SXSW Announces Gaming Award Nominees and Hosts

WWE star Xavier Woods to co-host ceremony in March

You can almost feel the tectonic shift as March approaches marking the annual disappearance of UT students and appearance of copious hipsters, tastemakers, disruptors, and synergists for SXSW. Don’t forget the geeks though. SXSW hasn’t, and they proved it this morning when they announced the SXSW Gaming Awards nominees and hosts.

Xavier Woods has not confirmed if he will play trombone at the awards. (courtesy of WWE)

Sharing the stage as co-hosts will be WWE star Xavier Woods and popular gaming personality OMGitsfirefoxx (aka Sonja Reid). Reid’s credentials are clear: roughly 800,000 followers on Twitch and Guinness World Record for most popular female broadcaster under her belt. It isn’t just rippling abs under a tag team championship belt that makes Woods a good choice for the awards. He also curates UpUpDownDown, a gaming YouTube channel with 1 million subscribers. If you like your nerdiness with a healthy dash of sexy, these two are just what the doctor ordered.

In addition to that news, SXSW also announced the nominees in the awards’ 23 categories (read the full list below). No big surprises in the nom list as 2017 critical darlings Dishonored 2, Doom, Overwatch, and Inside lead the pack. Voting for the awards begins … now! Cast your vote over at IGN’s site. Voting ends Feb. 10.

The gaming contingent of SXSW has had an awkward relationship to the entertainment-industry behemoth at large. They’ve changed things up this year by charging to attend the conference and festival: $20 for one day and $39 for a three-day pass. (Note: Those prices are going up this Friday, Jan. 27, so buy now if you’re attending.) If you want to attend the award ceremony at the Downtown Hilton you’ll need either a three-day pass or a one-day pass for Saturday. SXSW badgeholders will also be able to attend any and all gaming events. Those badges are pretty much golden tickets in this town for a few weeks. Those will run you between $1,225 and $1,550. Can’t get to the awards? Don’t fret, the ceremony will be livestreamed on Twitch.

Nintendo will be in the house with their brand spankin’ new system. If you didn’t manage to get a Switch on its release date a few weeks prior to SXSW, this might be a good chance to get your hands on those tiny controllers and tide yourself over until they’re in stock again.

Dishonored 2, from local developers Arkane, has four nominations.

Video Game of the Year
Awarded to the game that exemplifies overall excellence and creates a distinct gaming experience across all platforms and genres.
Dishonored 2 – Bethesda Softworks / Arkane Studios
DOOM – Bethesda Softworks / id Software
Overwatch – Blizzard Entertainment
Titanfall 2 – Electronic Arts / Respawn Entertainment
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End – Sony Computer Entertainment / Naughty Dog

Mobile Game of the Year
Awarded to the game that exemplifies overall excellence and creates a unique gaming experience on any handheld device.
Clash Royale – Supercell
Pokémon GO – Niantic
Pokémon Sun and Moon – The Pokémon Company / Game Freak
Reigns – Devolver Digital / Nerial
Severed – DrinkBox Studios

Tabletop Game of the Year
Awarded to the game that exemplifies overall excellence and ingenuity of any tabletop game in any genre.
Arkham Horror: The Card Game – Fantasy Flight Games
Captain Sonar – Asmodee North America
Inis – Asmodee North America
Mechs vs Minions – Riot Games
The Others – CMON Inc.

Esports Game of the Year
Awarded to the online game with the best competitive scene, growth, and entertainment value.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – Activision / Infinity Ward
Gears of War 4 – Microsoft Studios / The Coalition
Killer Instinct: Season 3 – Microsoft Studios / Iron Galaxy Studios
Overwatch – Blizzard Entertainment
Street Fighter V – Capcom

Trending Game of the Year
Awarded to the game that consistently entertained and kept us watching on social platforms with its humor, stories, and more.
Dead by Daylight – Starbreeze Studios / Behaviour Digital Inc.
Job Simulator – Owlchemy Labs
Overwatch – Blizzard Entertainment
SUPERHOT – SUPERHOT Team
Who's Your Daddy – Evil Tortilla Games

Fan Creation of the Year
Awarded to the most compelling fan-made piece of work across all games and platforms. This includes, but isn’t limited to, artwork, writing, videography, special effects, and more.
Brutal Doom 64 – Sergeant_Mark_IV
Enderal – The Shards of Order – SureAI Team
Fallout 1.5: Resurrection – Resurrection Team
Fallout: Revelation – MechanicalCakeTV
Jack - A Stanley Parable Short Film – Vesio Productions

