RUNNER-UP THE BANNER SAGA 3
Developer Stoic Studio Publisher Versus Evil Format PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One Here’s how to make a player’s investment in a trilogy pay off: by surprising them with a shift in structure, by staying true to your own storytelling principles and by doing all that while rewarding three games’ worth of choices in ways that tell them their choices mattered – while reminding them that fate always holds the upper hand. Are you watching, BioWare?
RUNNER-UP RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2
Developer/publisher Rockstar Games Format PS4, Xbox One Like its predecessor, RDR2 shows how well Rockstar can write characters when it’s not shoehorning GTA- style cultural satire into every line of dialogue. The supporting cast are wonderful, but in Arthur Morgan it has found its finest protagonist to date, a character coming to terms with the sad, slow end of his way of life, and ultimately of life itself.
WINNER RETURN OF THE OBRA DINN
Developer/publisher 3909 LLC Format PC Interactive storytelling boils down to an unspoken contract between developer and player that’s inevitably broken by one or both parties. Obra Dinn takes a different tack: the story is already over, but only you can ensure it lives on. You’re a late observer to the telling and responsible for the retelling, filling in the gaps via a time-manipulating pocket watch.