The Lusties Nominees 2023 – GameLuster’s Game of the Year Awards

Welcome one and all to The Lusties, GameLuster’s annual roundup of the best and brightest in gaming this year. After a thorough and perhaps overly complex voting process, our staff has selected our favorite games of 2023 across 24 categories. Please look forward to our results later in December! Who will win? Who was snubbed? Let us know in the comments below!

Alan Wake 2
Game of the Year Nominee: Alan Wake 2 – Remedy Entertainment, Epic Games

Best Narrative

For outstanding storytelling, dialogue, and use of narrative that takes advantage of the gaming medium.

  • Alan Wake 2
  • A Space for the Unbound
  • Baldur’s Gate 3
  • El Paso Elsewhere
  • Spider-Man 2
  • The Fabulous Fear Machine

Hottest Character

For a character in a game this year that got us all riled up and actin’ a fool.

  • Jill Warrick (Final Fantasy XVI)
  • Juri (Street Fighter 6)
  • Karlach (Baldur’s Gate 3)
  • Dave (The Diver)
  • Professor Garlick (Hogwarts Legacy)
  • Purah (The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom)
  • Solomon Reid (Cyberpunk 2077)

Excellence in Robotics

For the best robot, automaton, or generally mechanical character from a video game this year. Beep boop.

  • BD-1 (Star Wars: Jedi Survivor)
  • CNMN (Hi-Fi Rush)
  • Mineru (The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom)
  • The Core (Steamworld Build)
  • VASCO (Starfield)

Biggest Disappointment

A game we had high hopes for that let us down one way or another. The winner of this award is forever banished to the Lustless Isles.

  • Callisto Protocol
  • Exoprimal
  • Redfall
  • Romancelvania
  • Starfield
  • The Lord of the Rings: Gollum
BG3
Game of the Year Nominee: Baldur’s Gate 3, Larian Studios

 

Best New IP

For the best new world filled with original characters and places that we just couldn’t stop exploring.

  • Chants of Sennaar
  • Corn Kidz 64
  • Dave the Diver
  • Lies of P
  • Starfield

Best Expansion

For a DLC or expansion that released this year that builds on what made the original game great while providing something innovative to mark a new and memorable experience.

  • Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty
  • Horizon: Burning Shores
  • Phasmophobia: Ascension 
  • Rain World: Downpour
  • The Case of the Golden Idol: The Spider of Lanka
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Future Redeemed

Best With Buddies

For a game in which playing alongside friends, whether on the couch or online, elevates the experience to incredible new heights.

  • Baldur’s Gate 3
  • Sons of the Forest
  • Storyteller
  • Street Fighter 6
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

The Barbenheimer Award

Awarded to the funniest pair of thematically disparate games that released on the same day this year.

  • Assassin’s Creed Mirage/Detective Pikachu Returns
  • Atomic Heart/Like a Dragon Ishin
  • Bayonetta Origins/WWE 2k23
  • Forspoken/Hi-Fi Rush
  • Spider-Man 2/Super Mario Bros Wonder
FFXVI
Game of the Year Nominee: Final Fantasy XVI, Square Enix

 

Indie Game of the Year

The best game from an independent developer with a smaller budget and team that stands up to and even surpasses the experiences AAA games can deliver.

  • 9 Years of Shadows
  • A Space for the Unbound
  • Chants of Sennaar 
  • Corn Kidz 64
  • Dredge
  • El Paso Elsewhere

Best Villain

For the most formidable, detestable, memorable, and perhaps love-to-hate-them villain in gaming this year. The winner will represent evil and chaos in a fresh way and be remembered for years to come.

  • Bobby Kotick
  • Cazador (Baldur’s Gate 3)
  • JK Rowling (Hogwarts Legacy)
  • Rehydrated Ganondorf (The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom)
  • The guy who stole all those copies of Starfield from the USPS warehouse and went to prison forever just to show grainy footage of the game 3 days early
  • Unity ft. John Riccitielo

Cozy Game of the Year

The best game that just made us feel all comfy. This game helped us escape the stress of the real world and snuggle in to a good time.

  • Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly
  • Escape from Mystwood Mansion
  • My Little Universe
  • Paquerette Down the Bunburrows
  • Smushi Come Home
lies of p
Game of the Year Nominee: Lies of P, Neowiz Games and Round8 Studio

 

Excellence in Diversity

For stepping above the status quo in representing racial, gender, or sexual minorities in gaming as real, three dimensional characters.

  • Baldur’s Gate 3
  • In Stars and Time
  • Jagged Alliance 3
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
  • Venba

“I Can Fix Them”

For a character in a game this year that is definitely not relationship material, but if you ignore all those pesky red flags I bet you could teach them to be decent person. What could go wrong?

