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The biggest night in gaming – the closest thing the industry has to its own Oscars ceremony – is almost upon us.

Live from Los Angeles in just a few days, The Game Awards will honour the best the medium had to offer this year, honouring everything from the biggest blockbusters to the smallest independent debuts.

Gaming reporter Martin Kimber and technology reporter Tom Acres are here with their tips for some of the most competitive categories – and you can keep scrolling for the full list of nominees.

Best game

A Plague Tale: Requiem
Elden Ring
God Of War Ragnarok
Horizon Forbidden West
Stray
Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Martin’s pick: Horizon Forbidden West

It’s very difficult to pull off a successful sequel, but Guerrilla Games has done just that. You’ll struggle to find a prettier game with a bigger, more expansive map. It offers excellent replayability and thus value for money, it is addictive, and did I mention it’s pretty? Plus, robot dinosaurs! What’s not to like?!

Tom’s pick: Stray

Quite the debut from French indie studio BlueTwelve Studio. This surprisingly moving dystopian adventure painted a bleak yet hopeful picture of the fragility of life, and how it endures. Not content with nuanced commentary on capitalism and its impact on the planet, you also play as a very cute cat. And there’s a meow button!

'Robot dinosaurs' made their return in Guerilla's sequel
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‘Robot dinosaurs’ made their return in Guerilla’s sequel. Pic: Sony
Stray features inarguably the cutest main character of the year
Image:
Stray features inarguably the cutest main character of the year

Best narrative

A Plague Tale: Requiem
Elden Ring
God Of War Ragnarok
Horizon Forbidden West
Immortality

Martin’s pick: Horizon Forbidden West

In the first Horizon, it felt like the developers came up with the concept of robot dinosaurs and built the whole game around that idea. However, this sequel boasts a much more fleshed out story, captivating even the players who just want to take on a mechanised velociraptor with a bow and arrow.

Tom’s pick: God Of War Ragnarok

God Of War’s reinvention four years ago was a triumph, plucking the vengeful protagonist Kratos out of his Greek comfort zone and into Norse mythology – with a son, no less. The stranger in a strange land setup was inherently less novel this time, but his metamorphosis from one of gaming’s most two-dimensional meatheads into a touching and relatable depiction of fatherhood goes from strength to strength, with quite the emotional pay-off.

Horizon Forbidden West was one of the best looking games of the year
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Horizon Forbidden West was one of the best looking games of the year. Pic: Sony
Kratos meets all manner of great characters on his latest journey, including Ratatoskr the squirrel
Image:
Kratos meets all manner of great characters on his latest journey, including Ratatoskr the squirrel

Best art direction

Elden Ring
God Of War Ragnarok
Horizon Forbidden West
Scorn
Stray

Martin’s pick: God Of War Ragnarok

I played this recently with some friends, who genuinely couldn’t tell the difference between the cinematics and the gameplay. If you basically want a playable, violent Pixar film, this is the game for you.

Tom’s pick: Elden Ring

FromSoftware’s games have always boasted tremendous art direction, and each have brought its dark, fantasy tendencies to bigger audiences. Elden Ring was a collaboration with Game Of Thrones creator George RR Martin, showcased by the sheer scope and detail of its world. There’s an almost impossible-to-imagine level of variety, with every corner you turn invariably offering something new. Best art or not, it’s definitely got the most.

God Of War Ragnarok boasts some typically enormous creatures
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God Of War Ragnarok boasts some typically enormous creatures
The scope and variety of Elden Ring's world is unmatched. Pic: Bandai Namco
Image:
The scope and variety of Elden Ring’s world is unmatched. Pic: Bandai Namco

Best family game

Kirby And The Forgotten Land
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Mario + Rabbids Sparks Of Hope
Nintendo Switch Sports
Splatoon 3

Martin’s pick: Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

If I could give this game all of the above awards, I would. It’s been so long since they released one of these, I was worried they’d mess with the perfect recipe – but they didn’t. Collectible characters, stud multipliers and hilarious cinematics all make a return. A must-play for every family member (and Star Wars nerd).

