GameSpot will soon be officially kicking off its Best Of series for 2017, where we’ll unveil our picks for the best games, films, TV shows, and more released in the last year. But how exactly do we come up with our Top 10 lists? Who makes these decisions? How much arguing happens behind the scenes? And how many friendships are forged or lost in the midst of all the fiery debate?

It all starts, of course, with the global team of GameSpot editors and video producers. Our team is primarily based in the US (with GameSpot offices in New York, LA, and San Francisco), but we also rope in the expertise of our global colleagues based in the UK and Australia for our Best Of conversations. The first step in our deliberations is a team-wide survey, where we ask all of our editors/producers to hand in their personal Top 10 lists for the year. The senior editorial team then collates all those votes, assigning a score to each game based on the rank they appear in individual lists, to come up with a master list that shows (as a whole) what the GameSpot crew loved and enjoyed in 2017.

We then take that master list and call a series of multi-hour meetings with all content staff (even our international colleagues join in). In these meetings, we debate as a group exactly what games (or films or shows) deserve inclusion in our end-of-year honors, and then go through the often times tricky process of coming up with a ranking of the Top 10. While that initial master list is used as a guide during our deliberations, we rely just as much on hearing the impassioned arguments of the GameSpot staff about their favorite games when making our final decisions.

This process makes our Best Of for 2017 a true representation of what we as GameSpot think are the essential games/films/shows of the year. It’s a reflection of both our group-think and our individual preferences as people, a snapshot of what the team enjoyed filtered through the lens of our critical eye. It’s GameSpot’s Best Of for 2017.