VGChartz's Evan Norris: "If the shortlist of VGChartz Game of the Year contenders had to be summed up in a single word, it would be "iteration". Nothing here started from scratch; the greatness involved came from years of modification, experimentation, and incremental updates.
Just look at the three Nintendo-published candidates. There are not one, not two, but three games with "3" in the title. That includes Bayonetta 3, which built upon one of the industry's best combat systems with enhanced replayability and larger levels; Splatoon 3, which further polished the unique third-person shooter, adding new maps, weapons, and an updated multiplayer lobby system; and Xenoblade Chronicles 3, which thanks to its huge open world, expanded combat system, sympathetic characters, and epic musical score, further insisted on the Xenoblade series ranking among the all-time greats in the RPG genre.
Outside of Nintendo, Sony iterated on its re-energized God of War franchise with God of War Ragnarök, a sequel that improved upon its predecessor in several important areas, introducing new enemy types & bosses, and even a controllable Atreus. Meanwhile, From Software took 12+ years of experience in action RPGs and fed it into the phenomenal open-world experience Elden Ring, which — with different characters and lore — could easily have been released as Dark Souls IV."