SXSW Gaming Awards Finalists Announced

Mix of blockbusters and indie faves top the list of noms

Now in its third year, the SXSW Gaming Awards returns with its trademark mix of big-budget titles and independent projects. The event, scheduled to take place Saturday, March 19, brings the gaming masses to its new home in the Hilton Austin Downtown right across the street from the SXSW Gaming showfloor at the Convention Center.

That’s not the only change. For the first time SXSW Gaming (March 17-19) has been bumped back to from the first, Interactive-focused weekend of SXSW at the Palmer Events Center to the second, music-dominated weekend. What stays the same is that, like the Gaming Expo, the awards are free and open to the public.

The ceremony is set to be hosted by popular Irish YouTube personality Séan "Jacksepticeye" William McLoughlin and professional esports host and interviewer Rachel "Seltzer" Quirico. You might not have heard of them before, but judging from their combined millions of views and subscriptions in the realm of online streaming video, someone younger and more plugged-in to Internet and video-game culture than you sure has.

The awards are divided into over 20 categories, ranging from favorites like Game of the Year, Excellence in Gameplay, and Most Enduring Character to the more niche Tabletop Game of the Year. The Matthew Crump Cultural Innovation Award will also return. Named in honor of the video-game developer and SXSW Gaming coordinator who passed away in 2014, the award celebrates developers who offered a fresh perspective on the medium.

The five nominees for each category were chosen by a combination of SXSW Gaming staff and the SXSW Gaming advisory board, a group of over 40 veteran experts of the video game industry. The winners will be decided by a equally weighted combination of votes from the staff and advisory board that picked the nominees and votes from the public. Voting opens in February. The exception to this process is the Gamer's Voice awards, which are given to independent games voted on by attendees of the SXSW Gaming Expo. For the first time, the Gamer's Voice is being split into two categories, one awarding single-player games and the other multiplayer.

The nominees in 2016 are a reflection of the diversity of the current games landscape, with big-budget heavy-hitters like Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt sharing the stage with indie and experimental efforts like Undertale, Her Story, and Life Is Strange.

Here’s the full list of nominees:

Game of the Year:
Bloodborne
Fallout 4
Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Undertale

Tabletop Game of the Year:
Pandemic Legacy
Blood Rage
Above and Below
Lanterns: The Harvest Festival
Codenames

Mobile Game of the Year:
Downwell
Fallout Shelter
Her Story
Lara Croft GO
SteamWorld Heist

Excellence in Gameplay:
Bloodborne
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Undertale
Rocket League
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Excellence in Art:
Bloodborne
Ori & the Blind Forest
Assassin's Creed Syndicate
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Yoshi's Woolly World

Excellence in Animation:
Batman: Arkham Knight
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Ori & the Blind Forest
The Order: 1886
Assassin's Creed Syndicate

Excellence in Technical Achievement:
Fallout 4
Just Cause 3
Until Dawn
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Excellence in Visual Achievement:
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
Star Wars Battlefront
The Order: 1886
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Rise of the Tomb Raider

Excellence in Narrative:
Life Is Strange
Her Story
SOMA
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Tales From the Borderlands

Excellence in Design:
Fallout 4
Rocket League
Super Mario Maker
Bloodborne
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Excellence in SFX:
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Bloodborne
The Order: 1886
Star Wars Battlefront
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege

Excellence in Musical Score:
Ori & the Blind Forest
Crypt of the NecroDancer
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

Excellence in Multiplayer:
Call of Duty: Black Ops III
Halo 5: Guardians
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
Rocket League
Splatoon

Excellence in Convergence:
Awarded to the game that excels in crossover to other entertainment mediums such as film, music, toys, animation, sports and more.
Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition
Rock Band 4
Guitar Hero Live
Batman: Arkham Knight
Star Wars Battlefront

Most Enduring Character:
Lara Croft – Rise of the Tomb Raider
Geralt – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Joker – Batman: Arkham Knight
Hannah Smith – Her Story
Ori – Ori & the Blind Forest

Most Valuable Esports Team:
Cloud9
Evil Geniuses
Team Archon
Team EnVyUs
Counter Logic

Most Entertaining Online Personality:
Greg Miller – Kinda Funny
Markiplier
PewDiePie
Angry Joe – The Angry Joe Show
Tim Schafer – Double Fine

Most Fulfilling Crowdfunded Game:
Broken Age
Kingdom Death: Monster
Pillars of Eternity
Kerbal Space Program
Undertale

Most Promising New Intellectual Property:
Ori & the Blind Forest
Bloodborne
Life Is Strange
Splatoon
Undertale

Matthew Crump Cultural Innovation Award:
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
Her Story
Emily Is Away
Life Is Strange
Undertale

Gamer’s Voice Award (multiplayer):
ARENA GODS – Supertype
Breaker Blocks – Spriteborne
Death Stair – RnD Labs
Gang Beasts – Bone Loaf
GoatPunks – Studio Canvas
Gruff – Studio Woe
Home Improvisation – The Stork Burnt Down
INVERSUS – Hypersect
Karmaka – Hemisphere Games
Move or Die – Those Awesome Guys
Random Encounters – Regular People Gaming
Rivals of Aether – Dan Fornace LLC
Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure – Game Swing
SUNDOWN – Mild Beast Games LLC
Super Sky Arena – Hammer Labs


Gamer’s Voice Award (single player):
_ PRISM – Clint Siu
Affordable Space Adventures – Knapnok Games
Armello – League of Geeks
Aztez – Team Colorblind
Bazaar – Temple Gates Games
Burly Men at Sea – Brain&Brain
Deliver Us the Moon – KeokeN Interactive
Eden Star: Destroy, Build, Protect – Flix Interactive
Fragments of Him – Sassybot
ICBM – REPVBLIC
KINGDOM – noio
Layers of Fear – Bloober Team
Odallus – JoyMasher
Okhlos – Coffee Powered Machine
P.O.L.L.E.N. – Mindfield Games
Pinstripe – Atmos Games
Radical Rebels – Pixel Pushers Union 512
Ray's the Dead – Ragtag Studio
Read Only Memories – MidBoss LLC
Snakebird – Noumenon Games
Soft Body – Bodysoft LLC
STRAFE® – Pixel Titans
SUPERHOT – SUPERHOT Sp. z o.o.
The Magic Circle – Question
The Town of Light – LKA.it

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

SXSW 2016, SXSW Interactive, SXSW Gaming, SXSW Gaming Awards

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