Tag Archive: AIAS


The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences announced their nominees for the 20th annual D.I.C.E. (design, innovate, communicate, entertain) awards yesterday. The D.I.C.E. Awards annually celebrate the biggest gaming moments of the year, and this year is no different with 56 different titles getting at least one nod.

Leading the way is Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End with 10 nominations, followed closely behind by indie darling Inside with nine. This year also marks the addition of two new categories: Immersive Reality Game of the Year and Immersive Reality Technical Achievement Award. Both of these are meant to shine a light on the emerging VR/AR platforms that took center stage in many gaming conversations over the course of 2016. This brings the total categories for the show up to 24. All other categories and nominations can be seen below.

Nominees and winners in each award category are determined by the Academy’s peer panels. These panels—one for each category—are comprised of the game industry’s most experienced and talented men and women, and who are experts in their chosen fields. Winners are determined as part of a confidential voting process, with every panel member getting a vote for Game of the Year along with their field of expertise, and the results of this voting process is kept top secret until the night of the show.

“On behalf of the Academy’s Board of Directors and its 33,000+ membership, I’d like to congratulate all the nominees,” said Mike Fischer, President of the AIAS. “For the past 20 years, the Academy has made the core of its mission to honor and celebrate the highest achievements in game making. We look forward to celebrating our 20th anniversary milestone, and look forward to celebrating many more years to come!”

Along with all the awards, legendary game director Todd Howard will also be honored as the 22nd member inducted into the AIAS’s Hall of Fame on the night of the show.

This year’s show will be streamed in its entirety live from The Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, via live.interactive.org starting at 7 PM PT/10 PM ET on Thursday, February 23rd. It was also announced that this year’s show would be hosted by Kinda Funny co-founder Greg Miller, and Nerdist News host Jessica Chobot. Here now is the list of nominees at this year’s show.

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN ANIMATION

  • Inside
  • The Last Guardian
  • Overwatch
  • Street Fighter V
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN ART DIRECTION

  • Battlefield 1
  • Firewatch
  • Inside
  • The Last Guardian
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN CHARACTER

  • Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – Nick Reyes
  • Firewatch – Delilah
  • Firewatch – Henry
  • The Last Guardian – Trico
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – Nathan Drake

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN ORIGINAL MUSIC COMPOSITION

  • Abzu
  • Battlefield 1
  • DOOM
  • The Last Guardian
  • Titanfall 2

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND DESIGN 

  • Battlefield 1
  • Inside
  • The Last Guardian
  • Quantum Break
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN STORY

  • Firewatch
  • Inside
  • Oxenfree
  • That Dragon, Cancer
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

OUTSTANDING TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT

  • Battlefield 1
  • No Man’s Sky
  • Overwatch
  • Titanfall 2
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

ACTION GAME OF THE YEAR

  • Battlefield 1
  • DOOM
  • Gears of War 4
  • Overwatch
  • Titanfall 2

ADVENTURE GAME OF THE YEAR

  • Firewatch
  • Inside
  • King’s Quest: The Complete Collection
  • The Last Guardian
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

FAMILY GAME OF THE YEAR

  • Dragon Quest Builders
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Ratchet & Clank
  • Rock Band Rivals
  • Super Mario Maker 3DS

FIGHTING GAME OF THE YEAR

  • EA Sports UFC 2
  • Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator-
  • Killer Instinct: Season 3
  • Pokken Tournament
  • Street Fighter V

RACING GAME OF THE YEAR 

  • Driveclub VR
  • Forza Horizon 3

ROLE-PLAYING/MASSIVELY MULTIPLAYER GAME OF THE YEAR

  • Dark Souls III
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
  • Hyper Light Drifter
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division
  • World of Warcraft: Legion

SPORTS GAME OF THE YEAR

  • FIFA 17
  • Madden NFL 17
  • MLB The Show 16
  • NBA 2K17
  • Steep

STRATEGY/SIMULATION GAME OF THE YEAR

  • The Banner Saga 2
  • Deus Ex GO
  • Fire Emblem Fates
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
  • XCOM 2

D.I.C.E. SPRITE AWARD

  • 1979 Revolution: Black Friday
  • Firewatch
  • Inside
  • Superhot
  • That Dragon, Cancer

HANDHELD GAME OF THE YEAR

  • Dragon Quest Builders
  • Fire Emblem Fates
  • Kirby: Planet Robobot
  • Pokemon Sun & Moon
  • Severed

MOBILE GAME OF THE YEAR

  • Clash Royale
  • Crashlands
  • Gardenscapes – New Acres
  • Pokemon GO
  • Reigns

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN ONLINE GAMEPLAY

  • Battlefield 1
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
  • Overwatch
  • Titanfall 2
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN GAME DESIGN

  • I Expect You To Die
  • Inside
  • Overwatch
  • Owlboy
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN GAME DIRECTION

  • 1979 Revolution: Black Friday
  • Battlefield 1
  • Inside
  • The Last Guardian
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

GAME OF THE YEAR

  • Battlefield 1
  • Inside
  • Overwatch
  • Pokemon GO
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences announced this morning that Bethesda Game Studios’ Executive Producer and Game Director, Todd Howard, would be welcomed into their Hall of Fame at the upcoming 20th annual D.I.C.E. Awards. Howard is the 22nd individual to receive the honor, and will be presented the award by his long-time colleague, Pete Hines, Bethesda’s VP of Public Relations and Marketing.

