Noisy Pixel’s End of Year Awards 2020: First Party, Publisher, Developer, and Soundtrack

We’re near the end of our awards for 2020. For now, let’s highlight some companies and games that went above and beyond in our eyes this year.

Previous 2020 awards:

First Party

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

The timing that Animal Crossing: New Horizons released could not have been more important to our sanity as we all did our part to shelter in place in 2020. Nintendo pretty much saved us by releasing a game where those who spend the most time playing are rewarded with a unique set of items. This is further enhanced with the stream of daily tasks and options to visit friends’ islands, again when many friends couldn’t see each other in real life. It’s simple in concept, but Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a substantial playing experience that encourages imagination with playful mechanics and an endless amount of playing potential.




Looking back at 2020, publish Atlus made some significant moves for gamers, which saw the release of Persona 5 Royal, Catherine Full Body on Switch, Persona 4 Golden on PC, and 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim. In the case of 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, fans saw a significant spotlight be put on narrative-driven adventures, a genre that doesn’t always get mainstream attention. Through these steps, we happily award this team with being the best publisher of 2020 and look forward to what they bring to us in 2021.


Square Enix Business Division 1

final fantasy vii remake

It must have been tough to meet the expectations of long time Final Fantasy VII fans with the release of Final Fantasy VII Remake. Many of us criticized the developer’s early announcements of breaking up the story into multiple parts and taking liberties with the narrative. However, they took on the challenge with style by creating a memorable and beautiful action RPG for both long time fans and newcomers. We can stress enough how great it felt to return to the streets of Midgar, but putting this story together for a new generation was no easy task. For that, we award Square Enix Business Division 1 as the best developer of 2020.


Masashi Hamauzu, Mitsuto Suzuki, and Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy VII Remake)

final fantasy VII 6

Taking the classic MIDI arrangments of Nobuo Uematsu and presenting them in a unique, yet familiar, way must have been a heavy task. Composers Masashi Hamauzu and Mitsuto Suzuki breathed new life into each scene of the adventure with heightened arrangments for the more emotional scenes and calm sounds to complement exploration. However, it was the theme Hollow from Uematsu-san that really completed the package for us, giving players a sense of a classic western as a hero puts it all on the line to face his rival and save his friends. The entire soundtrack is simply beautiful, and we are thrilled that it exists.

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