Steam Awards 2019 Fan Voted Nominees Revealed for Category ‘Outstanding Story-Rich Game’

Steam Awards 2019 Fan Voted Nominees Revealed for Category ‘Outstanding Story-Rich Game’
Credit: Valve via Steam

Sometimes, a game becomes more than the simple sum of its parts, as an epic unfolds in front of players.  Becoming emotionally invested in gripping storylines, fraught with difficult decisions and heart-wrenching losses, the Steam Award category ‘Outstanding Stoy-Rich Game’ brings those titles to the limelight.  Sometimes, the plot gets sidelined; not in these titles.

The nominees are A Plague Tale: InnocenceDisco ElysiumFar Cry New DawnGears 5, and Greedfall.

A Plague Tale: Innocence


Set in the 13th century in the kingdom of France, A Plague Tale: Innocence puts characters in control of a 15-year-old woman by the name of Amicia De Rune.  Charged with the protection of her afflicted younger brother, Hugo De Rune, players attempt to guide Amicia safely through the plague-ridden streets of France while avoiding the Inquisition (which no one expected).  The story is brutal in its delivery, bringing goosebumps to bear as players continue to lose hope of survival.  The dialogue is impeccable, the soundtrack pristine, and the plot is legendary.

That said, don’t be surprised if you can’t play through a second time.  It’s an emotionally tolling tale of desperation, and a second play through seems far too taxing.

Disco Elysium

Disco Elysium took Steam by surprise in October this year, bringing an open-world game where almost anything can go down.  Playing as a detective in the city of Revachol, you can become the greatest hero the city has seen, solving gruesome murders and bringing drug-rings to their knees.  Or you can become the village idiot, failing everything, and biding your time by singing karaoke and dancing like a possessed bird.  Even becoming a millionaire is on the table.

Brought to us by developer ZA/UM, Disco Elysium takes a serious swing at attempting to bring table-top roleplaying games to the video game market, and the results are phenomenal.  Almost anything goes, and the story can get rather gritty, rather quickly.

Far Cry New Dawn

The apocalypse has occurred after some nuclear crisis (which happens monthly in games, it seems), and Far Cry 5 has rationally turned hot pink.  Everything is neon pink, from weapons, characters, outfits, terrain, and vehicles.  Nothing quite spells out apocalypse like neon colors, right?

In Far Cry New Dawn, players are tasked with building up a small enclave of survivors, replete with a base, to fend off evil-doers.  There’s the expected crafting, hunting, and resource gathering that one would expect, along with new villains.  The story is relatively dull, frankly, with nothing really being out of the ordinary from what one would expect.  There are surprising moments to be had as you traverse the stereotypical plot-beats, but even these moments of surprise echo ones had countlessly before.

Gears 5

Gears 5 is a surprising addition to this list, given its recent struggles that the developers have been attempting to deal with.  Nonetheless, it is the fifth in its franchise, and thus already exists in a world well-designed and loved by many.  This caveat allows Gears 5 to appear on this nominee list, as perhaps the world itself is delivering the story that gamers are occasionally known to crave.  This game could have been something new and exciting; instead, it’s apparently been treated as a cash cow by developers The Coalition, with almost $800 of microtransactions tucked inside the $60 game.  It’s also the worst-rated game among these nominees, barely doing worse than Far Cry New Age.


GreedFall rounds out the list of story-heavy titles that have been nominated, and it is a beefy finisher for the group.  An old-school RPG that allows you to tackle your objectives in nearly any way that you choose.  Playing as an emissary if the Merchant Congregation, you’re looking for a cure to a bizarre disease plaguing your homeland on an island that appears unaffected to this plague.  Throughout the journey, the character learns some difficult truths about everything they hold dear, and casting doubt on everything they know.

The story is the primary attraction; the dialogue and lore are top-notch, bringing the character through an epic tale.  There’s stealth, crafting, companions, and decent combat to boot.  It can become clunky occasionally, and players will need to be wrapped up in the story to forgive that clunkiness that can rear its head.  If they can, however, they’re blessed with a classic RPG that has well earned its place among the nominees.