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Our way-too-early Game of the Year 2024 predictions

 Hades 2 character .
Hades 2 character .

We're nowhere close to knowing what 2024's Game of the Year will be, but that won't stop us from guessing which ones will thrive come awards season. It's a competitive year with Elden Ring's Shadow of the Erdtree DLC on its way, Dragon's Dogma 2, Stalker 2, and an Indiana Jones game that could surprise us all.

We had the PC Gamer staff vote on a list of games for how likely they'll be showered in Game of the Year awards, be it from The Game Awards or any other outlet other than ourselves. Each voter had to place games on a numerical scale for how confident they are that a game will be worthy of all the awards. We then ranked the games against each other using an average of the scores.

The list of games was pulled from our Most Wanted list as well as a general 2024 release schedule. We stuck to games that are most likely to be released this year. That means the list can't account for surprise releases from games with no set date or games like Hi-Fi Rush that get announced and come out immediately. Consider this a vibe check for the games we expect to play this year and how strong their appeal will be when it's time to give out awards.

Below are some of the biggest observations we can make based on the results. There were some surprising scores and some games that I wouldn't have expected to be so neck-and-neck. And if you just want to see how everything ranks, the full list is below too.

Elden Ring will win a GOTY award again, but for its DLC

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree DLC artwork with a character on a horse in a golden field
Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree DLC artwork with a character on a horse in a golden field

Score: 3.47 (Likely)

No game could garner this much confidence from a single PNG and zero other information than Elden Ring. Its upcoming Shadows of the Erdtree DLC doesn't even have a release date and everyone at PC Gamer believes it'll run away with several awards. A huge part of that confidence is surely leftover from how ubiquitous the original game was when it was released in 2022, but real Souls fans know FromSoft always kills it with DLC. Some of the best parts of Dark Souls 1, 2, and 3 are tucked away in the new areas added after release. Elden Ring's big open world is ripe for expansion too.

Hades 2 will rule, early access or not

Hades 2 character Melinoe with her arms raised facing the viewer
Hades 2 character Melinoe with her arms raised facing the viewer

Score: 3.11 (Likely)

Our favorite action game of 2020 has a sequel and it's due out this year in early access. We strongly believe in the power of a hack-and-slash game full of beautiful gods and goddesses draw in Supergiant's impeccable style. That we're getting a direct sequel at all feels like we're getting spoiled. Hades wasn't the first videogame to win a Hugo Award for nothing. Hades 2 might be coming for Elden Ring's throne, which means we all win.

Dragon's Dogma's second time around will be a winner

Dragon's Dogma 2 screenshot
Dragon's Dogma 2 screenshot

Score: 2.61 (Unlikely, but possible)

Dragon's Dogma deserves a second chance, according to many of PC Gamer's staff. A whole 12 years have passed since the original game's release (eight for PC players), and its biggest fans continue to preach about how creative its approach to open world exploration and combat were for the time. After the success of Elden Ring, it seems like more people are willing to put up with an experience that pushes back on your RPG habits and asks that you learn its esoteric systems. Prohibitive fast travel or no, we believe 2024 is the year of Dragon's Dogma 2.

Stalker 2 will be worth the wait

Stalker 2 screenshot - man standing in front of a table with a gun
Stalker 2 screenshot - man standing in front of a table with a gun

Score: 3.05 (Likely)

For years we've waited for a chance to return to the irradiated wastes in Stalker—14 years, in fact. The sequel to the first-person survival horror game was announced in 2010 and went through a pseudo-cancellation, a failed Kickstarter campaign, a reboot, and a few delays due to the war in Ukraine. Stalker 2 cannot catch a break. But if it can make its September release date, we believe it'll all be worth it.

A Thief-inspired stealth FPS could overshadow Star Wars Outlaws

Red-Clad Gloomwood merchant standing before table full of treasure
Red-Clad Gloomwood merchant standing before table full of treasure

Gloomwood score: 2.19 (Unlikely, but possible)
Star Wars Outlaws score: 2.05 (Unlikely, but possible)

Come December, we might be chatting more about a survival horror stealth FPS rather than Ubisoft's open world Star Wars game. Gloomwood continues to floor us with every update and we're guessing it might take off when it leaves early access this year. New Blood Interactive has nailed the gothic vibes and creative gameplay that few games pull off anymore. There's a world where the immersive sim hunger is satiated and Gloomwood takes over this year.

