The Punished Backlog's Best of 2017 Nominees

The Punished Backlog’s Best of 2017 Nominees

The Best Games We Played This Year

2017 was a year many will associate with FBI probes, Korean missile tests, and women (and men) having the courage to say “me too.” It was a decidedly messy year, but ultimately one of progress.

The same could be said for the gaming industry in 2017. While the year saw great new IP and installments in beloved franchises, it also saw its fair share of dour moments. Visceral Games (Dead SpaceBattlefield Hardline), Runic Games (TorchlightHob), and Motiga (Gigantic) were all closed by their parent companies, and countless employees were either laid off or relocated. Telltale Games downsized its studio by 25% and let go of 90 members of its team in order to focus on quality over quantity. Meanwhile, publishers like Electronics Arts and Activision-Blizzard continued to pepper in expensive and intrusive micro-transactions into their releases as the cost of developing AAA games continued to rise.

The Punished Backlog's Best of 2017 Nominees

It wasn’t all bad. Like in Hollywood this year, 2017 in games saw people speaking out in large swathes. Massive, public outcries towards Electronic Arts and Bungie for their treatment of micro-transactions in their games led to massive backpedaling and even the removal of in-game purchases from Star Wars Battlefront II (at least for the time being). People finally “voted with their wallets,” and the repercussions may have lasting impact in the years to come.

The Punished Backlog's Best of 2017 Nominees

2017 also saw a resurgence in portable gaming with the release of Nintendo’s new flagship console-handheld hybrid: the Nintendo Switch. Selling 10 million units in 10 months, Nintendo has built an enormous install base in a short period of time. Independent developers and AAA publishers alike have flocked to the budding system, resulting in games like SkyrimL.A. NoireStardew Valley, and Rocket League making their way to a Nintendo console (and a handheld!) for the first time ever.


For as rough a year 2017 has been both politically and socially, there’s a lot to celebrate when it comes to games. Through hours of passionate discussion and voting, we at The Punished Backlog have compiled our long list of favorites across a variety of awards and platforms.

We will be rolling out the winners gradually throughout the month of January in four different waves: Industry AwardsStorytelling and Presentation AwardsPlatform Awards, and lastly, the coveted Game of the Year Award.

For the time being, it is my pleasure to announce the full list of nominations for each award:

Game of the Year

Publisher of the Year

  • Bethesda Softworks
  • Blizzard Entertainment
  • Nintendo
  • Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Ubisoft

Developer of the Year

  • Atlus
  • Giant Sparrow
  • Guerrilla Games
  • Machine Games
  • Ninja Theory
  • Nintendo

Best PC Exclusive

  • Divinity: Original Sin II
  • Doki Doki Literature Club
  • Hollow Knight
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
  • Shadows of Adam

Best Microsoft Exclusive

  • Cuphead
  • Halo Wars 2
  • Slime Rancher

Best PlayStation Exclusive

  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn
  • NieR: Automata
  • Persona 5
  • That’s You
  • Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

Best Nintendo Exclusive

  • Golf Story
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
  • Metroid: Samus Returns
  • Super Mario Odyssey

Best Multi-Platform Game

  • Assassin’s Creed: Origins
  • Call of Duty: WWII
  • For Honor
  • Prey
  • What Remains of Edith Finch
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Rookie of the Year (Best New IP)

  • Cuphead
  • Golf Story
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
  • Hollow Knight
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

Best Indie Game

  • Battle Chasers: Nightwar
  • Cuphead
  • Doki Doki Literature Club
  • Golf Story
  • What Remains of Edith Finch

Most Improved Player

  • Assassin’s Creed: Origins
  • Call of Duty: WWII
  • NieR: Automata
  • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
  • Splatoon 2

Least Valuable Player

  • Destiny 2
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda
  • Scalebound
  • Star Wars Battlefront II

Gaming Moment of the Year

  • Discovering Creative Ways to Kill Robot Dinosaurs (Horizon: Zero Dawn)
  • Ending E: the [E]nd of yorha (NieR: Automata)
  • Flying off the Great Plateau (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
  • The Hunting Trip (What Remains of Edith Finch)
  • New Donk City’s Festival (Super Mario Odyssey)
  • Opening Cinematic (Persona 5)
  • Shooting Nazis from a Wheelchair (Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus)

Best New Character

  • Aloy (Horizon: Zero Dawn)
  • Grace Walker (Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus)
  • Kass (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
  • Makoto (Persona 5)
  • Monika (Doki Doki Literature Club)
  • Urbosa (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)

Best Narrative

  • Call of Duty: WWII
  • Doki Doki Literature Club
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn
  • NieR: Automata
  • Persona 5
  • What Remains of Edith Finch
  • Wolfenstein II: The Last Colossus

Best Performance

  • Abubakar Salim as Bayek (Assassin’s Creed: Origins)
  • Ashly Burch as Aloy (Horizon Zero Dawn)
  • Brian Bloom as B.J. Blazkowicz (Wolfenstein II: The Last Colossus)
  • Claudia Black as Chloe Frazier (Uncharted: The Lost Legacy)
  • Melina Juergens as Senua (Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice)
  • Valerie Rose Lohman as Edith Finch (What Remains of Edith Finch)

Biggest Surprise of the Year

  • Back-to-Back Announcements of New 2D and 3D Metroid Games
  • Cat Quest is as Cute as it is Fun to Play
  • Golf Story Turns Golf into a RPG
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice Comes Out of Nowhere
  • Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle Went From Laughingstock to Killer App
  • The Nintendo Switch Has a Banner Year
  • Sonic Mania Causes Sonic Mania

Best Soundtrack

  • Destiny 2
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • NieR: Automata
  • Persona 5
  • Super Mario Odyssey
  • What Remains of Edith Finch

Best Visuals

  • AER: Memories of Old
  • Cuphead
  • Hob
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn
  • Persona 5
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Most Anticipated Game of 2018

  • Detroit: Become Human
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ
  • Far Cry 5
  • Fire Emblem (Switch)
  • Kingdom Hearts III
  • Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Shenmue 3
  • Soulcalibur VI
  • World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth

Check back throughout the month of January for the full list of winners!

David Silbert

Author: David Silbert

David is the creator and editor of The Punished Backlog. A recent Penn graduate, David enjoys gaming and writing. Now, he’s combining his passions and doing both at the same time, all from the comfort of his French apartment!

Follow him on Twitter at @David_Silbert to keep up to date with all things The Punished Backlog.

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