Last year was a banner year for RPG storytelling, with many games bringing enthralling tales to the table. As for the awards, perhaps the biggest surprise was the readers' choice for 2002: Suikoden 3. With its new, multiple viewpoint system, the game spun a tale so large it took three playable main characters for it to be told in its entirety. The staff didn't find it quite so hot, however, choosing Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis over Suikoden 3.
The readers succumbed to nostalgia last year, voting the re-release of Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete into the 3rd position. An engaging tale of romance and adventure, Lunar: SSSC has a special place in many gamers' hearts, but apparently not the staff's, as they felt Square and Disney's joint effort Kingdom Hearts deserved the Bronze.
The inclusion of Suikoden 3 among this years award winners is a bit of a surprise. The Suikoden series has long been nothing more than a cult hit, rarely recognized by the mainstream. However, the series boasts a deep and rich history and each game has managed to build upon this backstory, weaving in elements of its predecessors into its fibers.
Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis is similar in this regard as well. Knight of Lodis is actually a sidestory to the main Ogre Battle saga, a series with perhaps an even more epic tale than that of Suikoden. Each chapter of the Ogre Battle saga draws the player deeper and deeper into its mythos, revealing nuggets of plot in each game in just enough quantity to keep the player hungry for more. The close race between these two games according to both the staff and readers speaks volumes about how much they have hooked RPGamers as a whole.
This year promises more of the same, with many big-name titles hitting North America during 2003. What do these anticipated titles have to offer us? We'll just have to wait and see.