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The Game Awards 2018: God of War and Red Dead dominate

Kratos looks back over his shoulder at his son, sat in a boat behind him. Image copyright Sony
Image caption God of War told the story of Kratos's relationship with his son

The Christmas countdown clock is ticking, and you might be wondering what games to ask for in your stocking.

With so many launching every month, it can be tricky to pick out the must-plays.

The Game Awards recognises the best games released every year, and has announced the full list of nominees.

Perhaps unsurprisingly Red Dead Redemption II and God of War lead the pack, with eight nominations each.

Image copyright Chesnot // Getty Images
Image caption Red Dead Redemption II was critically acclaimed on its release

Both were nominated for the highest prize, Game of the Year, alongside Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Celeste, Marvel's Spider-Man and Monster Hunter: World.

Despite only being in their fifth year, The Game Awards are often cited as "The Oscars of Gaming" - but with one key twist.

The glitzy, star-studded show is always peppered with trailers for the biggest unreleased games, so it's a night to congratulate recent successes while looking forward to future ones.

Another distinctive element is The Game Awards' fan vote system. The final winners of each category are chosen by a blended vote between a jury of games industry professionals (90%), and the public (10%).

While there are some predictable nominees in this year's line-up, YouTube producer and games critic Louise Blain believes some unexpected patterns emerged.

"What's really refreshing to see is that the majority of the game of the year awards are huge single player experiences," she tells Newsbeat.

"With all the discussion over the last few years of the future of games being depressingly described as an ongoing 'service', the success of games like Assassin's Creed Odyssey and God of War shows that there's still an absolute love for brilliant single player games."

Games as a service (GaaS) is industry jargon referring to how players are encouraged to spend more money through a steady drip feed of new in-game content.

"There's no denying the power of Fortnite, which is nominated elsewhere, but single player games aren't going anywhere."

You can read the full list of nominees across 23 categories below.

Game of the Year

Assassin's Creed Odyssey (Ubisoft Quebec / Ubisoft)

Celeste (Matt Makes Games)

God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)

Marvel's Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / SIE)

Monster Hunter: World (Capcom)

Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)

Best Ongoing Game

Destiny 2 (Bungie / Activision)

Fortnite (Epic Games)

No Man's Sky (Hello Games)

Overwatch (Blizzard)

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege (Ubisoft Montreal / Ubisoft)

Best Game Direction

A Way Out (Hazelight Studios / EA)

Detroit: Become Human (Quantic Dream / SIE)

God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)

Marvel's Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / SIE)

Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)

Best Narrative Game

Detroit: Become Human (Quantic Dream / SIE)

God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)

Life is Strange 2: Episode 1 (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix)

Marvel's Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / SIE)

Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)

Best Art Direction

Assassin's Creed Odyssey (Ubisoft Quebec / Ubisoft)

God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)

Octopath Traveler (Square Enix / Acquire / Nintendo)

Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)

Return of Obra Din (3909 LLC)

Best Score / Music

Celeste (Lena Raine)

God of War (Bear McCreary)

Marvel's Spider-Man (John Paesano)

Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom (Joe Hisaishi)

Octopath Traveler (Yasunori Nishiki)

Red Dead Redemption 2 (Woody Jackson)

Best Audio Design

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (Treyarch Studios / Activision)

Forza Horizon 4 (Playground Games / Turn 10 Studios / Microsoft Studios)

God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)

Marvel's Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / SIE)

Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)

Best Performance

Bryan Dechart as Connor, Detroit: Become Human

Christopher Judge as Kratos, God of War

Melissanthi Mahut as Kassandra, Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Roger Clark as Arthur Morgan, Red Dead Redemption 2

Yuri Lowenthal as Peter Parker, Marvel's Spider-Man

Games for Impact

11-11 Memories Retold (Digixart / Aardman Animations / Bandai Namco Entertainment)

Celeste (Matt Makes Games)

Florence (Mountains / Annapurna Interactive)

Life is Strange 2: Episode 1 (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix)

The Missing: JJ Macfield and the Island of Memories (White Owls / Arc System Works)

Best Independent Game

Celeste (Matt Makes Games)

Dead Cells (Motion Twin)

Into the Breach (Subset Games)

Return of the Obra Dinn (3909 LLC)

The Messenger (Sabotage Studio)

Best Mobile Game

Donut County (Ben Esposito / Annapurna Interactive)

Florence (Mountains / Annapurna Interactive)

Fortnite (Epic Games)

PUBG Mobile (Lightspeed & Quantum / Tencent Games)

Reigns: Game of Thrones (Nerial / Developer Digital)

