What with the nominations for this year’s Game Awards now out, some fans feel that Armored Core VI didn’t get a fair shake.
The Game Awards is adjudicated by an international jury, with some additional votes from the public once games get nominated. The voting is still heavily skewed towards the closed jury though.
Back in August, games were added for appraisal and in amongst all of that Armored Core VI was nominated for a bunch of different categories. However, when the nominations were finalized, Armored Core VI was only nominated in one category, that of Best Action Game.
Pretty quickly, fans of the game picked up on this and thought that something wasn’t quite right. While there was no guarantee the game would win in all of its original categories, the fact it was eventually nominated in only one was strange (shown below).
In addition, other parts of the gaming press picked up on this, and thought it was odd that FromSoftware didn’t have a game in the Game of the Year category, despite having multiple wins in recent years.
It’s not like Armored Core VI didn’t review or sell well either, so I can understand that there has been a certain amount of confusion as to why it hasn’t been nominated for more awards.
While I am not all that bothered about The Game Awards, I can see that there may be an anti-mecha game bias prevalent in the Western gaming press, a bias that’s probably been there for a long time.
Out of curiosity, I also polled my followers on Twitter about whether they thought mecha games were somehow shunned by The Game Awards and the results were interesting.
In addition, Geoff Keighley made it very clear that he couldn’t stand mecha games around the time of Armored Core 4’s release (shown below). Admittedly, Keighley just presents The Game Awards and is not solely responsible for what games get nominated let alone win, but his clear issue with mecha games in the past is curious.
Maybe it was because the difficulty of the Armored Core games used to be an issue for some people in the press. However, Armored Core VI followed in the wake of Elden Ring. A tough and unforgiving game, much like the Souls games before it, That meant complaining about a game’s difficulty was not really tolerated anymore.
So when Armored Core VI rocked up with the same level of challenge as older Armored Core games, the Western gaming press couldn’t just dismiss it as too difficult this time around. They had to play it and actually “git gud”.
Games are already an abstract ruleset, so they are inherently complex from a functional standpoint. Mecha are also their own abstract ruleset, as they are fictional vehicle with a unique set of parameters on how they operated. When you combine the two, you aren’t just doubling a game’s complexity, you are squaring it.
There’s also another dynamic at play here and that’s the fact that mecha as a pop-cultural phenomenon has a sizable amount of history behind it across multiple types of media, such as manga and anime. Not to mention model kits and toys.
In short, the functional complexity coupled with its cultural framework is something that seems to irritate the Western press because it shows up their inability and ignorance to play and understand these types of games.
Whether that is an issue with the international jury of The Game Awards is not entirely clear, but the perception of a bias is already being questioned in a variety of places online.
Personally, I am not that fussed about what happens at The Game Awards, but I would like to see all gaming genres treated fairly in the press.
Armored Core VI is now available on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC. Feel free to also check out my review.
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