Star Wars Outlaws is just below it on our list, and although it's pitched as an open world action game, we're intrigued by its emphasis on the kind of mundanity Star Wars has largely left behind. The Andor TV show's success could be a sign that a Star Wars story with blasters and heists instead of lightsabers and clone armies might grab people's attention. Unlike Gloomwood, we haven't played Outlaws yet, so it's still tough to get an accurate read on how popular it'll be when it's out later this year.

Indiana Jones shows promise, but nobody is certain how good it'll be

Indiana Jones and the Great Circle
Indiana Jones and the Great Circle

Score: 2.00 (Unlikely, but possible)

MachineGames surprised us with the Indiana Jones and the Great Circle trailer last week—so much so, that we had to recast our votes. The new score didn't earn it first place, but it reflects a drop in some of our skepticism since the trailer's release. Indiana Jones has surprise hit potential as long as the Nazi punching and whip swinging are actually fun, and if Troy Baker can maintain his best Harrison Ford impression for the entire thing. MachineGames has embedded sharp narrative cores into the Wolfenstein games. The question is whether it can do the same here.

In a Palworld world, Ark 2 will struggle to make a splash

Ark 2  - Vin Diesel riding a dinosaur
Ark 2 - Vin Diesel riding a dinosaur

Score: 0.20 (Pessimistic)

Remember Ark 2? It's Palworld, but the Pokémon are dinosaurs. OK, it's more than that, but none of us are quite sure it's going to impress people this year. Vin Diesel is in it. Its combat will resemble soulslikes, and it will have an overhauled crafting system. Without any gameplay footage to go off of, though, it's hard to gauge the success of a multiplayer-focused survival game, especially while everyone is dazzled by Palworld. Ark 2 will need to have enough in its early access release to be an award contender and, right now, we're not very confident that will happen.

Destiny fans are losing hope for The Final Shape

Images from The Final Shape showcase
Images from The Final Shape showcase

Score: 0.40 (Pessimistic)

Of the people who care about Destiny 2 here, few of them believe in The Final Shape. The last expansion, Lightfall, wasn't so hot, and with a last-minute delay, The Final Shape's ability to turn the game around seems slim. And while it's already unlikely that a live service expansion would pick up multiple awards, The Final Shape's exceptionally low score on our list suggests that it won't even be enough to wow its own fans.

Suicide Squad will compete with Skull and Bones as the biggest disappointment of the year

Harley Quinn
Harley Quinn

Suicide Squad score: -0.89 (Pessimistic)
Skull and Bones score: -0.71 (Pessimistic)

At the bottom of our scores are Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League and Skull and Bones. Both games have dissolved any confidence we had left in them. Suicide Squad, which is due out next month, looks like an action game sanded down into dust by bland loot and XP systems. And Skull and Bones has us questioning whether it's real or not given how many delays (six so far) it's suffered. Their scores are low because everyone expects these games to be a mess. And even if they're not, it'll take a lot for these games to be compelling enough for Game of the Year awards. We're not holding our breath.

The full list

An assembled fleet of different classes of combat vessels, gathered in a planet's upper atmosphere in Homeworld 3.
An assembled fleet of different classes of combat vessels, gathered in a planet's upper atmosphere in Homeworld 3.

The results

  1. Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree (3.47)

  2. Hades 2 (3.11)

  3. Stalker 2: Heart of Chornobyl (3.05)

  4. Path of Exile 2 (2.69)

  5. Dragon's Dogma 2 (2.61)

  6. Homeworld 3 (2.53)

  7. Pacific Drive (2.47)

  8. Avowed (2.47)

  9. Frostpunk 2 (2.39)

  10. Stormgate (2.33)

  11. Harold Halibut (2.22)

  12. Final Fantasy 14: Dawntrail (2.22)

  13. Gloomwood (2.19)

  14. Hyper Light Breaker (2.08)

  15. Star Wars Outlaws (2.05)

  16. Skate Story (2.00)

  17. Still Wakes the Deep (2.00)

  18. Indiana Jones and the Great Circle (2.00)

  19. Tekken 8 (1.88)

  20. Nightingale (1.88)

  21. Helldivers 2 (1.85)

  22. Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 (1.73)

  23. Enshrouded (1.60)

  24. Life By You (1.58)

  25. Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn (1.00)

  26. Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 (0.83)

  27. Alone in the Dark (0.55)

  28. Destiny 2: The Final Shape (0.40)

  29. Ark 2 (0.20)

  30. Skull and Bones (-0.71)

  31. Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League (-0.89)