The P2 Awards 2023 – Most Disappointing

The P2 Awards 2023 - Most Disappointing

It is that time of year folks, the time when the P2 crew sit down around a fire, roasting chestnuts, drinking a nice beverage before arguing excessively about the best games of the year. There is no doubt that 2023 had some absolute bangers to share with players and here, the P2 team have listed their favourites. Now it is sadly time for our biggest disappointments from the year. 

Matt Hewson - The Last of Us: Part 1 - PC Port

First things first. This year was a chronic disappointment in terms of the industry’s treatment of devs. I am supremely underqualified to talk about it with any authority, but it doesn’t take an expert to see that big business is looking to make even more profit by giving all the hard-working folk that make the games an unwelcome rogering. That said I am here to talk about the games themselves and as far as disappointments go, The Last of Us’ PC port is as disappointing as it gets.

What should have been a slam dunk for Sony turned into an absolute shit show of poorly optimised tech that took a good 3 months to even come close to fixing. It is simply one of the worst PC ports in recent memory and that is saying something in a year of dodgy ports. It also shows that Sony still clearly doesn’t understand the PC market at all and if they want to make inroads, they are going to need to do a lot better. 

I do have a (dis) honourable mention, Ashes Cricket 24. What a backward step for the one sport that Big Ant historically have done well with. They are just taking the piss at this point. 

Sarah Ellen - Fire Emblem Engage

The gameplay and more dynamic battle animations were top-tier, but Fire Emblem Engage’s story took advantage of a far-too-simple “good vs evil” dynamic that I just don’t resonate with in Fire Emblem games anymore. Being spoiled by a complex political web in Fire Emblem: Three Houses probably did not help, but even Fire Emblem: Fates dealt with more complexity and conflict in its duality of nations than what I experienced here. Similarly, I felt more invested in the protagonist in Fates and Three Houses (and definitely was more invested in my companions in Three Houses as well), I did not feel the same about my companions in Engage. the dialogues with previous Emblems felt incredibly shallow, where there could have been a wonderful opportunity to learn more about their history, and there were artificial barriers around which characters spoke to each other.

Shaun Nicolls - Minecraft Legends

While Minecraft Legends was the perfect opportunity to bring RTS action to the world of Minecraft, instead players were left with a game that felt like a slog. The narrative of the game was pretty basic and combat is more about throwing cannon fodder at your enemies than employing military strategy. There were definitely some questionable design choices employed during development. The PvP aspects may have saved this game but I was already over it before they had a chance to shine.

Rob Caporetto - Industry Layoffs

For many, 2023 will go down as one of those prime years for gaming, with an incredible number of great games seeing release. 

But that isn’t the whole story, as it’s also been a year which has been horrible for those who make the games we enjoy. But it’s not only been problematic for those who create games, but also for those who write and critique them as well. 

This isn’t just a case of projects winding up though, which is a normal (but sad) part of game development, but a symptom of a wider issue. One in which the suits at the tops of studios, and their publishers are addicted to the nonsense that the line must always go up. 

But there’s also the nonsense of mergers and acquisitions that haven’t helped either – with their consequences leading to plenty more people being let go, and continuing to struggle with finding work. Right as we close in on the end of the year. 

The biggest disappointment of course is in the suits at the top surviving all of this without a hit to their pay packets and personal wealth. Maybe it’s just that I’m feeling the 2023 vibes, but it is beyond reprehensible that they’re able to inflict such careless hurt and trauma onto those they’re supposed to manage, yet escape unscathed with no penalties for their mismanagement and short-sightedness. 

It’s a sad reminder that the games industry continues to grind many in its employ down into dust, and hopefully this becomes the breaking point where real action may happen to turn this around.

Stephen del Prado - Redfall

I know it’s not totally their fault, but this one really bummed me out coming from Arkane. Having put together some of my favourite games of the past decade such as Dishonored 2 and Prey and coming off Deathloop, the core premise of Redfall was something the Arkane Austin team didn’t quite live up to. I’m really hoping their next project is given the time and space it needs to hit the same highs the studio has in the past.

Paul James - Hollow Knight: Silksong

The Most Anticipated Platform Games of 2021

I don’t know if you heard, but Hollow Knight: Silksong was supposed to be out this year. Millions were anticipating it due to the fact that the game was announced to launch before June 2023 by Microsoft during it’s showcase in June 2022, but sadly that never eventuated. The game still doesn’t have a release date, despite it having been in gestation for more than 5 years already. Every Keighley showcase or Nintendo Direct comes along and my hopes prick up, only for them to be repeatedly dashed. The pain that Team Cherry is inflicting upon us is beginning to leave a scar now. I played this game in 2019 at PAX AUS, surely I cannot be left to wait another year. 

Jason Hawkins - Starfield

Starfield hype was at maximum. People were champing at the bit to see this come out and whilst many loved it, a lot didn’t. It’s not that it didn’t live up to the hype, in particular. It felt like a Skyrim mod in some ways, using space only as a veneer where other games use it as a sandbox. Ships were small and weird, planets were devoid of excitement outside of set locations and it was a chore to do a lot of actions in game. I think it’ll come good eventually, but for now I’ll just give it the ol’ applause whilst making farting noises with my mouth.

Tim Henderson - Industry Short Sightedness

This is probably the easiest yearly disappointment that there has ever been… and hopefully ever will be. It’s so bad I will even be a bit disappointed if variations of what I’m putting here from other P2 peeps don’t make up the bulk of this section. 

It felt like it all started at the end of last year with a round of layoffs at IGN – a more innocent time when it might have been possible to look at this as a one-off bad thing. Other outlets soon followed, and then the industry just seemed to cave in upon itself. There’s no neat, official number, but it’s realistic to say that there have been at least seven thousand layoffs within the gaming industry this year. That is an absolutely insane number, and many of those could probably have been prevented, but of course those at the top of these companies have trouble seeing past quarterly stock performance and somehow missed the incredibly obvious memo that said that the pandemic-influenced sales spike of 2020 and low interest rate loans extremely temporary things. 

I hope that these shitstains enjoy driving their Ferraris or whatever around. Maybe they can give a lift to some of the likely thousands of staff that have had to uproot their families in the hunt for new employment.

Jess Zammit - The Game Awards

I thought about this award a lot. I considered choosing a title I played that didn’t quite meet expectations, but in what was undeniably a shitty year for making games, that isn’t the kind of downer I want to be. Then I considered using this time to vent about the fact that Alan Wake II was apparently actually amazing and that now I’m going to have to play it. But that didn’t feel right either. Not when the true issue is much bigger than that. It may have been an amazing year for games, but it was a horrendous year for the games industry. Somewhere around 10,000 devs have been made redundant this year (myself included, hooray!), so the industry’s future looks… a little rocky.

And the most disappointing bit? The Game Awards, arguably one of the biggest celebrations of games in the calendar, glossed over that fact entirely. It failed to acknowledge that we as an industry are struggling, and instead of giving proper time to those developers who did manage to produce incredible art in this absolute trashfire of a year, it dedicated those moments to allowing celebrities to do some (in my opinion) fairly unfunny ad-libbing. I just want us to do better. I want people to be able to continue making these things that bring us so much joy, without worrying about how they’re going to pay their rent. 

Have you seen our Merch Store?

Check out our Most Recent Video

Find us on Metacritic

Check out our Most Recent Posts