The results are in – DDLC won IGN People’s Choice (most player votes) for every category it was nominated for: Best PC Game, Best Adventure Game, Best Story, and Most Innovative. I want to thank everyone who took the time to vote, and this insane victory is a clear testament to how passionate and eager the DDLC fanbase is.
While the results are amazing, there’s also some interesting stuff to talk about. For instance, did DDLC belong as a “Best Adventure Game” nominee? IGN’s nominations included Danganronpa, Night in the Woods, What Remains of Edith Finch, Thimbleweed Park, and other story-centric games. Given how IGN chose to define “Adventure Game”, I can see why DDLC would be on that list. It seems the common denominator between all of these games is that they’re focused on storytelling and characters above all else. I’m happy that IGN chose to represent a genre like this, even if we’re more used to seeing “Adventure” describing more vast games such as Zelda, Uncharted, and Metal Gear Solid. I feel like game genres are starting to get pretty blurry, and it’s hard to define certain games solely based on their mechanics. That said, DDLC is undoubtedly best described as a “Visual Novel”, but I can easily see why you’d want to group it together with games like Night in the Woods.
There are a couple other reasons DDLC likely came out on top. One is that DDLC is a free game. That alone gives it much more exposure than most other games on the list. Also, the fact that it’s short and story-centric means that you get the full experience in as little as 4 hours, which may have given it an edge over some of its competition on the list. Related to that, DDLC was enjoyed by many who didn’t even play the game – thanks to top YouTube and Twitch gamers playing through the game in full with huge audiences, a lot of players who don’t often play games were able to experience DDLC in this way. By the nature of the game, I would argue that watching a DDLC playthrough is slightly closer to the full experience than watching a playthrough of games more focused on mechanics, or world exploration. I think this helped earn the vote from a lot of gamers who consume more by watching rather than playing.
Another important factor is that DDLC is at the peak of its popularity. Games that are fresh on your mind likely have more weight than ones you played at the beginning of the year. While this certainly isn’t a factor for every voter (many players are very clear/certain about their favorite game of the year), there’s a good chance that it helped with the exposure. Just played or watched DDLC and you loved it? If you hop on social media and see that it’s up for voting, you’re probably more inclined to vote for DDLC.
In writing this, I’m not trying to undermine or downplay how much you may have enjoyed the game, or the current popularity of DDLC. But since a lot of people were wondering how DDLC managed to get more votes than certain AAA games, I thought I would explore some unbiased possibilities here. Just because it got more votes doesn’t mean that DDLC is strictly better than all the masterpieces that were nominated. It means that the DDLC fan community is extremely passionate, enthusiastic, and eager to share their love for the game. That’s the part that makes me happiest about this outcome. I hope to continue eliciting those feelings from my fans in the future.