  • Astarion (Baldur’s Gate 3)
  • Ganondorf (The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom)
  • Goro Majima (Like a Dragon Gaiden)
  • Mr. Coo (The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo)
  • The Princess (Slay the Princess)

Best Soundtrack

For excellence in using score and soundtrack to capture and define moments and vibes.

  • Baldur’s Gate 3
  • El Paso Elsewhere
  • Final Fantasy XVI
  • Sprawl
  • Starfield
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Pikmin 4
Game of the Year Nominee: Pikmin 4, Nintendo

 

Best Game World

For a world that feels so fantastical, well-realized, and beautiful that we feel like we really went there. This can be a fictional world or a recreation of a real place, but these worlds are defined by immersion and attention to detail.

  • Earth (Pikmin 4)
  • Grand Chien (Jagged Alliance 3)
  • Hyrule (The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom)
  • Solistia (Octopath Traveler II)
  • The Forgotten Realms (Baldur’s Gate 3)
  • The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo

Best Lead Performance

The best performance for a lead role by an actor or actress in a game this year, whether it’s just voice or full body motion capture.

  • Ben Starr – Clive Rosfield (Final Fantasy XVI)
  • Nadji Jeter – Miles Morales (Spider-Man 2)
  • Neil Newbon – Astarion (Baldur’s Gate 3)
  • Roger Clark – Jack Leary (Fort Solis)
  • Xalavier Nelson Jr. – James Savage (El Paso Elsewhere)

Best Supporting Performance

The best performance for a supporting role by an actor or actress in a game this year, whether it’s just voice or full body motion capture.

  • Amelia Tyler – The Narrator (Baldur’s Gate 3)
  • Elias Toufexis – Sam Coe (Starfield)
  • Joseph Balderrama – Arlecchino (Lies of P)
  • Julia Brown – Jessica Appleton (Fort Solis)
  • Matt Mercer – Ganondorf (The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom)
spider man 2
Game of the Year Nominee: Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, Insomniac Games and PlayStation Studios

 

Best Boss Fight

For the most memorable battle of the year. The winner will have multiple key elements such as an excellent villain, great design of the fight, and epic moments you still can’t get off your mind.

  • Dagan Gera (Star Wars: Jedi Survivor)
  • Demon Dragon (The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom)
  • Mimosa (Hi-Fi Rush)
  • Nameless Puppet (Lies of P)
  • Raphael (Baldur’s Gate 3)

Excellence in Art Design

For a game that brings a notable art style, impressive theming, and visual cohesion to a world that makes you want to just keep taking it in.

  • Alan Wake 2
  • Baldur’s Gate 3
  • Hogwarts Legacy
  • Layers of Fear
  • Rain World: Downpour

Best Kenergy

All you want to do is tell this person that they are Kenough.

  • Asterion (Stray Gods: A Roleplaying Musical)
  • Gale (Baldur’s Gate 3)
  • Ken (Street Fighter)
  • Peppino Spaghetti (Pizza Tower)
  • Sidon (The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom)

Best Living Game

For a game that has been receiving continual updates, expansions, and new content for at least a year and is better than ever.

  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Disney Dreamlight Valley
  • Genshin Impact
  • Marvel Snap
  • No Man’s Sky
  • Phasmophobia
TOTK 1
Game of the Year Nominee: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Nintendo

 

Most Anticipated

The games we are most excited for that are currently slated for release in 2024. We will present the top 5 of these in order!

  • Final Fantasy VII Rebirth
  • Haunted Chocolatier 
  • Little Nightmares III
  • Persona 3 Reload
  • Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II
  • The Wolf Among Us 2

The Best of the Rest

These are the best games this year that didn’t manage to nab a nomination in any of our categories, but still deserve recognition as some of the best of the year.

  • Armored Core VI
  • Assassin’s Creed Mirage
  • Cassette Beasts
  • Homebody
  • Sea of Stars

Game of the Year

To celebrate the game this this year that showed the best gaming has to offer over any other; whether its innovative gameplay, a fantastic story, mastery of a genre or all of the above.

  • Alan Wake 2
  • Baldur’s Gate 3
  • Final Fantasy XVI
  • Lies of P
  • Pikmin 4
  • Spider-Man 2
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

 

Make sure to follow us on social media for spotlights on our favorite games this year as we celebrate the nominations! Follow us on Twitter/X and Instagram and let us know in the comments below what your favorite games this year were!

 

 

 

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Jbumi
Jbumi
4 months ago

I look forward to the Lusties!! Great nominations as usual!! Here’s hoping that with the step down from Unity & sale to Microsoft, we’re seeing the last of Riccitielo & Kotick!!