Best VR / AR Game

Astro Bot Rescue Mission (SIE Japan Studio / SIE)

Beat Saber (Beat Games)

Firewall Zero Hour (First Contact Entertainment / SIE)

Moss (Polyarc Games)

Tetris Effect (Resonair / Enhance, Inc)

Best Action Game

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (Treyarch / Activision)

Dead Cells (Motion Twin)

Destiny 2: Forsaken (Bungie / Activision)

Far Cry 5 (Ubisoft Montreal / Ubisoft)

Mega Man 11 (Capcom)

Best Action / Adventure Game

Assassin's Creed Odyssey (Ubisoft Quebec / Ubisoft)

God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)

Marvel's Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / SIE)

Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Eidos Montreal / Crystal Dynamics / Square Enix)

Best Role-Playing Game

Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age (Square Enix / Square Enix)

Monster Hunter: World (Capcom)

Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom (Level 5 / Bandai Namco Entertainment)

Octopath Traveler (Square Enix / Acquire / Nintendo)

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire (Obsidian Entertainment / Versus Evil)

Best Fighting Game

BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle (Arc System Works)

Dragon Ball FighterZ (Arc System Works / Bandai Namco Entertainment)

Soulcalibur 6 (Bandai Namco Studios / Bandai Namco Entertainment)

Street Fighter 5 Arcade (Dimps / Capcom)

Best Family Game

Mario Tennis Aces (Camelot Software Planning / Nintendo)

Nintendo Labo (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)

Overcooked 2 (Ghost Town Games / Team 17)

Starlink: Battle for Atlas (Ubisoft Toronto / Ubisoft)

Super Mario Party (NDCube / Nintendo)

Best Strategy Game

Battletech (Harebrained Schemes / Paradox Interactive)

Frostpunk (11 bit studios)

Into the Breach (Subset Games)

The Banner Saga 3 (Stoic Studio / Versus Evil)

Valkyria Chronicles 4 (Sega CS3 / Sega)

Best Sports / Racing Game

FIFA 19 (EA Vancouver / EA Sports)

Forza Horizon 4 (Playground Games / Turn 10 Studios / Microsoft Studios)

Mario Tennis Aces (Camelot Software Planning / Nintendo)

NBA 2K19 (Visual Concepts / 2K Sports)

Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 (PES Productions / Konami)

Best Multiplayer Game

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (Treyarch / Activision)

Destiny 2: Forsaken (Bungie / Activision)

Fortnite (Epic Games)

Monster Hunter: World (Capcom)

Sea of Thieves (Rare / Microsoft Studios)

Best Student Game

Combat 2018 (Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences - Norway)

Dash Quasar (UC Santa Cruz)

JERA (Digipen Bilbao, Spain)

LIFF (ISTART Digital - France)

RE: Charge (MIT)

Best Debut Indie Game

Donut County (Ben Esposito / Annapurna Interactive)

Florence (Mountains / Annapurna Interactive)

Moss (Polyarc Games)

The Messenger (Sabotage Studio)

Yoku's Island Express (Villa Gorilla)

Best Esports Game

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Dota 2

Fortnite

League of Legends

Overwatch

Best Esports Player

Dominique "SonicFox" McLean (Echo Fox)

Hajime "Tokido" Taniguchi

Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao (Royal Never Give Up)
Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev (Natus Vincere)

Sung-hyeon "JJoNak" Bang (New York Excelsior)

Best Esports Team

Astralis (CSGO)

Cloud9 (LOL)

Fnatic (LOL)

London Spitfire (Overwatch)

OG (Dota 2)

Best Esports Coach

Bok "Reapered" Han-gyu (Cloud9)

Cristian "ppasarel" Bănăseanu (OG)

Danny "zonic" Sørensen (Astralis)

Dylan Falco (Fnatic)

Jakob "YamatoCannon" Mebdi (Team Vitality)

Janko "YNk" Paunovic (MiBR)

Best Esports Event

ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018

Evo 2018

League of Legends World Championship

Overwatch League Grand Finals

The International 2018

Best Esports Host

Alex "Goldenboy" Mendez

Alex "Machine" Richardson

AndersBlume
Eefje "Sjokz" Depoortere

Paul "RedEye" Chaloner

Best Esports Moment

C9 Comeback Win In Triple OT vs FAZE (ELEAGUE)
KT vs IG Base Race (LOL Worlds)
G2 Beating RNG (LOL Worlds)

OG's Massive Upset of LGD (DOTA 2 Finals)

SonicFox Side Switch Against Go1 in DBZ (EVO)

Content Creator of the Year

Dr. Lupo

Myth

Ninja

Pokimane

Willyrex

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