The Game Awards 2023 proved to be a controversial show for a number of reasons, including Starfield kind of declaring itself the winner of Game of the Year.
In 2010, figure skater Evgeni Plushenko controversially fell short of winning a gold medal in the Vancouver Olympic Games. Competitors and analysts in the sport generally supported the idea that Plushenko had wrongly landed in second place due to technicalities stemming from a new scoring system. Plushenko ultimately wound up taking a significant amount of criticism for his handling of the ordeal however, after he publicly declared himself the “platinum medal” winner of the event.
This is just a footnote in Plushenko’s overall history in 2023, as he was largely regarded as the greatest in his sport’s history even before 2010 and grew his trophy mantel further afterward. Starfield seemingly took a page out of Plushenko’s book at The Game Awards 2023, but without the “greatest of all time” bona fides to go along with them.
Is Starfield the 2023 Game of the Year?
Starfield did not win any awards at The Game Awards 2023, nor has it won any notable Game of the Year awards.
At The Game Awards 2023, Starfield was nominated for exactly one award; RPG of the Year. It lost that category to Baldur’s Gate 3, which was the big winner of the night after taking home 2023 Game of the Year and five other awards.
The biggest feather in Starfield’s cap thus far is winning Xbox Game of the Year in the 2023 Golden Joystick Awards. This event was also ultimately dominated by Baldur’s Gate 3.
This didn’t keep Starfield from talking itself up, though. During The Game Awards 2023, an ad ran for the game highlighting its best reviews and most glowing praise from critics. This was immediately followed by an awkward quote that vaguely congratulated the actual nominees. The moment drew jeers from across social media, resulting in a retread of the criticisms of the game.
The ad and its aftermath continued what has been an awkward post-honeymoon phase for Starfield and its creators. Though Bethesda Game Studio once had a sterling reputation, it has found itself actively fighting its own fans online and having its other work examined through a more critical lens. Starfield’s player count has also slipped below that of Skyrim, something that might have the studio and Xbox a bit worried.
It also compounded what has been an awkward installment of The Game Awards, with discourse centered on wisecracks about Modern Warfare 3 and criticism of the short time given to winners for acceptance speeches. The blame for this seemingly lies with the many ads, either overt or subtle, that resulted in less than 20% of the overall runtime being dedicated to the actual award winners.