The annual award ceremony created by prestigious journalist Geoff Keighley, The Game Awards, has formally introduced “Soulsian” as a new genre in its award listing.
“We feel it is important to stay up to date with modern genres as it can define the audience” says Owen Stein, PR Manager at The Game Awards, “and as a lot of people have noticed there is a new branch of games that could not be cleanly put under more conventional categorising, so we have created a new one based on the unofficial genre classification: Soulsian.”. Stein went into more depth of The Game Awards's attempts at genre classification prior to the genre award creation, saying “there are too few puzzles to count as action/adventure, it is too slow to count as action and not having an established role you play in the setting excluded it from the RPG category.”.
This is considered a significant event as potentially the first time in decades a new genre has been created. According to official The Game Awards meeting minutes “metroidvania”, “roguelike” and “narrative-driven” were going to be considered as official genres but Stein commented that “the characteristics of these three unofficial genres were unfortunately considered too vague and so their formalisations were rejected”. On the other hand, The Game Awards has deemed Soulsian as having “clear characteristics we could measure to differentiate it with”.
We spoke with professional video game commentator Gaming Experimentation to ask what this could mean for the industry. “Well it seems clear that this ratification will only lead to more games being inspired by Dark Souls being created, in the same way that The Game Awards's listing of metroidvania lead to more games of that genre being made. It will also lead to less games being classified as Soulsian due to a definition that is too strict, leading to less Soulsian games overall being made.”.
Stein announced the new genre award will be added to The Game Awards 2017 award categories later this year. We have reached out to other videogame award ceremonies such as the BAFTAs, Golden Joystick Awards and Game Developers Choice Awards and will update when we get an official comment.
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