Starfield is nominated for the Most Innovative Gameplay award in the 2023 Steam Awards

The 2023 Steam Award nominations are out, meaning it’s time to cast your ballots for your favorite games across categories ranging from Game of the Year to Best Game You Suck At.

Unlike most other awards programs, the Steam Awards limits nominees to a maximum of two categories, which presumably explains why Baldur’s Gate 3, which has been a behemoth at awards shows throughout 2023,  isn’t set to run the table (again). Other two-category nominees include EA Sports FC24, Lethal Company, Hogwarts Legacy, and Resident Evil 4, while Starfield, which was shut out at The Game Awards, is getting a little recognition too: It’s in the running for Most Innovative Gameplay.

The Starfield nomination is a little unexpected because it’s very much a Bethesda RPG, something the studio has been putting out reliably (although with increasing slowness) for more than 20 years. It’s an evolution, as is every successive game in The Elder Scrolls and Fallout series, but the underlying formula is more or less intact, and even diminished in some ways.

“Starfield is Bethesda’s biggest RPG ever, and it shares even more DNA with Skyrim and Fallout 4 than I expected—but it ultimately falls far short of the greatness of both of those games,” we wrote in our 75% review. “The main companions lack personality, quests that have promising starts frequently come to disappointing conclusions, and space exploration fails to feel like a grand adventure.”

Unlike the Golden Joysticks or The Game Awards, though, the Steam Award nominations and winners are selected entirely by gamers, and Starfield has a lot of fans. The surprising part, for me, isn’t that they’re throwing their support behind it, but that it’s up in the Innovative Gameplay category rather than, say Game of the Year—Starfield may not have met expectations but it was still one of the biggest and most talked-about releases of 2023—or Outstanding Visual Style.

Voting for the Steam Awards begins at 10 am PT/1 pm ET on December 21, which in case you’d forgotten is also when the big Steam Winter Sale kicks off. You’ll earn a free chat sticker for each category you vote in, and voting will remain open until January 2, at which point the winners will be announced and trophies handed out. And yes, there is actually a trophy that’s sent to the offices of each winner, and they’ll also get a virtual trophy on their Steam store page.

Here’s the rundown of all the nominees in the 2023 Steam Awards:

Game of the Year

EA Sports FC 24Hogwarts LegacyLethal CompanyBaldur’s Gate 3Resident Evil 4

VR Game of the Year

I Expect You to Die 3Ghosts of TaborLabyrinthineGorilla TagF1 23

Labor of Love

Apex LegendsDota 2RustDeep Rock GalacticRed Dead Redemption 2

Best Game on Steam Deck

The Outlast TrialsHogwarts LegacyDredgeDiablo 4Brotato

Better With Friends

SunkenlandLethal CompanySons of the ForestParty AnimalsWarhammer 40,000: Darktide

Outstanding Visual Style

CocoonInwardAtomic HeartDarkest Dungeon 2High on Life

Most Innovative Gameplay

StarfieldShadows of DoubtContraband PoliceYour Only Move is HustleRemnant 2

Best Game You Suck At

SifuOverwatch 2EA Sports FC 24Lords of the FallenStreet Fighter 6

Best Soundtrack

Pizza TowerPersonal 5 TactictaThe Last of Us Part 1Chants of SennaarHi-Fi Rush

Outstanding Story-Rich Game

Love is All AroundBaldur’s Gate 3Star Wars Jedi: SurvivorResident Evil 4Lies of P

Sit Back and Relax

Train Sim World 4Coral IslandCities: Skylines 2Potion CraftDave the Diver

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