Death Stranding or Control? We predict the winners for The Game Awards 2019

The Game Awards 2019 will be streamed live on Thursday, December 12, and will feature some of the biggest games released all year alongside brand-new game announcements. We have very little idea of what Geoff Keighley and his staff have planned regarding new reveals, but the nominees are publicly available and Digital Trends even got the chance to be on the official jury.

Just like you, we have no idea what will end up taking the top prize. Below, we’ve rounded up nominees across some of the night’s biggest categories and predicted winners. These aren’t necessarily games we voted for, but rather the titles we think have the best chance of winning in each category. Our predicted winners are in bold.

Game of the Year

  • Control
  • Death Stranding
  • Resident Evil 2
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  • The Outer Worlds

Control released during a relatively dry period over the summer, but it has remained in the Game of the Year conversation for months as we’ve seen other acclaimed games all but vanish. It’s flashy and ambitious, has tremendous visual design, and its weirdness is kept just enough in check to avoid losing players during its opening hours. Its blend of Remedy Entertainment’s signature third-person shooting and creative narrative design certainly won over critics looking for more than just another sequel.

Best Action Game

V | Devil May Cry 5 Impressions
CAPCOM
  • Apex Legends
  • Astral Chain
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  • Devil May Cry 5
  • Gears 5
  • Metro Exodus

This category is particularly brutal, with first-person and third-person shooters also included, but Capcom’s Devil May Cry 5 was such a triumphant success that it’s difficult to see it losing to one of the other nominees. The game managed to deliver three drastically different combat styles, including the ridiculously deep move-set of Dante, and it only gets better when you start it up again for another playthrough.

Best Action-Adventure Game

Sekiro easy mode mod FromSoftware Souls games gameplay difficulty
  • Borderlands 3
  • Control
  • Death Stranding
  • Resident Evil 2
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

From Software didn’t just copy the formula it had established with the Souls games for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and instead boiled it down to its most basic elements and layered an incredible new melee combat system on top. Parrying and damage “posture” makes every battle in Sekiro feel like a legendary duel, and the game’s gorgeous take on feudal Japan is a blast to explore. It isn’t for newcomers, as it’s brutally difficult, but Sekiro is one of the most rewarding games ever made.

Best Fighting Game

  • Dead or Alive 6
  • Jump Force
  • Mortal Kombat 11
  • Samurai Shodown
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Perhaps the easiest prediction of the entire show, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a lock for the Fighting Game category. Featuring every single character from past title,s as well as several new fighters, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate more than lives up to its name, and it’s one of the first games anyone with a Nintendo Switch should buy. It doesn’t hurt its chances that aside from Mortal Kombat 11, it isn’t facing any huge competition this year.

Best Game Direction

  • Control
  • Death Stranding
  • Resident Evil 2
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
  • Outer Wilds

Say what you want about Hideo Kojima, but he is nothing if not original. Death Stranding is the best example yet of his unique vision, as his first project post-Konami is bizarre and something that only Kojima himself could create. Though not always entirely effective, that commitment to his creation – and not falling victim to current industry trends – mean that Death Stranding will almost certainly win this award.

Best Independent Game

  • Baba is You
  • Disco Elysium
  • Katana Zero
  • Outer Wilds
  • Untitled Goose Game

Only being available on PC at the moment could hurt its chances, but Disco Elysium is one of the best-received games of the year, independent or otherwise. Its deep storytelling and role-playing mechanics, as well as its knack for world-building, have helped it to compete with other games made on far larger budgets. Despite Untitled Goose Game becoming a full-fledged meme, its very short length means more time has likely been spent making jokes about it than actually playing it.

Best Multiplayer Game

  • Apex Legends
  • Borderlands 3
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  • Tetris 99
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

Blending nostalgic callbacks to the original games with brand-new gameplay mechanics, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s competitive multiplayer is absolutely excellent, and its free map and mode updates mean that players can keep enjoying the game as a community for years to come. It doesn’t take the risks of something like Apex Legends, but a competitive mode done right is not as easy as it sounds.

Best Narrative

The Outer Worlds Ellie
  • A Plague Tale: Innocence
  • Control
  • Death Stranding
  • Disco Elysium
  • The Outer Worlds

The Best Narrative category is tremendously competitive this year, but Obsidian Entertainment just might be the frontrunner with its role-playing game The Outer Worlds. Overtly political in a way that other games seem to be afraid of being, The Outer Worlds understands what makes classic science-fiction stories effective — and it isn’t just the cool gadgets and remote locations. Fantastic dialogue and characters worth caring about will only help the game’s chances.

Best Role-playing Game

  • Kingdom Hearts III
  • Monster Hunter World – Iceborne
  • The Outer Worlds
  • Disco Elysium
  • Final Fantasy XIV

Though it’s a bit unusual to give this award to an expansion rather than a full game, Monster Hunter World – Iceborne packs in so much content that it probably could have been released as a sequel. In its favor, it boasts the same tremendous mix of monster-battling combat, world exploration, and customization options as the original game. Its main competition will be The Outer Worlds and Disco Elysium, but Iceborne could just surprise everyone.

Best Strategy Game

  • Age of Wonders Planetfall
  • Anno 1800
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses
  • Total War: Three Kingdoms
  • Tropico 6
  • Wargroove

You could make the argument that Fire Emblem: Three Houses belongs in the role-playing game category, but it has been assigned to Best Strategy, and with that in mind, we think it’s a lock for this award. Intelligent Systems took the tried-and-true turn-based gameplay the series is known for and streamlined it without simplifying it too much. It also introduced new mechanics like the Gambit system to completely transform how battles play out.

Best Score and Music

  • Cadence of Hyrule
  • Death Stranding
  • Devil May Cry 5
  • Kingdom Hearts III
  • Sayonara Wild Hearts

Hideo Kojima’s friendships with other famous artists certainly went a long way in the development of Death Stranding, and that extends to the game’s gorgeous soundtrack. Alongside original music recorded by artists such as Chvrches and Major Lazer, it also includes several atmospheric and emotional tunes from Low Road. These tend to occur when protagonist Sam Porter Bridges is wandering by himself, and complement the game’s desolate world perfectly.

Best Performance

'Death Stranding': News, Rumors, and Everything We Know
Kojima Productions
  • Norman Reedus – Death Stranding
  • Ashly Burch – The Outer Worlds
  • Courtney Hope – Control
  • Laura Bailey – Gears 5
  • Mads Mikkelsen – Death Stranding
  • Matthew Porretta – Control

It was a year full of astounding performances, including several that weren’t even nominated due to such a crowded field, but Mads Mikkelsen’s supporting role in Death Stranding is absolutely phenomenal. Through a mix of flashbacks and present-day segments, we learn about a tortured soul who is just as menacing as he is sympathetic, and Mikkelsen is so enthralling that we patiently waited for his next scene whenever one ends.

The Game Awards 2019 begin at 5:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, December 12.

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