2021 Hugo Awards will have a best videogame category

Videogames will be honored in a special category during next year’s Hugo Awards. This will mark the medium’s first formal inclusion in the science fiction and fantasy awarding body.

Announced on Twitter by DisCon III, the hosting convention for Worldcon 2021, the convention where the Hugos take place, next year’s awards will recognise one game in the Best Videogame category. Under the rules of the World Science Fiction Society, the Worldcon committee of any given year can introduce one award for that year. These awards aren’t recurring, and this rule is designed for “special circumstances”.

“Since early 2020, many of us have spent more time gaming than we ever expected,” Collette Fozard, co-chair for Discon III, said in a statement. “This award will offer fans an opportunity to celebrate the games that have been meaningful, joyful, and exceptional over this past year.” The event specifies this is a one-time deal, but the Hugo Study Committee is looking into a Best Game or Interactive Experience category that could become a permanent fixture. The awards primarily tend to deal in the world of print, like books, magazines, comics, and their associated media such as audiobooks. Back in 2006, a similar category was trialed, and a proposal and petition have been launched since to solidify the gaming’s presence.

“An eligible work for the 2021 special Hugo award is any game or substantial modification of a game first released to the public on a major gaming platform in the previous calendar year in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects,” the official announcement reads. “For these purposes, a game is defined as a work wherein player choice, interaction, or participation significantly impacts the narrative, play, meaning, or experience.” As with any other category, potential awardees must have released in the calendar year following the last Hugos.

DisCon III will play host to the 79th Worldcon next year from August 25 to August 29 in Washington DC, at the Marriott Wardman Mark Hotel. You can find more information here. The convention joins the Tribeca Film Festival, which is adding the Tribeca Games Award from next year on, involving an advisory board that includes Hideo Kojima and Geoff Keighley.

It’s not surprising the team felt it necessary to highlight gaming in some way, videogames have surged amid the ongoing lockdowns this year. Everyday basically became the weekend as far as Steam’s concerned, and survival games and football games were big hits around April or so. Between strategy games like Crusader Kings 3, action-adventure games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, breakout indie games like Hades, and beyond, this will be a hotly contested award. In addition to the established favourites, here’s all the upcoming games you should keep an eye on, so you’re totally up to speed when the Hugo Awards 2021 roll around.