Readers may know me as one of Destructoid's local Destiny heads, but right now, we need to talk about the Video Game Awards (VGA). Namely, how Cyberpunk 2077 stole a 2023 award from another game and studio.

On December 7, the VGA named Cyberpunk 2077 the winner of the ceremony's Best Ongoing Game award. This was in spite of the fact that Cyberpunk went up against actual live service titles like Apex Legends, Fortnite, Genshin Impact, and Final Fantasy XIV.

As some may remember, Cyberpunk 2077 is not an "ongoing game." It's a single-player game and one that was released with disastrous initial results. The launch was so awash with issues that Sony would even quickly remove it from the PSN digital storefront. CD Projekt RED would go on to spend the better part of three years fixing the game.

As of 2023, the team has produced praise-worthy results with Cyberpunk 2077's 2.0 update. But the VGA's nomination logic seems flawed. So, the single-player Cyberpunk 2077 is an "ongoing game" because it was released so broken it needed years of work to function as intended? I'm not buying it.

How is the VGA defining an "ongoing game?"

Screenshot via CD Projekt RED/YouTube

Cyberpunk's win doesn't make sense when considering the spirit of the award category. The award should have gone to a live-service title that defines itself as an "ongoing game" by nature rather than circumstance. If Cyberpunk 2077 can be considered in the running for the best ongoing game, what criteria is the VGA using?

If Cyberpunk can be in the running, what about other games with updates still flowing? Warhammer 40K: Darktide, No Man's Sky, and Call of Duty: Warzone have all received game-changing updates after release. None of those games even received nominations. Hell, even a pick as out there as Team Fortress 2 still has more merit as an actual "ongoing game" than Cyberpunk 2077. So how could the obvious top-running candidates with nominations against Cyberpunk 2077 lose?

Don't get me wrong, what CD Projekt RED did was impressive. Many studios would rather take the L than spend additional years that could have been applied to another project fixing mistakes. I am in no way suggesting CD Projekt RED made the wrong decision there. The team's dedication to its product speaks for itself. However, I am saying that the VGA's evaluation of Cyberpunk 2077 as an "ongoing game" is wrong.

Another title missed out

Screenshot via Electronic Arts

With Cyberpunk winning this award, another deserving game missed out. The contenders for Best Ongoing Game, by nature, are unlikely to be nominated for many other characters. Sure, they may appear in less extravagant categories like Best Mobile Game or Best ESports Game. But the titles that end up in Best Ongoing Game are by nature rarely going to win the "big" awards like Game Of The Year. A game can't be Game Of The Year and Best Ongoing Game the year it's released; it's just not possible.

So, Cyberpunk 2077's nomination pushed another deserving title out of the running. And its win only served to swivel the spotlight away from the other contenders excelling in the field. Let's hope there's better consideration across nomination categories next year. Less Gollum gets a well-received update and snags Best Ongoing Game in 2024.

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