As described by the AIAS themselves, the Hall of Fame honor is bestowed on game creators who have been instrumental in the development of highly influential games and moving a particular genre forward. These individuals demonstrate the highest level of creativity and innovation, resulting in significant product influence on a scale that expands the scope of the industry. Past AIAS Hall of Fame recipients include: Hideo Kojima (2016), Leslie Benzies (2014), Dan and Sam Houser (2014), Tim Sweeney (2012), Dr. Greg Zeschuk (2011), and Dr. Ray Muzyka (2011).

Todd Howard is likely best known for being integral to the growth and direction of The Elder Scrolls and Fallout franchises. Howard began his video game development career at Bethesda in 1994, with his first game development credit coming in 1995 with The Terminator: Future Shock. From there, Howard would join the Elder Scrolls team as a designer on The Elder Scrolls: Chapter II – Daggerfall. He has remained with the series ever since. In 2008, serving as executive producer and game director, Howard was also integral to ending the decade long dormancy of the Fallout series with Fallout 3.

“Todd is revered by legions of fans not just for his creative leadership over the years but for his humility and humor,” said Ted Price, CEO and Founder of Insomniac Games, and Vice Chairman of the AIAS. “Despite the fact that he’s helmed several of the most successful franchises in the history of our industry, he consistently defers praise to others and is the quintessential team player. Yet it’s Todd’s vision and strong direction that has brought Tamriel and the Commonwealth to life for millions around the world. I’m in awe of his accomplishments and am proud to call him a friend. I can’t think of anyone who deserves this honor more than he does.”

The 2017 AIAS Hall of Fame Award will be presented to Howard during the 20th annual D.I.C.E. Awards on Thursday, February 23rd, 2017, at the Mandalay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. For those unable to attend in person, stay tuned to EGM for details on how you’ll likely be able to stream the awards on that date.

DICEStage640

The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences announced yesterday that Penn Jillette and Randy Pitchford would kick off this year’s D.I.C.E. Summit with their presentation titled “Assumption and Expectations with Interactivity and Magic”. The session looks to incorporate lessons in misdirection, expectation disruption, and lying.

Penn Jillette, of course, is one half of the internationally renowned magic team of Penn & Teller, and Randy Pitchford is probably better known as the president and co-founder of Gearbox Software, but has proven to have a few aces up his sleeves as well over the years. The duo’s session looks to help set the theme for this year’s summit, the “Art of Engagement”.

“Engagement is central to both business and art,” said Martin Rae, president, Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. “This year a variety of talented people will explore engagement and how it deeply affects what they do – whether it is advancing automobile technology, building boundless entertainment franchises, or creating open worlds based on experience. As always, our audience will be treated to big ideas that will help drive their own creative pursuits forward.”

Along with Jillette and Pitchford, the AIAS announced nearly a dozen other speakers for this year’s show including lead writer for the Tomb Raider reboot Rhianna Pratchett, new IP editorial director for Ubisoft Tommy Francois, and TV/film producer Adrian Askarieh.

They join previously announced speakers such as Firaxis co-founder Sid Meier, and Bethesda game director Todd Howard. All D.I.C.E. Summit sessions will be available via livestream through a variety of yet to be announced partners. The 19th annual D.I.C.E. Summit will take place in Las Vegas from February 16-18.

The DICE Summit is an annual convention put on by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences that sees the gaming industry’s best and brightest come together to exchange ideas, celebrate the year that was, and look ahead to the future. There’s also some fun to be had as well as each Summit kicks off with an annual Poker tournament along with a golf and go-kart excursion before things really start to get underway.

Now, I admit I’m still recovering from my week in Vegas as the DICE Summit is unlike any other gaming convention we go to as games journalists and as a DICE rookie, I admit I was a bit taken aback at just seeing the tremendous talent that was often brought together in one room at any given panel or presentation. Nowhere else might you see Epic Games’ CEO Tim Sweeney lecture an audience with Ted Price from Insomniac Games, Todd Howard from Bethesda, and David Jaffe from Eat Sleep Play in attendance on how graphics will never need to go past 72 frames a second. Speaking of Todd Howard though, he gave a wonderful opening keynote for this year’s event as well.

Such topics that were spearheaded this year were how the publishing model may evolve from here and what harm it may be doing to the creative side of the industry, the future of technology in games, console gaming vs. social media gaming, and how some people outside the gaming industry could speak to certain key elements that need not be forgotten when making games. Among these were legendary songwriter/producer Glen Ballard talking about the importance of collaboration and Issac Gilmore of SEAL Team 7 talking about leadership.

