Welcome to the Editor's Choice awards for the 2022 Mod of the Year Awards, where we show recognition to the mods from the past year that we've found to be personally deserving of attention. We've chosen a series of award categories which range from best singleplayer mod, to multiplayer, to most anticipated and to several more unique and theme related categories.
A mod which brings extra depth or significance to an engrossing singleplayer experience.
Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines is a game I've played a lot of times over the years, usually with the Unofficial Patch at my side and occasionally one of a number of competent refreshes of the VTMB sandbox installed as well. UP still remained the certain inclusion for any playthrough, though, and that was a mantle I thought insurmountable...until I finally got around to playing the Clan Quest Mod. This mod amounts to an expansion more than anything that is almost fully voice acted and features hours of well-written and generally well-executed content. One of the boss fights near the end of the game on the Sabbat side is a particular highlight and all in all, we're surprised this one hasn't placed before - so now's the time to amend that.
A mod which offers a new way to play with your friends.
Combat Revolved somehow makes Halo: CE into even more a whale of a time with a friend, revising the sandbox, adding more foes into the equation, and expanding the weapon and vehicle roster just enough to enhance without overdoing it. There's plenty of quality of life improvements as well, from diversifying the co-op character to a range of AI and weapon rebalances that change how even hardcore Halo fans will approach this classic campaign. It was already hard to beat storming the Control Room or doing the Warthog rally on The Silent Cartographer with another Spartan by your side, but Revolved makes it so fun to go back and do it all again.
A mod which focuses on beatifying an older game with technical and artistic upgrades.
It can be hard to select for this category as whilst the many 4k HD AI upscale packs and ambitious ReShade presets out there can add a little bit of additional polish to a game, it's hard to pick up on mods that totally reshape how we view the title and the engine it's built upon. Sometimes we select projects that rebuild a game from the ground up, as with last year's winner, to be comparable with modern titles; but this year, eXperiment is our pick, as a mod that proves Goldsrc is still, well, gold, and has plenty of room for creative reinterpretation. Not only making the most of the technical limitations of the engine, it also takes the art style in a different, fresh direction for its own narrative, and given these graphical revisions, it fits handily into this category. A special mention must go, though, to Portal RTX, not developed by a conventional modding team, but by the folks at NVIDIA using RTX Remix! We're excited to see what modders will achieve when the tool makes its way into the public's hands.
A mod which overhauls a game, enhancing or changing it to be a whole new experience.
For: Call of Duty 2
The Editor's Choice is a good chance for us to shine a light on some of the top mods that haven't, for whatever reason, placed in Mod of the Year before - so for Best Overhaul, we're exercising that privilege for Back2Fronts, a complete overhaul of Call of Duty 2 featuring new missions for the singleplayer in addition to new weapons and new enemy types. Newer CODs have had a real lack of modding support - the last time it was a focus was Black Ops 3 - but with Modern Warfare 2 (2022, that is), slated to include tools aimed at allowing UGC to flourish, it's a great time to look back on the legacy of COD mods and revisit gems like Back2Fronts.
A mod which has continued to receive major updates and support, years after its original release.
Elite Force II is one of the better Star Trek titles, with the franchise not faring as well in this department as its oft-compared sci-fi twin sibling Star Wars. Built upon the classic Quake III engine, Elite Force II is a solid shooter where you fight off the Borg Collective and prove resistance is not, in fact, futile. The only thing missing is the signature Star Trek away team experience, and with Hazard Modding Co-op - a mod that has seen regular updates now for fifteen years - that's something now open to all. Featuring multiplayer support in the singleplayer story and secret missions, this is the mod for the action-oriented Trekkies to get together and kill some Borg!
This is a mod that we wouldn't be surprised to see as an official expansion,
or be worth paying money for.
For: Supreme Commander 2
It's no secret that Supreme Commander 2 wasn't quite the sequel the dedicated fans of massive-scale RTS were looking for. It's still a solid game, but compared to the first title, it's considerably cut-back and much simpler. For those who were hoping for a little more bang and plenty more economic strategy, the Revamp Expansion Mod is an unsung hero that has singlehandedly brought much of what was once loved back into Supreme Commander 2, featuring a more complicated economic model, a revision of the research system to facilitate classic unit tiers, and many more experimentals that are far larger and more destructive than ever before.
A mod that dives into a period of history rarely touched upon by other games,
and does so with great attention to detail.
Historical mods - especially for Total War - tend to culminate around the middle-ages, but there's untapped potential digging back into the centuries before the first millennium whilst still remaining in AD. Insularis Draco tries to shine a light on some of the dark ages, focusing on the rise of barbarian kingdoms, the waning influence of the Roman Empire, and the rising powers of Europe in the year 452 AD. There's little peace and quiet in this time of history and difficult choices will need to be made to eke out supremacy!
Best Adaptation Award
A mod that uses the story or universe of a film, television show, or other property to
accurately recreate its world and vibe.
Lord of the Rings is a mainstay of the total conversion scene - if there's a game with a medieval or fantasy twist, you can bet there's a mod introducing Tolkien's mythology into the mix. This isn't the first Lord of the Rings total conversion for a Total War game, but it's one of the most promising and beautiful in recent years. Whether you're replaying some of the most iconic battles in the series from a commander-on-the-field's point of view, or pursuing the mod's new campaign taking the Ring Bearer from Hobbiton to the fires of Mordor, this mod's spring of Lord of the Rings action never runs dry.
A mod that takes a game in a new and interesting direction.
Earlier this year, we received the feline-simulator Stray, which saw players occupy the paws of a curious cat in a cyberpunk world. Stray took the world by storm because, well, anything involving cats usually does, and it spawned an interesting question in one modder's mind - what if DOOM, but as a cat? The beautifully bizarre melding of these ideas is Stray DOOM, where you'll rip and tear through the usual suspects of demonkind not as a buffed-up space marine, but as a dainty, athletic cat. We have to give an honourable mention here to another mod called Doom Shinobi which, similarly, places you in standard DOOM levels against standard DOOM enemies, but now, as a kickass ninja. Stray DOOM wins out as the concept is just a little zanier and more fitting of this award, but Shinobi is still worth a go!
A mod which, though not yet released, has spent 2021 building incredible anticipation for it.
For: Metro 2033 Redux
Some games are modded to hell and back whether they feature a proper SDK or not, and some games we'd love to see mods for unfortunately never seem to get their UGC off the ground. That made it a great surprise, then, to see movement from Metro 2033: Legacy this year as they transitioned to a new engine and continued their journey towards an expansive new POV in Dmitry Glukhovsky's world. It was fans of his books that first put these games into motion, and now, new fans continue the cycle of creation. That's why we can't wait to see what Legacy has in store for us in 2023.
The 2022 awards are proudly supported by mod.io. Launch an official mod community for your game with powerful moderation, discovery, events, marketplace and metrics systems, using our cross-platform mod SDKs and plugins for Unity and Unreal Engine. Interested in adding mods to your game and finding out more? Reach out for a demonstration.
What mods would you have picked given the chance? Let us know in the comments and get ready for the next announcement in a few days, the most anticipated mods and then the big one soon after that, the Top 10 Mods of 2022!
343's first entry into the Halo franchise has turned ten, so here's five Halo mods to commemorate the occasion!
Check out this week’s roundup of the mods and indies that were featured on the DBolical YouTube!
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