2017 Steam Award winners include PUBG, Cuphead & Witcher

We’ve already seen which games sold best on Steam last year, but a perhaps more meaningful insight into movin’ and a-shakin’ in PC-land is the games that people feel warmest and snuggliest about. To that end, Valve have announced the winners of the 2017 Steam Awards, a fully community-voted affair which names the most-loved games across categories including best post-launch support, most player agency, exceeding pre-release expectations and most head-messing-with. Vintage cartoon-themed reflex-tester Cuphead leads the charge with two gongs, but ol’ Plunkbat and The Witcher series also do rather well – as do a host of other games from 2017’s great and good.

Full winners and runners-up below, with links to our previous coverage of each game if you’re so-minded. Plus: I reveal which game I’d have gone for in each category.

The “Choices Matter” Award:

(for the game with the most player agency)

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Runners-up: Divinity: Original Sin II; Life Is Strange: Before The Storm; Dishonored 2; The Walking Dead: A New Frontier

My personal pick: Yeah, agreed

The “Mom’s Spaghetti” Award:

(for the most intense game)

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

Runners-up: Resident Evil 7; Alien: Isolation; Outlast 2, The Evil Within 2

My personal pick: Resi 7, or at least the first half thereof.

The “Labor of Love” Award:

(the game with the best post-launch support and new content


Runners-up: Team Fortress 2; Path Of Exile; Crusader Kings II; Titan Quest: Anniversary Edition

My personal pick Maybe Titan Quest? It is genuinely impressive how new life has been wrung out of such an old ARPG.

The “Suspension of Disbelief” Award:

(the game that most successfully makes a ridiculous concept work)

Rocket League

Runners-up: Saints Row IV; South Park: The Fractured But Whole; Goat Simulator; Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

My pick: Can’t argue with that one

The “The World Is Grim Enough Let’s Just All Get Along” Award:

(best non-violent game)

Stardew Valley

Runners-up: Cities: Skylines; To The Moon; ABZU; Slime Rancher

My pick: ABZU. It does have a wee bit of indirect violence in it, but otherwise it is an incomparably calming and beautiful thing.

The “No Apologies” Award:

(the loved despite great flaws prize)

The Witcher: Enhanced Edition Director’s Cut

Runners-up: Rust; Mount & Blade: Warband; HuniePop; Gothic II: Gold Edition

My pick: Oh, Gothic. There’s a game with spirit.

The “Defies Description” Award:

(the most ‘what even is this?’ game)

Garry’s Mod

Runners-up: The Stanley Parable; Doki Doki Literature Club; Antichamber; Pony Island

My pick: Pony Island, and the many secrets thereof.

The “Cry Havoc And Let Slip The Dogs Of War” Award:

(the most joyfully chaotic game)

Just Cause 3

Runners-up: Middle-earth: Shadow Of War; Total War: Warhammer II; Broforce; Red Faction Guerrilla Steam Edition

My pick: Agreed again

The “Haunts My Dreams” Award:

(the game you’re most obsessed with)

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Runners-up: Dark Souls III; Sid Meier’s Civilization VI; Dota 2; Factorio

My pick: Factorio is the game which most took over my entire mind when I played it.

The “Soul Of Vitruvius” Award:

(most visually-impressive character)

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Runners-up: NieR: Automata; Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice; I Am Bread; Bayonetta

My pick: Hellblade is an extraordinary sight, innit?

The “Whoooaaaaaaa, Dude! 2.0” Award:

(head-fuckiest game)
The Evil Within 2

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number; Antichamber; Luna; CPU Invaders

My pick: Too many I’ve not played there, so I’ll sit this one out. [The Evil Within 2’s not a BAD pick, but it’s not particularly surprising that a sequel to a game about actual mental landscapes collapsing messes with your head a bit -Adam.]

The “Best Soundtrack” Award:

(you can work this one out for yourself)


Runners-up: NieR: Automata; Undertale; Transistor; Crypt of the NecroDancer

My pick: NecroDancer, less in terms of the music itself, and more in terms of how profoundly it melds with the game as a whole.

The “Even Better Than I Expected” Award:

(most exceeded expectations)


Runners-up: Assassin’s Creed Origins; Call of Duty: WWII; Hollow Knight; Sonic Mania

My pick: Oranges!

If you find yourself disagreeing with a whole bunch of the above winners, perhaps you’ll find something more to your taste in RPS’ own best PC games of 2017 picks. Or, if you prefer your games to be more legendary, here are our best PC games of all time. OR if you’re looking for things to be excited about rather than things you already know about, here our are picks for the best PC games of 2018.


  1. tidus89 says:

    wat? Wasn’t Witcher 3 a 2015 game? Not that I don’t think it was great and all. But to me, that’s not a contender for 2017.

    Divinity Original Sin 2 should have won the ‘choices matter’ award. Last time I saw such a believable word with such comprehensible and great (in scale) choices was in Fallout 2.

    • screechfox says:

      I don’t think it was for 2017 games only. They were just games that people nominated, in general. I mean, Transistor is a 2014 game, so it’s definitely just based on player opinion rather than release date.

      (Unrelatedly, Transistor should totally have won Best Soundtrack. But y’know, that’s just me.)

      • Kamestos says:

        Respectfully, it’s Nier Automata who should have won best soundtrack.

      • SalvadorSTM says:

        Transistor or pyre or bastion who cares. They all had amazing soundtracks.