And, of course, there were some surprises as well including the endearing speech by Tomonobu Itagaki, co-founder of Valhalla Games, but many of you probably know him better for his work at Tecmo on the Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden series. His heart felt presentation on the depression he fell into after he felt Dead or Alive 2 was rushed to market and was initially incomplete shows how much of his heart he put into his games. Speaking of how he would drink days away during this dark moment in his life until hearing Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” and using that as inspiration to pull his life and company back together was a jaw-dropping moment for many.

But, of course, this all culminated in the Interactive Achievement Awards. Think of them as the video game Oscars (the SpikeTV VGAs are more like the Grammys, lots of show with very little substance). This year marked the 15th anniversary of the awards and was hosted for the 7th time by fellow Jersey-boy and comedian extraordinaire Jay Mohr. Although criticized by some, I thought Mohr did a superb job hosting the show once again and had my table and I in stitches during his entire opening monologue segment. In total, there were 26 categories this year as voted on by a panel of industry insiders and movers and shakers.

Here is the final breakdown:

  • Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition: Portal 2
  • Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design: Battlefield 3
  • Outstanding Achievement in Story: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Outstanding Character Performance: Wheatley – Portal 2
  • Downloadable Game of the Year – Bastion
  • Casual Game of the Year – Fruit Ninja Kinect
  • Social Networking Game of the Year – The Sims Social
  • RPG/MMO of the Year – Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Outstanding Innovation in Gaming – Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure
  • Sports Game of the Year – FIFA 12
  • Racing Game of the Year – Forza Motorsport 4
  • Fighting Game of the Year – Mortal Kombat
  • Strategy/Sim Game of the Year – Orcs Must Die!
  • Family Game of the Year – LittleBigPlanet 2
  • Mobile Game of the Year – Infinity Blade II
  • Handheld Game of the Year – Super Mario 3D Land
  • Adventure Game of the Year – Batman: Arkham City
  • Outstanding Achievement in Online Play – Star Wars: The Old Republic
  • Outstanding Achievement in Connectivity – Portal 2
  • Action Game of the Year – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  • Outstanding Achievement in Animation – Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
  • Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction – Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
  • Outstanding Achievement in Visual Engineering – Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
  • Outstanding Achievement in Game Play Engineering – Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction – Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Game of the Year – Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

I agree with most of these choices, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t use this chance to mention a few gripes I had. I disagree wholeheartedly with Fruit Ninja Kinect as Casual Game of the Year because it’s just the iOS game expanded to use your whole body. I thought Jetpack Joyride was more deserving. And I just have to shake my head at Skylanders winning Outstanding Innovation because it’s big innovation is simply finding another source of income for gaming publishers. LA Noire’s facial recognition technology was more impressive in my book. In fact, that also could’ve taken Outstanding Achievements in Animation and Visual Engineering as well. I also have a problem with Outstanding Achievement in Connectivity. Portal 2’s co-op mode is superb, but it has no replay value. So it may connect to someone on a deep level, but then it is gone. I think Gears of War 3 or Saints Row: The Third, games not even nominated, would have been a better choice.

My final gripe comes with Skyrim taking Outstanding Achievement in Game Play Engineering considering the bevy of glitches throughout that game, especially for PS3 users who are JUST NOW getting that fixed. A bigger world does not make a better working world. It should have gone to Arkham City for its combat and grappling hook and gliding mechanics or even Portal 2 for fun with portals and its amazing physics.

Now, that I’ve gotten that out of my system, the IAAs also saw Ed Logg, creator of Asteroids, Centipede, and Gauntlet awarded the Gmaing Pioneer Award and Tim Sweeney, Founder and CEO of Epic Games, inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame. Big thumbs up to those guys.

The Summit concluded with the 3rd Annual Indie Game Challenge. Here, dreams are born in garages or parents’ basements and these individuals or small teams put their dream and engineering skills to the test. The 10 finalists all walked away with something even for being invited to DICE, but the big winner took home a whopping $100,000 and it went to a game called Closure submitted by Eyebrow Interactive. Closure felt a bit like Lost in Shadow, but with much stronger emphasis on the dynamic between light and shadow as you moved your character through a striking black and white world. My personal favorite though was The Bridge submitted by Ty Taylor and Mario Castaneda as you traversed a 2.5 D puzzle laden world that looked like a M.C. Escher drawing come to life.

So all in all, the 2012 DICE Summit did exactly what it was meant to do. It celebrated games on every level and brought up some amazing points of conversation for those of us in the industry for the future and hopefully will help bring some exciting new stuff to you folks, the player, in the future.

If you want to check out some of the panels that I mentioned above or see some other ones not mentioned, feel free to head over to http://www.interactive.org as everything was taped on put online after the weekend concluded.

All pictures courtesy of the AIAS.