanos
- Sims 4: Cottage Living
- Super Mario: Bowser’s Fury
- Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods Part II
An interesting line-up here, with many good nominees. The award went to Ghost of Tsushima with it’s Iki Island expansion. Another PlayStation exclusive, Ghost of Tsushima is regarded as an extremely good game and a must play for anyone with a PlayStation. It’s Iki Island expansion added a major new region, new storyline and hours of new content. Being a PlayStation exclusive, you shouldn’t expect this game ever to come to Stadia.
Regarding the other titles, the only expansion available on Stadia is Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods Part II. It’s even available as a stand-alone game. With Super Mario: Bowser’s Fury and The Outer Worlds being exclusives for Nintendo and Microsoft respectfully, those games are out of reach as well. Final Fantasy VII Remake however, might eventually come to Stadia. Square Enix is the publisher and has plenty of games on Stadia. The game remains a timed PlayStation exclusive for now though.
With some games almost becoming interactive movies, acting and voice acting in video games has become a true profession. Nominees for the award of Best Performer are:
- Jason Kelley — Colt Vahn, Deathloop
- Erika Mori — Alex Chen, Life is Strange: True Colors
- Maggie Robertson — Lady Dimitrescu, Resident Evil Village (Winner)
- Ozioma Akagha — Julianna Blake, Deathloop
- Jennifer Hale — Rivet, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart
- Elijah Wood — Gristol/Nick the Post Guy, Pschonauts 2
The winner is Maggie Robertson who protrayed Lady Dimitrescu in Resident Evil Village. She’s done an excellent job to portay a terrifying character full of class and style. It also means another win for Resident Evil Village, which can be played on Stadia since day one. A honorable mention for Erika Mori as Alex Chen, with an outstanding performance in Life Is Strange: True Colors. Also available on Stadia. Also note that Elijah Wood is among the nominees, which goes to show voice acting for video games is a real thing, with major actors also partaking.
Best Game Community
Game communities are important, something the Stadia community knows all too well. There’s been an award this year for the game with the best community. Nominees are:
- Final Fantasy XIV (Winner)
- No Man’s Sky
- Monster Hunter Rise
- Destiny 2
- Magic: The Gathering Arena
The winner in this category is the MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV. It doesn’t come as a surprise, since the game has been known for years as the MMORPG with the best community. The game has a massive world where thousands of players can play together in the Final Fantasty universe. There’s literally hundreds of hours of content before reaching the endgame, so it is truly massive. Whether it’ll ever come to Stadia remains to be seen, but there is a chance. It wouldn’t be the only Final Fantasy game and Stadia might be the perfect platform. Especially considering the game is taxing and many of it’s gamers play on old hardware by now.
Regarding the other titles, there’s also Destiny 2 which is available for free on Stadia. The Looter Shooter features full crossplay since a few months ago and receives expansions reguraly. The other games are absent from Stadia sadly, however Monster Hunter Rise might come at some point. There’s been rumors of Monster Hunter games coming to Stadia ever since publisher Capcom got hacked.
Still Playing Award
The next category is for the Still Playing Award. These are special games, which are still going years after being released. This is an impressive feat regardless of winning. The nominees are:
- Apex Legends
- Call of Duty: Warzone
- Final Fantasy 14 (Winner)
- Destiny 2
- GTA Online
- Genshin Impact
- Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
- Rocket League
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
And this category means another win for Final Fantasy XIV. The current version of the game has been running since 2013. But, it first hit the market in 2010(!). It flopped massively back then and got remade with it’s 2.0 release in 2013 which became a massive hit.
Not surprisingly, this list features some of the most popular games and some of the most wanted games on Stadia. With both Destiny 2 and Rainbow Six Siege playable on Stadia, the platform is represented in the list. However, most other titles are missing and are showing no signs of coming to Stadia right now. Either way, each and every game in this list would need cross play first anyway. And most don’t have it.
Most Wanted Game
Now this is going to be an interesting list. Which is the most wanted game. There are many exciting games on the horizon, so let’s see which are nominated:
- God of War: Ragnarok
- Horizon Forbidden West
- Halo Infinite
- Marvel’s Midnight Suns
- GTA V: Enhanced Edition
- Skate 4
- Elden Ring (Winner)
- LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild II
- Pokemon Legends: Arceus
- Gotham Knights
A massive list of games, which are all very close together. But the winner is Elden Ring. The spiritual successor to the Dark Souls games is a few months away and hotly anticipated. The game isn’t coming to Stadia as far as we know but, and I don’t like giving people false hope, the publisher is Bandai Namco. And they have been porting games to Stadia the past few months. Let me be clear. I am not stating this means the game is coming. But out of the above list, this is the one which is most likely to come. Together with Gotham Knights, since there’s been rumors floating around about it since it’s announcement.
The other games however, not likely. Half the games are exclusives, with 6 out of 12 being from Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo. And the other games are from publishers which have shown little love for Stadia. With the exception of aforementioned games and LEGO Star Wars, which is also published by Warner Bros. We can only hope!
Ultimate Game of the Year
Last but not least, there’s the biggest award left. The Ultimate Game of the Year. Nominees are:
- Psychonauts 2
- Resident Evil Village (Winner)
- Ratchet and Clank
- Hitman 3
- The Forgotten City
- It Takes Two
- Metroid Dread
- Mass Effect Legendary Edition
An impressive list to be sure and all great games in their own right. The winner here however is Resident Evil Village. Not surprisingly since it’s won multiple categories, but the latest installment in the horror franchise has blown many people away. And fortunatly, you can play it on Stadia together with Hitman 3. Regarding the other titles, most will probably never hit Stadia since they are exclusives. But there’s always hope, especially for publishers who’ve released games previously. Time will tell!
There were some other categories such as Best Xbox, PlayStation, PC and Nintendo game. I decided not to include them, since this is about Stadia and they are categories about other platforms.
I hope you enjoyed this summary and article. Let me know if you do. Next month, there’s another award show with tons of game announcements. The Game Awards Show. I might do a similar review as well.