A real labor of love.
As Rock Paper Sʜᴏᴛɢᴜɴ reᴄᴇɴᴛly poɪɴted ᴏᴜᴛ, ᴡʜɪʟᴇ Sᴛᴇᴀᴍ's publicly voted Labᴏʀ ᴏꜰ Love aᴡᴀʀd ꜰᴏʀ 2020 ᴡᴇnt ᴛᴏ Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, ꜰɪᴠᴇ yᴇᴀʀs ᴀꜰᴛᴇʀ ɪᴛs launch Plᴀɴetary Annihilᴀᴛiᴏɴ: Tɪᴛᴀɴs ɪs sᴛɪʟʟ ǫᴜɪᴇᴛly ʙᴇɪɴg ᴜᴘdᴀᴛed ꜰᴏʀ tʜᴇ sake ᴏꜰ a smᴀʟʟ ʙᴜᴛ dedicᴀᴛed communɪᴛy.
The original Planetary Annihilation was a Kickstarted RTS that promised "Total Annihilation-inspired gameplay on a planetary scale." When released in 2014 it was a bit underwhelming, with dinky Little Prince planets that felt too small to give a sense of grandeur, and attacks that could come from any direction while you tried to keep track of multiple worlds making it simultaneously feel too big. At the time I played four or five hours and thought maybe it was just a bad idea, then played Supreme Commander instead.
But developers Uber Entertainment stuck with it and released Planetary Annihilation: Titans in 2015, a standalone expansion that contained the entirety of the original game, with a raft of improvements. Though the original team moved on in 2018, some of the developers formed a mini-studio of their own called Planetary Annihilation Inc. to take over patches and balance updates, and have been running regular tournaments for its community ever since. There's a championship series with monthly tournaments running right now.
It may not have set the world on fire at release, and it still may not be everyone's cup of tea, but that kind of dedication makes Planetary Annihilation: Titans seem like a real labor of love. Still, at least the award wasn't won by The Witcher 3, which was also nominated by its fans—a game whose only update in the last 12 months was the announcement of ray-tracing and faster loading times to come with a "next-gen edition" at some point in the future.