- 16 of this year’s Game Awards nominees can be played right now with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass.
- A Plague Tale: Requiem, Dune: Spice Wars, No Man’s Sky, Return to Monkey Island, and more are available now. Starfield, nominated for Most Anticipated Game, will arrive next year.
- Play hundreds of high-quality games and join Game Pass now to get your first month for just $1. Details here.
Good news! It’s Game Awards season. Even better news! Game Pass members can play 16 of the nominees right now, with a 17th — Bethesda Game Studios’ Starfield — still to come next year. Taking place on Thursday, December 8, the Game Awards celebrate the very best of gaming in the last year, and there have been some incredible nominees included as part of Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass in 2022.
From beautiful experiments in interactive storytelling, to soundtracks perfect for emptying the ranks of Hell, and much, much more, make sure to check out our list of every single Game Awards nominee included in Game Pass:
As Dusk Falls
Nominated: Games for Impact, Innovation in Accessibility
While As Dusk Falls is nominated for its extensive accessibility features (full details here), few titles go to go so far to reach people who don’t normally play games at all. In our experience, agonizing over decisions with a friend or loved one who doesn’t identify as a gamer is a unique and memorable experience, made easier by the fact that players can bypass the controller in favor of an app on their phone. Going further, seamless Twitch integration allows a huge group of viewers to influence decisions in-game, an endlessly entertaining metagame. But even if your preferred way to play is solo, controller in hand, As Dusk Falls’ frequent, meaningful decision making elevates the narrative genre in thrilling, edge-of-your-seat fashion.
Nominated: Games for Impact
Citizen Sleeper gives you a lot to unpack during its narrative RPG journey, living out a life on the run as a digital consciousness in an imperfect artificial body. At its core, you’re trying to break free from your corporate owners who want their investment back – but you’re not the only one hiding out on remote space station, The Eye, from those eking out a living, to bounty hunters, to fellow refugees. Citizen Sleeper weaves a tale that’s both an allegory for capitalism gone awry and the persecution of the weak by those in power. Holding this game steady is an exceptionally told, deeply human core story, with a tangible world and compelling characters to befriend, betray, or simply exist beside. That story isn’t done being told just yet. Following the free DLC Flux and Refuge, the next piece of Citizen Sleeper’s story is set to arrive next year.
Dune: Spice Wars
Nominated: Best Sim/Strategy
It has been many years since we last set our real-time strategy feet on the planet of Arrakis in the classic Dune: 2000 (featuring the legendary John Rhys-Davies as the Atreides Mentat). The wait was worth it. Dune: Spice Wars is a true return to RTS form featuring a world full of giant sand worms, political intrigue, ruthless warlords, and the all-powerful spice that flows through everything — including your keyboard and mouse. It’s still in Game Preview, set for a full release in 2023, but what we’ve played so far has us excited for what’s to come from developer Shiro Games.
Nominated: Best Game Direction, Best Narrative, Best Performance (Manon Gage)
Nominated for three awards, it’s safe to say Immortality has been a winning experiment into how to use good ol’ fashioned Full Motion Video to create a thoroughly modern game. A story earned by you, not told to you, Immortality plays out across three time periods, and three different films, with startling performances from its actors, none more so than its lead, Manon Gage. The deeper you dig (using frames of the films themselves to discover new clips), the darker things become — until eventually you realize that this is by no means the mystery you went in assuming it was. Immortality earns its Mature rating and strays from the typical “choose your own adventure” style, becoming something you’ll never quite have played before, both in style and substance.
A Memoir Blue
Nominated: Games for Impact
A Memoir Blue tells the story of a star athlete and the bonds shared between a mother and daughter and is a tranquil option to some of the more tense, skill-based games you may have been playing — perfect for when you just want to relax and unwind. The game is an interactive narrative, steeped in symbolism, beautifully rendered with a variety of art styles, and featuring a splash of puzzle and point-and-click adventure elements. Its story of familial love, childhood reminiscence and musings on the nature of success have earned it a deserved spot in the Games for Impact category.
Nominated: Best Score and Music
When you have a game featuring the vocal talents of Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Randy Blythe (Lamb of God), and Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy), it’s easy to see how this excellent rhythm action game secured a nomination for Best Score and Music. While yes, the soundtrack does indeed kick ass, it’s when you’ve started to fire your rhythm-based attacks to the double-bass beat that the harmonious — and very metal — destruction takes shape, sending you tearing your way through hordes of demonic creatures, and seeking vengeance through the domain of Hell.
No Man’s Sky
Nominated: Best Community Support
No Man’s Sky served up yet another incredible year of content for its players, who have been able to experience four massive (and free) updates in the form of Sentinel, Outlaws, Endurance, and Waypoint. With that level of support, it’s easy to understand how it’s been nominated in this category. Hello Games’ galaxy-sized sci-fi sim remains one of the most unique and expansive gaming worlds that you can play in today, and only continues to grow, with community features to try out, tons of quality-of-life improvements, and even space whales. It’s been said so often that it’s becoming a little clichéd, but there honestly hasn’t been a better time than now to play No Man’s Sky.
Nominated: Best Debut Indie
By turns maudlin and almost hilariously bizarre, Norco wears the skin of a ‘90s point-and-click adventure but implants a novelistic tale of the near future. The story of Kay, who returns home to her industry-ravaged hometown after the death of her mother, Norco weaves together climate change, the proliferation of AI, late-stage capitalism, and even folk-horror into the most singular gaming story of the year. Even among those heady concepts, it’s a deeply personal game, both for its characters and, you sense, its small team of first-time developers.
