Most winners at Geoff Keighley’s Game Awards are decided through a mix of public voting and jury selection – PC Gamer is one of those jurors – but one award, called Players’ Voice, is entirely up to the public. Right now, the leader of the public vote is overwhelmingly Sonic Frontiers.
After coming out on top in the first two rounds, Sonic Frontiers has a whopping 48% of the vote in the third and final round of Players Voice Award voting (opens in a new tab). In second place, Genshin Impact has 29%, and in third place, Elden Ring has only 13%. God of War: Ragnarok is in fourth place with 8%, and Stray is in last place at 2%.
“Can we have a Sonic Sweep?!?!?!” wrote Sega senior PR manager Evan Bader on Twitter (opens in a new tab) earlier today.
Sonic Frontiers is not among the jury-selected nominees for TGA’s overall Game of the Year award, although Elden Ring, God of War: Ragnarok and Stray are. The others in the GOTY category are Horizon Forbidden West, A Plague Tale: Requiem and Xenoblade Chronicles 3. It’s pretty much a given that Elden Ring wins that category. I previously thought that Ragnarok might have a chance to upset that, but if the audience and jurors vote the way they are in the Players Voice poll, it won’t come close.
The Player’s Voice award, however, will likely go to Sonic Frontiers, which was not nominated for any other Game Awards. From one perspective, this discrepancy illustrates why the main awards should not be decided entirely by the fan vote. Game Awards says (opens in a new tab) it mixes jury voting and public voting to avoid the winners being “socially constructed”, and the Sonic fan lobby, which has also awarded Sonic Frontiers (opens in a new tab) a higher Metacritic user score than Elden Ring, seems pretty good at coordinating his enthusiasm.
However, an alternative interpretation is that the Sonic Frontiers nomination means that it has simply been underrated by mainstream critics. Our anti-sonic bias has been exposed! (Plus it was released a little late in the year.)
Can we have a Sonic Sweep?!?!?! Round 3 of the Players Voice voting for #TheGameAwards is complete and Sonic Frontiers is looking for a COMMANDING lead. Vote: https://t.co/cOdgfvXJM0#SonicSweep #SonicFrontiers pic.twitter.com/PcwrHUHOlS5 December 2022
The divide between fans and professional critics is actually not as chasmic as I thought it might be. PC Gamer’s Sonic Frontiers review wasn’t among the glowing, but there are plenty of positive critic reviews. According to Gene Park at The Washington Post (opens in a new tab)Frontier’s controls, soundtrack, “atmospheric” storytelling, and Sonic Adventures-style structure are a boon to longtime Sonic fans.
“Sonic Frontiers doesn’t want to win any awards, and it doesn’t need them,” Park wrote in November. “For fans of the hedgehog, experiencing the game feels like winning a lifetime achievement award.”
The latter may be true, but unless the Genshin Impact fans rally quickly (and the gap between the games closed a bit today), it looks like Frontiers will win at least one non-imaginary award after all.
Even non-Sonic fans seem to be getting into Sonic Sweep. As I saw one voter say on Twitter, Elden Ring and the like will get all the attention in the main awards, so why not vote for another game in the one category where the favorites can be beaten?
Vote for the Players Voice award (opens in a new tab), as well as the other Game Awards, is open for two more days. The winners will be announced at the 2022 Game Awards this Thursday at 7:30 PM ET.