Who Won at This Year's SXSW Gaming Awards?
Since 2014 the South by Southwest Festival has been awarding excellence in video games. This year the show was co-hosted by WWE® Superstar Xavier Woods® and popular Twitch personality “OMGitsfirefoxx” – aka Sonja Reed.
The event featured 23 different award categories, so let's go ahead and break down the winners and nominees for each category.
Video Game of the Year – Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Developer Naughty Dog and even Nathan Drake himself are walking away with five awards this year, including Video Game of the Year, Excellence in Narrative, Most Memorable Character, Excellence in Animation, and Excellence in Visual Achievement. Considering this is possibly the final entree in the series, it's great to see Nathan Drake walking away with a bang and a well deserved win, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is a must own for anyone with a PlayStation 4.
Nominees for Video Game of the Year
Dishonored 2, DOOM, Overwatch, Titanfall 2, and winner Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Nominees for Excellence in Narrative
Firewatch, The Last Guardian Oxenfree, That Dragon, Cancer, and winner Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Nominees for Most Memorable Character
Henry & Delilah from Firewatch, Trico from The Last Guardian, Tracer from Overwatch, BT-7274 from Titanfall 2, and winner Nathan Drake from Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Nominees for Excellence in Animation
DOOM, INSIDE, The Last Guardian, Overwatch, and winner Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Nominees for Excellence in Visual Achievement
Battlefield 1, DOOM, Final Fantasy XV, Titanfall 2, and winner Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Esports Game of the Year – Overwatch
Naughty Dog aren't the only ones walking away with numerous awards, the fine folks over at Blizzard are also walking away with four awards to add to their already growing collection, including Esports Game of the Year, Trending Game of the Year, Most Promising New Intellectual Property, and Excellence in Multiplayer. I've personally sunk over a hundred hours into Overwatch myself and it's still my go-to multiplayer game to date, so it's no surprise to me it's walking away with numerous awards.
Nominees for Esports Game of the Year
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Gears of War 4, Killer Instinct: Season 3, Street Fighter V, and winner Overwatch
Nominees for Trending Game of the Year
Dead by Daylight, Job Simulator, SUPERHOT, Who's Your Daddy, and winner Overwatch
Nominees for Most Promising New Intellectual Property
Firewatch, Stardew Valley, SUPERHOT, Tom Clancy's The Division, and winner Overwatch
Nominees for Excellence in Multiplayer
Battlefield 1, Gears of War 4, SpeedRunners, Titanfall 2, and winner Overwatch
Mobile Game of the Year – Pokémon GO
Just like in Pokémon itself, it seems Pokémon were pitted against one another this year as Pokémon Sun & Moon were also a nominee for Mobile Game of the Year, but it shouldn't surprise you that Pokémon GO walked away with the honors, considering it took the mobile marketplace by storm last year; with over 500 million downloads as of September 2016.
Nominees for Mobile Game of the Year
Pokémon Sun & Moon, Reigns, Severed, and winner Pokémon GO
Tabletop Game of the Year – Arkham Horror: The Card Game
With possibly the power of Cthulhu himself it seems Arkham Horror: The Card Game set in the Call of Cthulhu universe takes the top prize for Tabletop Game of the Year.
Nominees for Tabletop Game of the Year
Captain Sonar, Inis, Mechs vs Minions, The Others, and winner Arkham Horror: The Card Game
Fan Creation of the Year – Brutal Doom 64
From creator Sergeant_Mark_IV comes Brutal Doom 64, allowing you to experience a bloodier and more brutal Doom 64 than ever before on the PC. With revamped weapons featuring new sounds and animations, restored content, and multiplayer support for up to 64 people, it's no surprise Brutal Doom 64 slaughtered the competition.
Nominees for Fan Creation of the Year
Enderal – The Shards of Order, Fallout 1.5: Resurrection, Fallout: Revelation, Jack – A Stanley Parable Short Film and winner Brutal Doom 64
Gamer's Voice Single/Multiplayer
SXSW this year also celebrated the indie scene by having two categories for single-player and multiplayer indie games.
Gamer's Voice Single Player – Owlboy
Owlboy, from developer D-Pad Studio, with a development span of over nine years and plenty of critical acclaim at release, shocked nobody when it took the top spot for the single-player category.
Nominees for Gamer's Voice Single Player
Ape Out, Asura, Bootleg Systems, CHKN, Circles, Code 7, Cryptark, Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor, Event , Far From Noise, Haimrik, Hollow Knight, Katana Zero, MachiaVillain, Mages of Mystralia, Night in the Woods, No Truce With The Furies, Obduction, Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, She Remembered Caterpillars, Sundered, The Hex, The Metronomicon, The Pedestrian, The Shrouded Isle, Tumbleseed, Where the Water Tastes Like Win, and winner Owlboy
Gamer's Voice Multiplayer – ARENA GODS
Taking the top spot for indie multiplayer games is ARENA GODS, an isometric arena battle game from developer Supertype that let's you throw spears at someone off-screen!
