While it’s certainly been a challenging year in many respects, 2020 has also been an excellent year for video games. From the return of the Half-Life series to long-anticipated titles like The Last of Us Part 2 and surprise hits like Hades, we’ve seen a wide range of great games over the past 12 months.
We’ve seen Animal Crossing become a full-blown social phenomenon and MS Flight Sim let us get out and see the world when we needed to most. Paper Mario returned for the first time since the Wii U, and several beloved franchises saw some truly excellent remakes. Here you’ll find all our picks for the best games of the year by platform and genre, as well as the best examples of game design and technology the year had to offer.
Our pick for the best overall game of the year.
Best Games by Platform
Best Games by Genre
Best Action Game
The best games primarily focused on combat and active/reactionary tests of skill.
Best Action/Adventure Game
The best games that offers a blend of skill-based combat/survival and environmental exploration.
Best Adventure/Puzzle Game
The best games focused on decision making, exploration, and critical thinking.
The best games focused on first or third-person shooting mechanics.
The best games with a focus on decision-making, narrative choices, and statistical progression.
The best games focused on a combination of environmental traversal, puzzle-solving, and/or combat.
Best Strategy/Tactics Game
The best games with a focus on tactical combat, team oversight and resource management.
Best Fighting Game
The best game in the fighting genre.
Best Racing Game
The best game in the racing genre.
Best Battle Royale
The best game focused strictly on battle royale mechanics.
Best Ongoing Game
For excellence in games that receive regular content updates and continued community support.
The best re-imagining of an old game or revitalization of a game’s original source code.
Game Development and Craft Awards
To be eligible for IGN’s 2020 Game of the Year awards, a game must have been released on or before December 12, 2020.
In deciding which categories to hold awards for this year, we wanted to make sure we were able to include a variety of games from different creators, and take into account the ever-more-complicated availability of games across various platforms. To that end, we’re now holding awards for games based on their exclusivity to each console platform – Yakuza: Like a Dragon, for example, is being championed as a launch title for the Xbox Series X, but it’s also available on PS4 and thus not eligible for the Best Xbox Console Exclusive award. Gears Tactics is, however, as it’s only presence on consoles is on Xbox One/Series X|S.
We also wanted to acknowledge the ongoing efforts in gaming to ensure that everyone is able to play, and have added a category for Noteworthy Advancement in Accessibility to this year’s awards.
Which categories would you want to see added next year? Let us know in the comments.