A Plague Tale: Requiem
Nominated: Game of the Year, Best Performance (Charlotte McBurney), Best Action/Adventure
Anything you’ve heard about A Plague Tale: Requiem likely started with the rats. While a playthrough of the story will have you encountering literally millions of the filthy little rascals, it’s the human cast of Amicia, Hugo, and some surprising new faces that truly stands out. The evolution of the main characters after the first game (brought to bear by some wonderful acting performances), and the towering scale of what they explore and endure has stayed with us weeks after completing the journey. A must play.
Return to Monkey Island
Nominated: Innovation in Accessibility
The unexpected and thrilling return of Guybrush Threepwood and the zombie pirate LeChuck was perhaps gaming’s most nostalgic new game this year. Fittingly, the newest installment of the iconic point ‘n’ click adventure series also saw the return of the iconic series’ creator Ron Gilbert, joined by co-writer Dave Grossman, bringing their sense of humor and singularly hilarious puzzles to a technicolor Caribbean that has seen considerably better days since we last saw it. Daring pirates will swash and, indeed, buckle with an evolution of classic adventure game controls, adding context-sensitive interactions, reactive dialog trees, and an easy-to-use inventory system to help make pirating a breeze. These features and more helped secure this nomination for Innovation in Accessibility.
Nominated: Best Art Direction
Leading up to its release, we were looking to answer the question of what Scorn is. First-person adventure game? Shooter? A little of both? We explored that question with the game’s developer at launch, but it wasn’t until we started playing and diving into world that we understood quite how that the game wanted us to feel something more than fit neatly into a specific genre. A lot of that emotion while playing can be drawn from its outstanding visuals, pulling you into its nightmarish, bio-technological world almost immediately, and pitting you against bizarre creations and one (literally) puzzling encounter after another.
Nominated: Most Anticipated Game
Saying that Starfield is a “Most Anticipated Game” is just scratching the surface of how excited we are to jump into this massive open-world universe. Most of us have spent a considerable amount of time in Bethesda’s other iconic open-world RPGs (looking at you Skyrim), so the chance at being able to explore a slew of worlds makes us incredibly excited about the experiences that are in store. We’ll have more to share in the coming months about Starfield – which will be available on day one with Game Pass — here on Xbox Wire.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
Nominated: Best Action Game, Best Multiplayer
Grab your nearest controller and jump into this retro-inspired beat ‘em up that brings back memories of token-filled arcade machines, greasy pizza, and bizarre, oversized mouse mascots. TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge is some of the most fun we’ve had this year either online or via couch co-op, battling back Shredder’s goons and shouting “Cowabunga!” at the television. It’s arcade nostalgia at its finest, with an awesome soundtrack, beautiful pixel art, and tons of unlockables that round out a complete arcade experience in your home. It shouldn’t be missed.
Total War: Warhammer III
Nominated: Best Sim/Strategy
With a mix of both real-time and turn-based elements, along with the epic Warhammer Fantasy license on full display, Creative Assembly’s third and most accessible entry in its unique Total War series allows you to take control of a massive army of Chaos Gods, humans, Daemons, or other outlandish legions as you attempt to conquer the Realm of Chaos. Sure, there are diplomacy options should you wish to talk your way to victory, but we prefer negotiating with a massive army, one that can vanquish even the most powerful of gods and lay waste to the mightiest of militias [lets out guttural roar]. It’s a truly titanic end to a trilogy that’s helped redefine the grand strategy genre.
Two Point Campus
Nominated: Best Sim/Strategy
The follow-up to the warmly received Two Point Hospital has us looking back on our university experience thinking: did we have enough fun? Guiding college students to success in courses such as Gastronomy and “Funny Business” while ensuring they have facilities to eat, sleep, play, and poop may sound like a lot. Thankfully, the way Two Point Campus chunks objectives into bite-sized steps means it feels less like a weed-out course and more like a chill elective. Plus, you can plop a Crazy Taxi arcade machine right in your student’s dorm… why didn’t our school’s dean think of that?
Nominated: Best Indie, Best Action/Adventure, Best Debut Indie
Don’t be fooled by Tunic’s cute little fox hero character and whimsical art style; this game’s soul-crushing difficulty may lead to controller-throwing fits of rage. Thankfully, the game has a few tricks to aid in your journey. If you manage to survive the first hour or so, you’ll be treated to an amazing experience, especially if you enjoy a challenge and figuring things out on your own. Its brilliant level design is sure to make you smile as you discover hidden paths and shortcuts, but the game’s real treasure is the creative in-game guide you compile along the way, simultaneously offering a never-before-seen approach to puzzle design and a gorgeously nostalgic look back to game manuals of yore.
Nominated: Best Debut Indie
Sink your teeth into one of the year’s biggest surprises and a legit game of the year contender. This instantly gratifying, gothic rogue-lite (survivor-like?) will have you weaving through hundreds… nay… thousands of pixel skeletons, mummies, zombies, werewolves, and more as you strive to survive as long as you can. The unlockable levels, awesome power-ups, and unique heroes add to an already very strong replay dynamic that will keep you coming back for more – you haven’t seen anything until you get to the last couple of minutes of run, trust us.