Nominees for Gamer's Voice Multiplayer
Akuto: Mad World, Antihero, Beasts of Balance, Flat Heroes, Friday Night Bullet Arena, Human: Fall Flat, Invisigun Heroes, Overcooked, Schlicht, Red Rope: Don't Fall Behind, Saltlands, Sky Noon, Strikers Edge, Tooth and Tail, Vast: The Crystal Caverns, and winner ARENA GODS
Matthew Crump Cultural Innovation Award – That Dragon, Cancer
For those that don't know or are confused by this category, it's named after and dedicated to Matthew Crump; who was a SXSW Gaming Expo coordinator and game developer who passed away in 2014. The category is awarded for games that challenge the “norm” of gaming and can deliver a culturally innovative view of the game world, characters, or gameplay – and I can't think of a better game that achieves this than That Dragon, Cancer -- after having played it myself, the game and its creators Ryan and Amy Green and there studio Numinous Games are definitely deserving of this award.
Nominees for Matthew Crump Cultural Innovation Award
1979 Revolution: Black Friday, Fragments of Him, Orwell, Quadrilateral Cowboy, and winner That Dragon, Cancer
Excellence in Design – Dishonored 2
With Dishonored 2's open-ended level design giving you a vast amount of options to approach any given situation thrown at you, it's no surprise to me Arkane Studios are taking home this award for their well-crafted sequel that builds upon everything the first game achieved.
Nominees for Excellence in Design
INSIDE, Overwatch, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, The Witness, and winner Dishonored 2
Excellence in Gameplay – DOOM
When DOOM was first announced my gut reaction was negative; simply because I didn't like the idea of a reboot. I'm happy to say though that Id Software completely blew away not only my expectations -- but I'm sure plenty of other people's expectations and crafted a masterpiece in first-person shooter game design and won this category with a well-deserved win in this category, as well for Excellence in Musical Score which shouldn't surprise anyone if you've heard the soundtrack.
Nominees for Excellence in Gameplay
Dark Souls III, Dishonored 2, Firewatch, I Expect You To Die, and winner DOOM
Nominees for Excellence in Musical Score
Final Fantasy XV, Hyper Light Drifter, The Last Guardian, Thumper, and winner DOOM
Most Fulfilling Community-Funded Game – Starbound
Announced originally in 2012 for Kickstarter, Starbound in many ways is a spiritual successor to Terraria in terms of gameplay mechanics, but now allowing players to explore the vast reaches of procedurally generated SPAAAACE! While also taking the win for developer Chucklefish Games.
Nominees for Most Fulfilling Community-Funded Game
Darkest Dungeon, Hyper Light Drifter, Starbound, SUPERHOT, That Dragon, Cancer, and winner Starbound
Excellence in Convergence – Batman: The Telltale Series
For those curious about the category; Excellence in Convergence is awarded to games that excel in crossing over to other entertainment mediums such as movies, music, animation, etc. -- and I can't think of a better choice than someone accomplishing this better than the Dark Knight himself, hell he had two games up for nomination this year! Both Batman: The Telltale Series and Batman: Arkham VR, but in the end, it was Telltale Games taking home the award.
Nominees for Excellence in Convergence
Batman: Arkham VR, FIFA 17, NBA 2K17, Total War: WARHAMMER, and winner Batman: The Telltale Series
Excellence in Art – Firewatch
To take a quote from my own video review:
“I was immediately drawn in by its gorgeous visuals, Firewatch is a beautiful blended art style mixing both cartoony and realism; a mix of simplistic and the complex. Throw in some warm color pallets on top of that with some great looking backdrops and sky boxes and it's a fantastic looking game.”
Easily deserving of the award for developer Campo Santo.
Nominees for Excellence in Art
ABZÛ, INSIDE, Overwatch, The Witness, and Firewatch
Excellence in Technical Achievement – Battlefield 1
With developer EA DICE's Frostbite Engine 3 at work and the use of photogrammetry; making textures up-close look almost photo-realistic -- Battlefield 1 is without a doubt one of the best looking games released last year. It's also extremely well optimized, my jaw almost hit the floor when I was able to run the game at above 60FPS on medium to high settings on my mid-range computer setup, so it's not hard to see why Battlefield 1 achieved Excellence in Technical Achievement and Excellence in SFX, bravo EA Dice.
Nominees for Excellence in Technical Achievement
No Man's Sky, Overwatch, Pokémon GO, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, and winner Battlefield 1
Nominees for Excellence in SFX
Dishonored 2, INSIDE, Titanfall 2, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, and winner Battlefield 1
But what are your picks for each category? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!