After a record-setting number of votes in the first round of The 2015 Speakys, I knew it was going to be an exciting “Game of the Year” ballot. Little did I know someone would go out of their way to make the whole thing a bit more difficult than usual.
Before we get into the bizarre and needless scandal that is rigging a readers’ choice ballot, let’s take a moment to look at the results of our GOTY vote. Your official Speakys GOTY for 2015 is...
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt!
But I put that in the title, so you shouldn’t be too surprised.
Your runner-up is the PlayStation 4 exclusive Bloodborne (more on that game later), with cult hit Undertale nabbing second runner-up.
Here’s how the votes broke down.
1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - 1,183 votes
2. Bloodborne - 446 votes
3. Undertale - 261 votes
4. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain - 174 votes
5. Fallout 4 - 170 votes
6. Splatoon - 107 votes
7. Super Mario Maker - 105 votes
8. Rocket League - 82 votes
9. Rise of the Tomb Raider - 72 votes
10. Other (write-in) - 55 votes
11. Xenoblade Chronicles X - 50 votes
12. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask - 38 votes
13. Ori and the Blind Forest - 32 votes
14. Monster Hunter 4 - 22 votes
15. Halo 5: Guardians - 19 votes
15. Life is Strange - 19 votes
17. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - 17 votes
18. Until Dawn - 16 votes
19. Box Boy! - 11 Votes
20. Mad Max - 8 votes
21. Broken Age - 6 votes
22. Persona 4: Dancing All Night - 4 votes
Top Ridiculous Write-in Responses: Your Mom, Your Mom’s Butt, Shadow the Hedgehog, and Not Undertale.
But back to that whole “someone rigged the ballot” story.
The vast majority of voting happened on the first two days of last week, January 11 and 12 respectively. This is to be expected, as that’s when the ballot was introduced the public. Nearly all the votes counted, around 2,900, were cast on those days. On Tuesday night and Wednesday morning I noticed a HUGE surge in votes, in fact a staggering 2,000+ more votes had been tallied up by the time I got around to actually checking the details.
It was pretty much all Bloodborne. It had racked up over 2,000 more votes in a 24 hour period.
Did the Bloodborne subreddit come a’knocking? Was my article shared to the PlayStation blog? I searched around the web and found nothing. Luckily Google forms lets you output your votes into a spreadsheet where it keeps track of when votes comes in and what game they were cast for.
I saw that Bloodborne had received roughly a vote a second (though on many occasions as many as two or three a second) for hours at a time. Ungodly late and early hours too. Someone was obviously trying to rig the ballot.
I had no choice but to delete all the large batches of Bloodborne votes that had come in during those times. They were pretty much all in a row, so it wasn’t too much of a struggle. After I was done I re-tallied the votes based on the legitimate ones that had comes in slowly throughout the week and here we are.
Nice try, whoever you are. I’m sure trying to rig the Kotaku/Talk Amongst Yourselves readers’ choice awards was the best use of your time. You’re a real winner.
I’d like to thank everyone who voted (except Cheaty McCheaterton of course). Each year these awards seem to get bigger and better and maybe I should be proud that someone actually felt the need to hack the system. I’m looking forward to another year of fantastic games and wonderful discussions about them.
Why are the awards called “The Speakys”?
When these awards first began in 2011 I introduced them in the Kotaku forum known as “Speak Up”. The Speak Up forum was merged with TAY in the spring of 2013 and no longer exists. But since the gamers who read Kotaku still have a tendency to “speak up” about their opinions when it comes to games they love I’ve kept the name.
It’s 2016, why are these “The 2015” Speakys?
Because all the games came out and were played in 2015.
What games have won in the past?
2011 - GOTY: Skyrim, Runner-Up: Portal 2
2012 - GOTY: Borderlands 2, Runner-Up: The Walking Dead
2013 - GOTY: The Last of Us, Runner-Up: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
2014 - GOTY: Dragon Age Inquisition, Runner up: Super Smash Bros for Wii U
What wonderful people helped put this together?
That would be myself (Ben Bertoli), Nach (Jose Acosta), Zarnyx (Narelle Ho Sang), Steve Bowling and UI 2.0.
You’re reading TAY, Kotaku’s community-run blog. TAY is written by and for Kotaku readers like you. We write about games, art, culture and everything in between. Want to write with us? Check out our tutorial here and join in.
For more gaming fun you can follow GBD on Twitter @SuperBentendo