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Game of the Year Awards 2008 - Most Promising RPG

by The RPGWatch Team, 2009-01-12

For two weeks you could vote for the Most Promising RPG to be released in 2009. Besides that we as editors also voted for the games that we thought will be the best RPGs in 2009.

 

The Winner: Dragon Age: Origins

It's exciting to see a diverse range of styles in the top selections – and the most promising RPG as selected by our readers is Dragon Age: Origins.

It's been a long time since BioWare released a game with the PC as the lead platform – 2002, in fact. There's no doubting their success since then but many fans hold Baldur's Gate II as their best game, so the idea that Dragon Age represents a spiritual successor is powerful. Free from the shackles of D&D, BioWare promises their darkest and most mature game to date and features like the origin stories are welcome. The video footage looks inspiring but, really, it's the sense of BioWare returning to their roots that is igniting the fanbase.

Dragon Age Dragon Age

 

The Runner up: Age of Decadence

It's not often an indie developer with no track record would gather such support but Vince D. Weller and team have been talking the talk – and hopefully, the gameplay lives up to the potential. So, what is the potential? A game meticulously designed to support character-driven roleplay – dialogue heavy, multiple approaches and solutions and meaningful choices that impact the gameworld. Without the restrictions of typical mainstream development, Iron Tower has been able to focus their efforts to build the game they want to build – if you've read the Let's Play! Features on RPGWatch (or the original thread on the official forums), you can't help but be impressed by the wealth of choices. They've also been refreshingly open to the community – and it looks like the community is impressed.

Age of Decadence Age of Decadence

 

Third Place: Diablo 3

There's a view that hack'n'slashers like Diablo are mindless drivel for the mainstream but this proves there's a strong demand among the RPG faithful for an action/RPG done right. Given the number of games that have tried to cash in on the Diablo formula over the years, it's amazing how many of them just don't get the core of Blizzard's design: easy to play, hard to master. Obviously, our readers trust Blizzard to deliver and recreate the addictiveness and longevity of the previous entries in the series.

Diablo 3 Diablo 3

 

Editors' Choice: Divinity 2

It seems like the Editors' Choice selections lean toward the sequels of games we've all been anticipating for years and which we hope will finally see the light of day next year.

With so many longstanding and hardcore devotees of the classic Divine Divinity on board, it's not a big surprise to see the long awaited sequel to Larian's groundbreaking title taking first place.  Divine Divinity is a unique game, combining the addictive traits of a hack'slash action/RPG with the open world, interaction and quests of Ultima along with a sense of humour and quirky style – if you've read our recent retrospective, you'll know how much we enjoyed Divine Divinity.  Divinity 2 looks to expand on this base with more choices, more consequences and some risky features – if they can integrate mind-reading and flying around as a dragon into the game beyond mere gimmickery, the potential is fascinating.

Coming in second, Bioware's Dragon Age:Origins, while not a sequel per se, is being promoted as the successor to the Baldur's Gate series and is almost as long awaited.  There's certainly a sense that this is the game from BioWare we've been wanting.

Our third place winner, Risen, the first effort by Piranha Bytes post-JoWood, is not precisely a sequel, but does purport to carry forward the spirit of the Gothic games.  We think Piranha Bytes learned a lot from the development of Gothic 3 and the return to a smaller, denser world with a more focused story should recreate their old magic.

Honorable mentions go to another series representative - perhaps the most famous - Blizzard's Diablo III, with the expanded publication of the German PnP-based title, Drakensang:The Dark Eye, Grotesque and Basilisk's indie rpg sequel Eschalon: Book II rounding out the field.

All in all, there's a lot to look forward to in the world of cRPGs in 2009.

 

The Numbers

The following tables shows the complete results of the voting.

Visitors' Choice
Rank Game Percentage
1 Dragon Age: Origins
19,4
2 Age of Decadence 19,0
3 Diablo 3 9,1
4 Divinity 2 - Ego Draconis 5,0
5 Alpha Protocol 4,4
6 Drakensang: The Dark Eye
3,7
7 Risen 3,8
8 Eschalon: Book II 2,1
9 Ultima 6 Project - The False Prophet 1,5

All other games scored a percentage of less than 1%.

Editors' Choice
Rank Game Percentage
1 Divinity 2
26,3
2 Dragon Age: Origins 21,3
3 Risen 18,8
4 Diablo 3
10,0
4 Grotesque
10,0
5 Drakensang: The Dark Eye 8,8
6 Eschalon: Book II 5,0

 

Box Art