The Game of the Year nominees are finally out and while amazing titles such as Resident Evil Village and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart make the list, Forza Horizon 5 has been snubbed.
The official list was announced on November 16, including six of the ‘best’ games released in 2021.
As always, there is a cutoff point for games to be eligible – which many Forza Horizon fans might have conceded could be the reason why the game hasn’t been included. After all, right across the board, it has achieved critically-acclaimed status, with multiple perfect scores being handed out by news outlets.
Despite all of that success surrounding its launch, a quick glance at the requirements for selection shows that the cutoff was actually November 19, 2021. That’s 10 days after Horizon 5 hit the shelves – meaning it was eligible and has been rejected.
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In a year hamstrung with release date delays, developers failing their audiences by selling broken games (looking at you, Cyberpunk 2077), and a lack of excitement in relation to the gaming calendar, Forza Horizon 5 should make the list.
Let’s look at the Game of the Year contenders.
Game of the Year nominees: 2021
- It Takes Two
- Metroid Dread
- Psychonauts 2
- Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
- Resident Evil Village
A second potential excuse would have been that this year’s list perhaps focuses on ‘first in the franchise’ games, but that’s not the case either. There are sequels on the list, clearly, which begs the question of why the best driving game in Microsoft’s successful series was left out?
Playground Games made impeccable inclusivity changes – such as transgender character customization, the addition of ASL/BSL interpreters – which has put the game in contention for an Accessibility award.
Even with the fantastic rework to gameplay, the new Mexico map, and the best cars list of the entire series, Forza Horizon 5 has been omitted.
With a franchise like this, it’s always tough to keep reinventing the wheel and going again, improving what the community is so familiar with. Look at FIFA, NFL, NHL, and other sports titles to see how their player bases respond to routine titles. Here’s a spoiler, they are usually livid at the lack of content or bored of the same old crap.
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Now, Horizon 5 didn’t do that – it’s so good it’s already smashed records on Xbox, with the highest player count in Xbox Games Studios history.
Forza Horizon 5’s developers announced and launched arguably the perfect driving game in a five-month window. At a time where developers have disappointed their fans so often that it’s become the norm, Playground delivered. The fact that they are not getting the recognition they deserve at The Game Awards on December 9 is a bloody disgrace.
Sorry, somebody had to say it.