2015 D.I.C.E. Awards

The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences just hosted their annual D.I.C.E. Summit and award show. The winners were well deserved if predictable, but overall, the results were generally justified. The show wasn’t the most entertaining with the lackluster hosting and short speeches. But honestly, the real interest was on which games won rather than who was talking, so let’s get to it!

Just a quick word on the host, Pete Holmes. I normally find him very funny, but tonight he kind of fell flat. If this is your first time seeing his work, don’t judge it solely on this.

Outstanding Achievement in Animation:

  • Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • Assassin’s Creed Unity
  • Infamous: Second Son
  • Sunset Overdrive
  • Titanfall

(Just as a heads up, this is just the beginning of Shadow of Mordor’s domination of this award show.)

Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction:

  • Monument Valley
  • Assassin’s Creed Unity
  • Sunset Overdrive
  • Valiant Hearts: The Great War
  • The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

This game is an Escher’s drawing you can play with. Available on Android or iOS, this puzzle game will captivate you for hours. I’m glad this indie game won. Valiant Hearts: The Great War and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter are the other two games that I felt might have won.

Outstanding Technical Achievement:

  • Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
  • Far Cry 4
  • Infamous: Second Son
  • Sunset Overdrive

Shadow of Mordor broke major technical ground and introduced a whole new engine to gaming.

Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay:

  • Destiny
  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
  • Elite Dangerous
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
  • World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition

Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition:

  • Destiny
  • Far Cry 4
  • Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris
  • The Vanishing of Ethan Carther
  • Transistor

I don’t want this to turn into an op-ed piece about the Academy’s choices, but I truly feel that Transistor was overlooked in this category. Transistor‘s music was seamlessly integrated into the game, enhancing the aesthetics with a haunting quality.

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Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design:

  • Destiny
  • Assassin’s Creed Unity
  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
  • Far Cry 4
  • Valiant Hearts: The Great War

Destiny

Outstanding Achievement in Story:

  • Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth
  • This War of Mine
  • Valiant Hearts: The Great War
  • The Wolf Among Us

Outstanding Character:

  • Talion- Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • Jonathan Irons- Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
  • Pagan Min- Far Cry 4
  • Abigail “Fetch” Walker- Infamous: Second Son
  • Deslin Rowe- Infamous: Second Son

Outstanding Innovation in Gaming:

  • Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • Destiny
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
  • Monument Valley
  • Project Spark

Shadow of Mordor’s nemesis engine was one of the most innovative additions to gaming. I’m just glad Destiny didn’t win.

Outstanding Achievement in Game Design:

  • Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • Dungeon of the Endless
  • Far Cry 4
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
  • Titanfall

Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction:

  • Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • Lumino City
  • Monument Valley
  • Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchun)
  • The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

DICE Sprite Award:

This is the first Sprite Award given out so I had to research exactly what the category is. DICE’s website states the award “will be awarded to a game having disproportionate resources for development and exposure (as compared to AAA titles), [that] represent[s] a higher degree of risk tolerance and advances our industry with innovative gameplay and experiences.”

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Transistor

  • Transistor
  • The Banner Saga
  • Hohokum
  • Monument Valley
  • Threes!

Adventure Game of the Year:

  • Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • Infamous: Second Son
  • Valiant Hearts: The Great War
  • The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
  • The Wolf Among Us

Family Game of the Year:

  • LittleBigPlanet 3
  • Disney Infinite 2.0
  • Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
  • Project Spark
  • Skylanders: Trap Team

Mobile Game of the Year:

  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
  • 80 Days
  • Kingdom Rush Origins
  • Monument Valley
  • Threes!

Handheld Game of the Year:

  • Super Smash Brothers for the 3DS
  • Bravely Default
  • Child of Light
  • Shovel Knight
  • Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call

Role-Playing/Massively Multiplayer Game of the Year:

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition
  • The Banner Saga
  • Bravely Default
  • Divinity: Original Sin
  • World of Warcraf: Warlords of Draenor

I’ll be honest, I don’t like this category. I think it needs to be separated into RP GOTY and MMO GOTY.

Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year:

  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
  • Boom Beach
  • Dungeon of the Endless
  • Endless Legend
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth

Sports Game of the Year:

  • FIFA 15
  • Madden NFL 15
  • MLB 14: The Show
  • NBA 2K15

Racing Game of the Year:

  • Mario Kart 8
  • Forza Horizon 2
  • The Crew

Mario Kart 8

This was one of my favorite wins of the evening. Not only is it very deserved, but I feel like it was unexpected which only made it better.

Fighting Game of the Year:

  • Super Smash Brothers for the Wii U
  • Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-
  • Nidhogg
  • Ultra Street Fighter IV

Action Game of the Year:

  • Destiny
  • Far Cry 4
  • Wolfenstein: New Order
  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
  • Titanfall

GAME OF THE YEAR:

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition
  • Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • Destiny
  • Far Cry 4
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Dragon Age: Inquisition

This was surprising only because Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor swept the awards. Not to say that I am not happy with this. Dragon Age: Inquisition is beautifully designed and has enormous gameplay and story. This game easily earned this title. Likwise, I would have no issue is Shadow of Mordor won. The other games weren’t really contenders against these two.

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There were two awards given to Pioneers in Gaming: Allen Alcorn and Ralph Baer. These men are the reason we play games today and even have an excuse for these award shows. The honors were heartfelt. The “Thank you Ralph” elicited by Baer’s son was a touching moment in his memory. It is nice to see the community recognizing the early innovators.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor swept this award show and rightfully so. Destiny was another title that garner many outstanding achievements. What really interested me were the number of indie games competing on the same level as AAA games. Transistor, Nidhogg, Monument Valley, and Valiant Hearts: The Great War are just a few of the amazing indie games nominated. It really demonstrates how much gaming has changed recently and what we can look forward to in the future.

What do you think? Do you agree with the Academy?

Follow me on Twitter for more gaming coverage: @lmrome3


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