Organising committees have the ability to authorise a discretionary category at the Hugo Awards without going through the normal, multi-year process for adding a new permanent category to the awards. A video game category has been debated several times before but has never gained enough groundswell of support to be added full-time. It looks like DisCon will be using this opportunity to trial the idea to see how many people vote for it and support the notion going forwards.
Many, if not most, video games fall into the science fiction or fantasy. Seven years ago, I made a post about video games that engage with their SFF themes in a bit more detail (it's probably about time I did a follow-up). With video games having been commercially available for forty-five years, and having been more popular than either the film or music mediums for more than twenty years, it is probably past time this move was made. I suspect far more people voting in the Hugos have played an eligible video game in any given year than have read a semiprozine or read a novelette, for example.
Assuming normal rules of eligibility, the following video games would be among those eligible for the award in 2021:
- Cyberpunk 2077 (assuming it hits its 10 December release date)
- The Last of Us, Part II
- Final Fantasy VII Remake
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps
- Half-Life: Alyx
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons
- Kentucky Route Zero (both the final part of the game and the game as a whole)
- Doom Eternal
- XCOM: Chimera Squad
- Gears Tactics
- A Total War Saga: Troy
- Wasteland 3
- Iron Harvest
- Marvel's Avengers
- Genshin Impact
- Star Wars: Squadrons
- Watch_Dogs: Legion
- Assassin's Creed: Valhalla
- Destiny 2: Beyond Light
- World of WarCraft: Shadowlands
- Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
- Immortals Fenyx Rising
- Spider-Man: Miles Morales
These rules I suspect will be clarified relatively shortly.
File 770 shared a press release from DisCon III that goes into more detail about what's eligible:
About damn time. I didn't really get into modern video games until about 10 years ago, so I understand somewhat the reticence of people who don't want to add games to the Hugo. But by my personal clock video games have been making content that is as great as any novel since at least 1999's Planescape Torment, so it's long past time this is recognized. I'm glad that GRRM who was anti video game lost out in this particular instance. If I could ask the fantasy gods for one thing, I think it would be for Joe Straczyinski of Babylon 5 fame to do a video game, since he's published in every other genre except video, and I would really like to see him do something epic in a game.
Adam, not really a comment but a personal note. if you come to Washington DC for this event I'd be more than happy to buy you a beer, or several. Obviously I greatly enjoy your commentary. I have the bandwidth to read one blog on Sci fi and fantasy and you are it.
A decent addition. Video games make a huge contribution to Sci-Fi.
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