Logo for Byte Magazine at Ball State University

2021 Game Awards nominees announced, Xbox/Bethesda lead pack with ‘Deathloop’

<p>Image from <a href="https://thegameawards.com/" target="">TGA</a></p>

Image from TGA

The race for the 2021 Game Awards has begun.

Producer and host, Geoff Keighley, announced the field of nominees for all 30 award categories in a livestream presentation on Nov. 16.

Before tuning in to the official ceremony next month, here are the surprise submissions, big developments, and candidates for the most important night in gaming.

Game of the Year

It Takes Two - Hazelight Studios and Electronic Arts

Deathloop - Arkane Studios and Bethesda

Psychonauts 2 - Double Fine and Xbox Game Studios

Metroid Dread - Mercury Steam and Nintendo

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart - Insomniac Games and Sony Interactive Entertainment

Resident Evil Village - Capcom

Best Action/Adventure

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Metroid Dread

Psychonauts 2

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Resident Evil Village

Best Game Direction

Deathloop - Dinga Bakaba

Psychonauts 2 - Tim Schafer

Returnal - Harry Krueger

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart - Marcus Smith and Mike Daly

It Takes Two - Josef Fares

Best Narrative

It Takes Two - Hazelight Studios

Life is Strange: True Colors - Deck Nine

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy - Eidos Montreal

Psychonauts 2 - Double Fine

Deathloop - Arkane Studios

Best Performance

Erika Mori - Alex Chen (Life is Strange: True Colors)

Giancarlo Esposito - Anton Castillo (Far Cry 6)

Jason Kelley - Colt Vahn (Deathloop)

Maggie Robertson - Lady Dimitrescu (Resident Evil Village)

Ozioma Akagha - Julianna Blake (Deathloop)

Best Ongoing Game



Final Fantasy XIV Online

Genshin Impact


Best Score and Music

Cyberpunk 2077 - Marcin Przybyłowicz and Piotr T. Adamczyk

Deathloop - Tom Salta

NieR Replicant ver. 1.22474487139 - Keiichi Okabe

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy - Richard Jacques

The Artful Escape - Johnny Galvatron & Josh Abrahams

Best Indie Game

12 Minutes

Kena: Bridge of Spirits


Loop Hero

Death’s Door

Games for Impact

Life is Strange: True Colors

Boyfriend Dungeon

Before Your Eyes

Chicory: A Colorful Tale

No Longer Home

Innovation in Accessibility

Far Cry 6

Forza Horizon 5

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

The Vale: Shadow of the Crown

Most Anticipated Game

Elden Ring

Horizon Forbidden West

The Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild


God of War Ragnarök


Deathloop (8 Nominations)

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (6 Nominations)

Psychonauts 2 (5 Nominations)

It Takes Two (5 Nominations)


Image from TGA

For the fifth year in a row, the “Content Creator of the Year” award is dominated by full-time streamers. Brazilian Counter-Strike: Global Offensive commentator “gAuLeS,” Spanish League of Legends commentator Ibai, American 100 Thieves streamer “Fuslie,” previously nominated Spanish Fortnite streamer “Grefg” and Minecraft YouTuber Dream are nominated.

Image from Bethesda

While the 2020 ceremony only had one publisher reach double-digit nominations—Sony Interactive Entertainment—in 2021, two more join the fray. Xbox Game Studios, and recently acquired Bethesda, lead with 20 nominations, S.I.E. is in second with 11, and Electronic Arts is tied with Square Enix in third with 10 apiece.

Image from Shedworks

Since release schedules picked back up this year after plenty of titles were delayed, there are a few notable games that fans will find missing from ballots this year in multiple categories: No More Heroes 3 and Persona 5 Strikers for Best Action, Axiom Verge 2 for Best Indie, Mario Golf Super Rush for Best Sports/Racing or Best Family Game, and Immortals Fenyx Rising and Outriders for Best Action Adventure.

Furthermore, while Shedworks and Raw Fury were nominated for Best Debut Indie with Sable, it was passed over for Best Art Direction.

In terms of viewership, 2020’s livestream marked the sixth consecutive year of growth for “the Oscars for the gaming world.” The Game Awards ceremony last year was streamed live over 83 million times, and peak concurrent viewers hit more than 8.3 million globally. Furthermore, fan voting in categories like Most Anticipated Game and Player’s Choice doubled with 18.3 million ballots cast by gamers across all platforms.

Even with that exponential rise, Keighley is still focused on keeping game announcements and world premieres front and center. In a recent interview with Epic Games, Keighley mentioned that this year’s ceremony will feature 40 to 50 games “someway or another,” whether that be new titles or updates to existing ones, just with less special guest presenters from outside the industry.

“You know, it's great to have celebrities, it's great to have music, but I think focusing really on games is important,” said Keighley. Last year featured presenters and special guests, such as Brie Larson, Christopher Nolan and Eddie Vedder.

Fan voting is now available online and on Bilibili if you are voting from China, until Dec. 8. This year, The Game Awards return to the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Thursday, Dec. 9.

Images: Bethesda, The Game Awards, Shedworks

Sources: The Game Awards, Epic Games