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May 23, 2024

Baldur’s Gate 3 Sweeps Major Categories in Controversial Steam Awards

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Jan 4, 2024

Baldur’s Gate 3 was the big winner at the 2023 Steam Awards, taking home the coveted Game of the Year prize as well as Best Environment and Best Story Rich Game. However, some questionable choices in other categories have led to accusations that the voting system is flawed or was gamed.

Baldur’s Gate 3 Praised as RPG Masterpiece

Developed by Larian Studios and released in early access in 2020, Baldur’s Gate 3 built tremendous word-of-mouth buzz over the past three years. The game combines deep roleplaying mechanics and freedom of choice with impressively cinematic presentation.

“It’s clear Baldur’s Gate 3 delivered an experience many Steam users felt was special,” said gaming analyst Paul Tassi. “The full release this year seems to have cemented its status as an all-time great computer RPG.”

Continuing the lineage of classic D&D-based games like Baldur’s Gate and Planescape: Torment, Larian’s take masterfully adapted the intricate ruleset of 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons. Critics praised the branching narratives, companion characters, and how player choices uniquely shape each adventure.

Key Baldur’s Gate 3 Honors

Award Category
Game of the Year Ultimate Game of 2023
Best Environment Visual Style
Best Story Rich Narrative

With extremely positive reviews and over 100,000 concurrent players on Steam, Baldur’s Gate 3 has clearly resonated with PC gamers who crave rich roleplaying. The Steam Awards recognition now places it among other legendary RPGs like The Witcher 3 and Skyrim as an elite tier fantasy title.

Suspicions Around Other Award Winners

However, some other 2023 Steam Award winners raised eyebrows and skepticism within the gaming community. In particular, Bethesda’s Starfield taking Most Innovative Gameplay provoked widespread doubt and mockery.

The ambitious sci-fi RPG had a notoriously rough launch last November filled with bugs, performance issues and stability problems. Reviewers generally praised the planetary exploration but criticized underdeveloped narrative and repetitive mission design. Fan reception was decidedly mixed.

“It’s hard to see how Starfield gameplay could be considered innovative in any way,” said Paul Tassi of Forbes. “The category may have been misunderstood or people chose it sarcastically.”

Similarly, perennial controversy magnet Red Dead Redemption 2 seemed a peculiar choice for Labor of Love five years after its initial release. While still popular, Rockstar has been routinely accused of focusing on monetized Online content rather than single-player expansions.

Calls to Overhaul Steam Award Selection Process

The skeptical reaction means that unlike past years, the 2023 Steam Awards may be remembered more for voter irregularities than celebrating achievements. Both gaming journalists and Steam users heavily criticized the winners list.

“These results make the whole thing feel like a sick joke,” posted one Steam forum user. “We really need a better nomination and voting system next time.”

Unlike meticulously structured ceremonies like The Game Awards, Steam has taken a loose crowd-sourced approach. But this has led to compromised integrity from trolls intentionally picking disingenuous options.

Many are calling for an overhaul using expert jury nominees before opening up voting, similar to film awards groups. This could help refocus on genuinely praiseworthy attributes. Otherwise the Steam Awards risk becoming meaningless or fatally irrelevant.

What Happens Next?

Looking ahead, Larian Studios hopes to finally exit early access and launch the full version 1.0 of Baldur’s Gate 3 later this year. Expectations will be sky-high after claiming Game of the Year. Can they stick the landing?

Meanwhile, Bethesda has extensive work ahead getting Starfield into acceptable shape. The developers have promised to support and enhance it for the long term. We’ll see if substantial improvements arrive over 2023 to bring it closer to their previous titans like Skyrim and Fallout.

Finally, calls for Steam to re-evaluate their awards process will likely intensify. As the biggest PC games platform, getting their crowning recognition right matters. For the good of developers and players alike, modernizing the Steam Awards to properly honor achievements needs to become a top priority. Otherwise this controversy seems destined to repeat itself annually.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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