The “Best use of an existing IP” Award
If 2014 has done one thing well, it’s the using existing licenses pretty darn well, with the myriad of Telltale games that expanded on the Walking Dead and Fable comics, as well as games such as Shadow Of Mordor that have taken established settings such as Middle Earth and made them their own in fascinating ways. When it came to judging what game had won this award I decided upon a few essential factors. Does the game fit well into the established lore of the setting? Was the setting mandatory for the game to work? With these in mind I was left with on clear winner: The Wolf Among Us by Telltale.
When I first came up with today’s category I was fairly certain that Walking Dead Season 2 would be the winner, after all it’s a bloody good story, full of gut wrenching choices and morally grey characters. But did it use the licenses of the Walking Dead well? Walking Dead is a fairly generic setting zombie apocalypse story that is lifted to greatness by good writing but The Wolf Among Us is a completely different beast. (Pun intended)
With a wonderful noir vibe, interesting characters and engaging mystery at the center of it, Wolf Among Us took the comics and elevated them to something brilliant. The characters of Bigby and Snow White are expanded upon from the books and made into people whose story I cared about. Using the comics established characters, as well as bringing in some new ones made it a thrill to play as I looked forward to each new encounter with a fable.
Shadow of Mordor was also a contender for this category but I felt it didn’t need to be a Middle Earth game to work. Perhaps this speaks to how generic a fantasy setting Middle Earth is, but to me I didn’t matter who I was butchering, all I knew was I was enjoying every moment of it. (Shadow of Mordor is soon to get an award I promise)