    • Godwhacker says:

      It was everything in the Steam store for some reason, which made the whole thing rather flavourless.

  2. Premium User Badge

    subdog says:

    It’s almost like the most voted-for games closely resembles the most purchased games! Weird!

    (Titan Quest- a 2006 single-player game that is still getting big content updates not winning “Labor of Love” is an actual travesty)

    • ElGordoFreeman says:

      Idk hows the post launch support of Titan Quest, but Warframe had 3-4 major updates a year, all introducing changes to the gameplay (or new gameplay modes) and a new playable class, weekly hotfixes (ranging from 1 to several a week), among other stuff (graphical updates, boss reworks, new weapons) for almost 5 years

      • Premium User Badge

        subdog says:

        A popular free to play shooter getting 5 years of support is something I’d expect at a minimum.

        An 11 year old single player RPG getting a huge update is unprecedented. The companies that originally developed and published the game don’t even exist anymore.

        • ElGordoFreeman says:

          Its about consistency. One big expansion several years later vs the equivalent of a big expansion over the course of a year, several years in a row, plus constant revisions, events and such, and a fluid relation with the community and their feedback. Even as a free to play game it has done way more than most of free to play games and even several AAA games on the same vein (Destiny 2 for instance). And is not like its going to stop anytime soon, the open wolrd area added month and a half ago was a game changer, and there is already another one in development for introduction early this year.
          And the game rise to popularity is recent, with the latest update

          • Premium User Badge

            subdog says:

            Again: Doing more than most is great (I liked it when free to play shooter Planetside 2 also continued to get big content and gameplay updates 5 years after release!)

            But not unprecedented.

        • ElGordoFreeman says:

          And again: its not about being unprecedented its about best post-launch support and new content. One huge expansion vs constant improvement. One time vs several times consistently. And of course its expected for a free to play to keep doing it, it lives or dies depending on it. Planetsise 2 puts out content yes but seems to be strugling to keep his head above water nowadays

          (also sorry i answer to your previous comment but for some weird reason it wont let me reply to your latest content)

    • PancakeWizard says:

      It’s not even the same developers anymore though is it? I suspect that’s why it didn’t win Labour of Love.

      • Premium User Badge

        Solrax says:

        That’s why I didn’t vote for it. I played and loved all the Titan Quest game and expansions. But this expansion is not a labor of love, it is a way to make money off of the old engine.

  3. craigdolphin says:

    Absurd. Witcher 3 should have also won best soundtrack and Haunts my Dreams, :) Or maybe that’s just me. :)

  4. poliovaccine says:

    The fact that you’d pick anything over Warframe for that category just makes me suspicious you’re unfamiliar with just how much Plains of Eidolon changed the game – Warframe should be a shoo-in for that category! It’s like Robert DeNiro winning an award for “Best Actor Named Steve Buscemi” or something, and I only just started with Warframe the other day – I only have an idea just how much was added with the Plains expansion by youtubing for beginner tips. But like, when’s the last time a game “went open world” as part of a post-launch update?

    Before, I would have had little to no interest in Warframe, with it being basically a corridor-and-arena-based looter-shooter. The open world expansion entirely changes what the game even is, to the point that it got me interested, and eventually playing. I’d heard of it ages ago but that update is entirely what netted me. This may be the first MMO I actually stick with (and the second I’ve ever registered for at all – my abandoned EVE account being the first).

  5. DeepSleeper says:

    Given a category for “How far can you make the imagination stretch? What’s the most totally insane concept you can possibly imagine in a video game?”, most people voted for “What if soccer… but remote control cars?”

    Imagination is dead.

  6. Gomer_Pyle says:

    I voted for Necrodancer as well, and for pretty much the same reason as you said, Alec. I got it as a gift this Christmas, and have been playing the heck out of it.

  7. Turkey says:

  8. AngoraFish says:

    ‘Awards’ that are nothing but a shitty substitute for the sometimes interesting mini games that Valve used to run during sales. Easily the worst ‘awards’ ever. Oh, how far Valve have fallen.

  9. Person of Interest says:

    I chuckled at the nomination of I Am Bread.

    • ElkiLG says:

      I voted for I am bread! It was that or 4 sexy ladies (maybe not Senua, but still thanks steam users, that’s not weird at all).

      • Megakoresh says:

        Yes, that category felt like a teenage boy’s fetish, rather than serious nominations.

  10. TheAngriestHobo says:

    Oddly, in every case, my vote was neither the winner nor Alec’s pick. I must be bad at voting.

  11. MartyJ says:

    A lot of these are pretty recent games. So it’s kinda like Oscar bait movies released towards the end of the year. The titles that are most fresh in your mind. I’m sure a lot of these will be forgotten about in a few years.

    • Premium User Badge

      ooshp says:

      Then again, Plunkbat didn’t win all the things. So at least a little more thought than “wot did I buy” seems to have gone in to the voting.

  12. Potatokoke says:

    Stardew Valley is an infinitely better game than Abzu. Abzu was plain boring, it was WAY too short, it had no real substance and a lot of the scenes I felt were personally just over-stimulating to the point where I got tired just playing it.

    If you compare it to something like Journey for example. Now that was a good game.
    Abzu start: You are in the water and there’s some seaweed and a little underwater cave. You have no idea where you’re going or what your character’s motivations are.
    Journey start: You climb a sand hill to see an epic mountain far away with a light shining at the top, making it obvious where your journey is headed.