Sonic Frontiers: Snubbed at The Games Awards?
Let me set the scene: The Game Awards have finally been decided and the Players’ Voice Award is up for grabs. Two (very passionate) fandoms are predicting to receive the win, however only one title can win. Sonic Frontiers and Genshin Impact were neck-and-neck for the past few days until Round 3 of voting set off an unhinged reaction. For some context, The Game Awards includes a Players’ Voice category so that the public can vote for their favorite game of the year. It has three rounds, each of which gets smaller as the voting progresses. Round 1 started with a long list including the likes of Elden Ring and God of War Ragnarok. However, despite these mega hits in the lineup, it ended as a heated rivalry between Genshin Impact and Sonic Frontiers players.
Many avid gamers were confused how games of such caliber could be beaten out by both the Sonic and Genshin fandoms. Thus began the fan theories, speculations about how foul play led to the victory. Outraged voters blamed Genshin bots for stuffing the ballots, these accusations have not been proven false or addressed however many believe it is just the “Sonic Sweep” believers attempting to grasp onto any semblance of hope. TGA founder Geoff Keighley even had to address the conflict. One Redditor asked him what The Game Awards were going to do about the “obvious vote bribery and botting.” Keighley stated, “I don't know it's bots. I think it's fan bases activating to support a game, or a game promoting its nomination to its fan base. This is part of the reason we don't have 100% fan voting in the main categories. It tends to be which companies promote their nominations and which fan bases activate and drive the voting.” Still, he told the fan that he and his team would be “looking into this now.”
However, the Sonic fandom are not the victims in this story; many fans took to Twitter to harass those in support of Genshin Impact, regardless of their feelings towards the award ceremony. Some resorted to racism against the Chinese race and called Genshin fans “pedos” in an attempt to draw votes away. One fan caught in the crossfire received a flood of insults because they suggested respecting the opposing party’s opinions.
After a heated debate, the fan-favorite Genshin Impact took the crown in the Players’ Voice category for 2022. While many didn’t expect it to lose with its large following, fans were still hoping the Sega hedgehog could take the cake this year. I asked the biggest Sonic fan I know, Meghan Kelley (12), how she felt about the loss. Kelley says, “I’m absolutely devastated. The game is incredibly enjoyable and I cannot put it down, but today we have seen a loss to a game that cheated to win their status. At the end of the day, games are games, however, and Sonic Frontiers is players’ choice in my heart,” which I think speaks volumes about how devastated Sonic fans were by this loss. However, she gives an opinion towards the end that I believe all people involved should try and embrace: that these are simply games and their only purpose is to entertain and bring joy, not hate.