Tom’s pick: Nintendo Switch Sports

I didn’t realise how much I missed the thrill of family competition in Wii Sports until its spiritual successor arrived on Nintendo’s Switch console. As was the case with the original, your mileage with each sport will vary and tennis and bowling remain by far the best, but each is boosted by far more precise motion controls and online multiplayer.

Pic: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
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LEGO Star Wars lets you play through all nine main films. Pic: Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment
Bowling was one of the highlights of Nintendo's return to sports games. Pic: Nintendo
Image:
Bowling was one of the highlights of Nintendo’s return to sports games. Pic: Nintendo

Best multiplayer game

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II
MultiVersus
Overwatch 2
Splatoon 3
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge

Martin’s pick: Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II

Boy, this game is hard. It’s so bloomin’ hard. I haven’t died this much in a game since… well, ever. But the new multiplayer maps are well-designed, the gun play is satisfying and balanced, and it’s fast. Infinity Ward has had a long time to perfect the FPS formula, and they’ve done just that.

Tom’s pick: Splatoon 3

Infinity Ward may have perfected the FPS formula, but Nintendo has a monopoly on futuristic paintball. Splatoon 3 was very much more of the same, with an emphasis on the more. While the fast-paced matches and tight controls were familiar to anyone who played prior instalments, a bolstered selection of maps, modes, and weapons made it a worthy entry in a series which remains unlike anything else almost six years after it debuted.

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II releases this month
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Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II was the biggest launch in franchise history
Splatoon 3 offered more of the same - but it was all good. Pic: Nintendo
Image:
Splatoon 3 offered more of the same – but it was all good. Pic: Nintendo

Best game direction

Elden Ring
God of War Ragnarok
Horizon Forbidden West
Immortality
Stray

Best score and music

A Plague Tale: Requiem
Elden Ring
God Of War Ragnarok
Metal: Hellsinger
Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Best audio design

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II
Elden Ring
God Of War Ragnarok
Gran Turismo 7
Horizon Forbidden West

Best performance

Ashly Burch, Horizon Forbidden West
Charlotte McBurney, A Plague Tale: Requiem
Christopher Judge, God Of War Ragnarok
Manon Gage, Immortality
Sunny Suljic, God Of War Ragnarok

Games for impact

A Memoir Blue
As Dusk Falls
Citizen Sleeper
Endling – Extinction is Forever
Hindsight
I Was a Teenage Exocolonist

Best ongoing game

Apex Legends
Destiny 2
Final Fantasy XIV
Fortnite
Genshin Impact

Best indie game

Cult Of The Lamb
Neon White
Sifu
Stray
Tunic

Best debut indie

Neon White
Norco
Stray
Tunic
Vampire Survivors

Best community support

Apex Legends
Destiny 2
Final Fantasy XIV
Fortnite
No Man’s Sky

Best mobile game

Apex Legends
Diablo Immortal
Genshin Impact
Marvel Snap
Tower Of Fantasy

Best VR/AR game

After The Fall
Among Us
Bonelab
Moss: Book II
Red Matter 2

Best action game

Bayonetta 3
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II
Neon White
Sifu
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge

Best action/adventure game

A Plague Tale: Requiem
God Of War Ragnarok
Horizon Forbidden West
Stray
Tunic

Best role-playing game

Elden Ring
Live A Live
Pokemon Legends: Arceus
Triangle Strategy
Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Best fighting game

DNF Duel Arc
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
The King Of Fighters XV
MultiVersus
Sifu

Best sim/strategy game

Dune: Spice Wars
Mario + Rabbids Sparks Of Hope
Total War: Warhammer III
Two Point Campus
Victoria 3

Best sports/racing game

F1 22
FIFA 23
NBA 2K23
Gran Turismo 7
OlliOlli World

The Game Awards takes place on 9 December at 12.30am UK time.

