The Canadian Game of the Year candidates have been announced by the Canadian Game Awards! The awards show will showcase the best games, studios and developers from across the Great White North. The Game of the Year is by far the most coveted award at any gaming awards.
Here’s a look at the Canadian GOTY candidates at the Canadian Game Awards.
Cadence of Hyrule – Brace Yourself Games
Nominated for: Best Art Direction, Best Game Design, Best Narrative, Best Soundtrack, Best Sound Design, Best Console Game, Best Indie Game, Game of the Year
Cadence of Hyrule was born as a joint venture between Vancouver’s Brace Yourself Games and Nintendo. It’s the follow up to Brace Yourself’s Crypt of the Necrodancer, an award-winning mix of dungeon crawler and a rhythm game.
Brace Yourself bills itself as an “indie katamari” made up of talented and experienced game makers from around the world. The Vancouver studio is also set to launch both Industries of Titan and Phantom Brigade later this year.
In Cadence of Hyrule, you play as either Link or Princess Zelda to help save the Kingdom of Hyrule from the forces of musical evil. The crossover features iconic Legend of Zelda enemies and items, mixed in with the gameplay mechanics and art style of Crypt of the Necrodancer.
The game features randomly generated dungeons and 25 remixes to classic LoZ tunes. Cadence of Hyrule quickly became one of the best indie games to come out for the Nintendo Switch in 2019, and looks to take home an armful of trophies at the CGAs. With it’s fun gameplay and fantastic soundtrack, don’t count Cadence of Hyrule out against the titles from bigger studios on this list.
Far Cry New Dawn – Ubisoft Montreal
Nominated for: Best Art Direction, Best Narrative, Best Performance, Best Sound Design, Game of the Year, Best PC Game
Ubisoft Montreal followed up the successful Far Cry 5 with a colorful, post-apocalyptic take on the series. It’s the prolific Canadian studio’s eighth Far Cry game, and the third spin off from the main series. The game follows the residents of Hope County, Montana following the events of Far Cry 5. Players will need to shoot their way through the apocalypse to take down antagonists Mickey, Lou and their Highwaymen gang.
Far Cry New Dawn’s colorful landscape and unique animal designs stood out in a big way, earning it several nods for art style at the Canadian Game Awards. The game is truly Canadian-made, with Ubisoft Toronto and Ubisoft Montreal sharing the workload to bring New Dawn to the masses.
The sandbox fun and chaos that we’ve come to expect from the modern Far Cry is here in droves. While the map is obviously based off of Far Cry 5, the vibrant redesigns help put a fresh coat of paint (literally) on Hope County. While fans were much more polarized about Far Cry: New Dawn than FC5, the game still has a great shot at Canadian Game of the Year.
Gears 5 – The Coalition
Nominated for: Best Art Direction, Best Game Design, Best Narrative, Best Performance, Best Soundtrack, Best Sound Design, Best Console Game, Game of the Year, Best PC Game
The Coalition has come a long way since its humble start in 2010. From a Facebook game to Microsoft Flight, the Vancouver studio became Microsoft’s main dev for the Gears of War series. The developers began working on Gears after the franchise was bought from Epic Games. Since then, The Coalition has remade the first GoW and developed both Gears 4 and Gear 5.
The game follows humanity’s recovery from the Locust while attempting to fight off the Swarm. The story shifts gears from a focus on JD Fenix to Kait Diaz as the franchise’s first female main protagonist. Fan fave Marcus Fenix returns once again and the whole game feels like a fresh coat of paint on the familiar Gears of War model. Don’t be surprised if Gears 5 manages to capture the Canadian Game of the Year title at the Canadian Game Awards.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 – Next Level Games
Luigi’s Mansion 3 was one of Nintendo’s most anticipated releases and became one of the best selling games of 2019. From it’s launch on Halloween to the end of 2019, the game had sold over 5 million copies and cracked the top ten best selling Nintendo Switch games.
Few people know that the dev team behind another successful Luigi’s Mansion game is proudly Canadian. Next Level Games is a Vancouver studio whose portfolio of work should be familiar to Nintendo fans. Next Level are the minds behind Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, the Mario Strikers series, and the Punch Out! Wii reboot.
In Luigi’s Mansion 3, everyone’s favorite Green Mario continues his ghost hunting adventures at the Last Resort Hotel. A luxurious stay for Luigi soon turns into a nightmare as ghosts from Luigi’s past come back to haunt him.
Beloved Luigi’s Mansion mechanics return with new tricks, such as a suction cup Poltergust attachment, and Luigi’s gooey lookalike, Gooigi. The game features co-op mode and party game mode to play when you’re done busting ghosts alone. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is sure to be a fan favorite for the Canadian Game of the Year.
Pistol Whip is one of the more unexpected games to make the Canadian Game of the Year shortlist. The VR title released on Steam in November 2019, and exploded in popularity.
Pistol Whip is a VR rhythm game which has you shooting at enemies as you move towards them. The music is intense, and the gameplay is exciting and fast. The vibrant art style and pounding electronic tracks show off this game’s fantastic art and sound design. Pistol Whip is about as close to a John Wick scene in VR as one can get.
The masterminds behind Pistol Whip are Vancouver Island’s CloudHead Games. They’re also the studio behind the Aperture Hand Lab tech demo for the Valve Index VR systems. With the success of Pistol Whip, I’m looking forward to seeing what CloudHead Games will have cooked up for VR in the future. While not the biggest game nominated, Pistol Whip is certainly worthy of consideration for Canadian Game of the Year.
Players and fans can tune in to see who wins the Canadian Game of the Year and a host of other awards at the Canadian Game Awards this April. The CGAs are a celebration of all things in the Canadian video game industry. The awards will highlight Canadian games, content creators, video game studios and personalities.
Stay tuned to SQUAD for coverage of the first annual Canadian Game Awards on Apr. 9!