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Alan Cumming gives back OBE over links to ‘toxic’ British Empire

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Alan Cumming gives back OBE over links to 'toxic' British Empire

Alan Cumming has given back his OBE, expressing concern over its links to what he describes as the “toxicity” of the British Empire.

The actor said he had made the decision to return the award after listening to conversations about the future of the Royal Family after the Queen’s death.

Cumming was made an OBE in 2009 as part of the Queen’s birthday honours, being recognised for acting, as well as the work he does to campaign for LGBTQ+ rights in the US.

He said at the time that he was “shocked and delighted” to be given the honour.

Writing on Instagram on his 58th birthday, he said: “The Queen’s death and the ensuing conversations about the role of monarchy and especially the way the British Empire profited at the expense (and death) of indigenous peoples across the world really opened my eyes.

“Fourteen years ago, I was incredibly grateful to receive it in the 2009 Queen’s birthday honours list, for it was awarded not just for my job as an actor but ‘for activism for equal rights for the gay and lesbian community, USA’.

“Back then the Defence of Marriage Act ensured that same-sex couples couldn’t get married or enjoy the same basic legal rights as straight people, and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell ensured that openly gay, lesbian or bisexual people were barred from serving in the military.”

Read more:
11 people who said no to honours over the years
Church progress on same-sex marriage ‘will be glacial’
Elton John cancels gig with minutes to go because of rain

He added: “Thankfully, times and laws in the US have changed, and the great good the award brought to the LGBTQ+ cause back in 2009 is now less potent than the misgivings I have being associated with the toxicity of empire (OBE stands for Officer of the British Empire).

“So, I returned my award, explained my reasons and reiterated my great gratitude for being given it in the first place. I’m now back to being plain old Alan Cumming again. Happy birthday to me!”

Cumming is best known for his roles in Goldeneye and the Spy Kids trilogy, as well as for his stage work, with his credits including Cabaret, for which he won a Tony Award, and Endgame.

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Sandi Toksvig says archbishop told her progress on same-sex marriage in Church of England will be ‘glacial’

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Sandi Toksvig says archbishop told her progress on same-sex marriage in Church of England will be 'glacial'

The Archbishop of Canterbury has conceded progress on same-sex marriage in the Church of England would be “glacial”, Sandi Toksvig has said.

The comedian revealed she had met Justin Welby for a “long-promised coffee” and the meeting had been “calm and considered”, but the church‘s current position was “untenable”.

In a video she said it was clear the “Church of England and the society it purports to represent are not remotely in step”.

They met after she expressed her dismay last year that Mr Welby had reaffirmed the validity of a 1998 declaration by the church that gay sex was a sin.

The archbishop has recently said he welcomed the Church of England’s proposals to bless same-sex married couples, but said he would not personally carry them out due to his “pastoral relationship for the whole communion”.

“Yesterday I went to have coffee, tea, actually, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, not a sentence I thought would ever come out of my mouth,” Toksvig said in her video.

“From our very calm and considered conversation yesterday, it is very clear that the State’s Church of England and the society it purports to represent are not remotely in step.

More on Church Of England

“Justin was keen for me to see that they are moving forward, but conceded that any progress, as I would see it, if it happens at all, will be glacial.”

She said it was also “very clear” opposing factions of the worldwide Anglican Communion were being “in part held together at the expense of the human rights of the LGBT+ community”.

“It’s not okay. And I said so,” she said.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

Toksvig asked Archbishop to come out as gay ally

She continued: “I asked Justin if he could just come out. I don’t mean to make a surprise announcement about his sexuality, but come out as a gay ally.

“Basically, to come up for love, love for all without exceptions, and not the current Orwellian position, where it would seem we are all created equal, but some are more equal than others.

“I hope that will happen, but I do not intend to wait upon the church.

“In the next few weeks, I will be reaching out to the LGBT+ community and all our allies to see what can be done.

“The present position is untenable. In the meantime, please. Let’s all come out for love.”

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‘Church deeply divided’ on same-sex marriage

Church apologises for ‘shameful’ treatment of LGBTQI+ people

Last week the church formally apologised for its “shameful” treatment of LGBTQI+ people.

It came after it said it would refuse to allow same-sex couples to get married in its churches, but would bless same-sex civil marriages for the first time.

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Kanye West a ‘danger to my children’, Jewish comedian David Baddiel says

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Kanye West a 'danger to my children', Jewish comedian David Baddiel says

Allowing Kanye West to start tweeting again would be “dangerous for Jews” and “dangerous for my children”, David Baddiel has told Sky News.

The Jewish author and comedian also said he considers the musician to be racist.

West is currently suspended from Twitter for tweeting an image of a swastika hours after praising Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.

The musician, 45, posted the grossly offensive image only two weeks after being allowed back on the site following a previous ban.

Baddiel said he understood why Twitter owner Elon Musk might consider another reprieve for the rapper.

“Kanye being let back onto that platform seems to be part of Elon Musk trying to make (it) less dominated by the progressive left,” Baddiel told the Beth Rigby Interviews programme.

“I’m not bothered about those arguments. I’m bothered about what is dangerous for Jews. What is dangerous for my children.

“I do think it’s dangerous. I think it’s actively dangerous.”

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Beth Rigby Interviews… David Baddiel

Regarding West’s motivation, Baddiel said antisemitism is “often seen by people as punching up”.

He continued: “So they don’t see it as racism, because what they see is that Jews are powerful.

“So Kanye will say things like, Jews are in control of the music business, I’m finally throwing off the shackles of how Jews won’t let me speak about this, because they’re in control.”

West has previously accused record producer Sean “Diddy” Combs of being controlled by “the Jewish people” in a post on Instagram.

Baddiel went on: “It comes from a sense of, this is a rebel yell against a race that is controlling us, and the problem with that is it doesn’t sound like a far-right person saying ‘look at these scum, I’m just going to kill them’.

“It sounds like someone fighting the good fight. And that is actually what Hitler, who Kanye has said he’s an admirer of, that is also how Hitler sounded to some people.”

In an interview with the conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones, West said: “I like Hitler.”

West retains the ability to influence people, Baddiel said. “Kanye, because he’s a brilliant hip hop artist, has got a really powerful voice,” he pointed out.

Asked whether West is racist, Baddiel said: “I think what he said is antisemitic. And I think antisemitism is racism. Yes.”

Read more:
Kanye West returns to Twitter with ‘shalom’ post – six weeks after antisemitism ban
Adidas ends partnership with Kanye West over rapper’s ‘hateful and dangerous’ comments

Jason Le, pictured here in 1999, received an apology from David Baddiel over portrayals on the TV show Fantasy Football League
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Jason Lee, pictured here in 1999, received an apology from David Baddiel over portrayals on the TV show Fantasy Football League

Baddiel also discussed his recent apology to the ex-footballer Jason Lee, for the way he portrayed him in sketches in his 1990s television series Fantasy Football League.

“As I became more aware of racism directed against me, as well as being hurt or upset by that, or thinking this is weird, this clearly really racist thing – that I am guilty of the same thing,” he said.

“And that brought it home to me over time, over much too much time, that I should apologise to Jason Lee.

“When I (made a) documentary, I thought I should go and film a face-to-face apology. And thankfully Jason was up for doing that, and it was really difficult. He didn’t in any way let me off.”

Baddiel said he “felt terrible”, “totally felt terrible”.

He told Beth Rigby: “At the end of it, I went up to him, and I just said, look, sorry again, and thank you for seeing me.

“And he just shook my hand and said, no, it’s done now.

“Meaning we’ve done it now, and we can move on. Which is important for me, and important for him.

“It was difficult. It should be difficult.”

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