Matthew Crump Cultural Innovation
Awarded to the game that best challenges the “norm” of everyday gaming and offers a culturally innovative view of a game world, character, or gameplay.
1979 Revolution: Black Friday – INK Stories
Fragments of Him – Sassybot
Orwell – Surprise Attack / Osmotic Studios
Quadrilateral Cowboy – Blendo Games
That Dragon, Cancer – Numinous Games

Excellence in Narrative
Awarded to the game with the best storyline and dialogue.
Firewatch – Panic Inc. / Campo Santo
The Last Guardian – Sony Interactive Entertainment / SIE Japan Studio
Oxenfree – Night School Studio
That Dragon, Cancer – Numinous Games
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End – Sony Computer Entertainment / Naughty Dog

Excellence in Design
Awarded to the game with the best overall design concept and best execution.
Dishonored 2 – Bethesda Softworks / Arkane Studios
INSIDE – Playdead
Overwatch – Blizzard Entertainment
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End – Sony Computer Entertainment / Naughty Dog
The Witness – Thekla, Inc.

Excellence in Gameplay
Awarded to the game with the best gameplay mechanics.
Dark Souls III – BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment / FromSoftware, Inc.
Dishonored 2 – Bethesda Softworks / Arkane Studios
DOOM – Bethesda Softworks / id Software
Firewatch – Panic Inc. / Campo Santo
I Expect You to Die – Schell Games

Most Fulfilling Community-Funded Game
Awarded to the game that was primarily produced via crowdfunding platforms and had excelled beyond the expectations set before it.
Darkest Dungeon – Red Hook Studios
Hyper Light Drifter – Heart Machine
Starbound – Chucklefish Games
SUPERHOT – SUPERHOT Team
That Dragon, Cancer – Numinous Games

Most Promising New Intellectual Property
Awarded to a new property that risked creating something fresh and that excelled within its genre or category for the year.
Firewatch – Panic Inc. / Campo Santo
Overwatch – Blizzard Entertainment
Stardew Valley – Chucklefish Games / ConcernedApe
SUPERHOT – SUPERHOT Team
Tom Clancy's The Division – Ubisoft / Ubisoft Massive

Most Memorable Character
Awarded to the best game character that left an overwhelming impression.
Firewatch – Henry & Delilah
The Last Guardian – Trico
Overwatch – Tracer
Titanfall 2 – BT-7274
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End – Nathan Drake

Excellence in Multiplayer
Awarded to the game with the best player-to-player interaction experience.
Battlefield 1 – Electronic Arts / EA DICE
Gears of War 4 – Microsoft Studios / The Coalition
Overwatch – Blizzard Entertainment
SpeedRunners – tinyBuild / DoubleDutch Games
Titanfall 2 – Electronic Arts / Respawn Entertainment

Excellence in Convergence
Awarded to the game that excels in crossover to other entertainment mediums such as film, music, toys, animation, sports and more.
Batman: Arkham VR – Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment / Rocksteady Studios
Batman: The Telltale Series – Telltale Games
FIFA 17 – EA Sports / EA Canada
NBA 2K17 – 2K Sports / Visual Concepts
Total War: WARHAMMER – SEGA / Creative Assembly

Excellence in Art
Awarded to the game with the most expressive and creative artistic style.
ABZÛ – 505 Games / Giant Squid
Firewatch – Panic Inc. / Campo Santo
INSIDE – Playdead
Overwatch – Blizzard Entertainment
The Witness – Thekla Inc.

Excellence in Animation
Awarded to the game with the most outstanding animation effects and graphics.
DOOM – Bethesda Softworks / id Software
INSIDE – Playdead
The Last Guardian – Sony Interactive Entertainment / SIE Japan Studio
Overwatch – Blizzard Entertainment
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End – Sony Computer Entertainment / Naughty Dog

Excellence in Visual Achievement
Awarded to the game with the most well-designed and stunning visuals.
Battlefield 1 – Electronic Arts / EA DICE
DOOM – Bethesda Softworks / id Software
Final Fantasy XV – Square Enix
Titanfall 2 – Electronic Arts / Respawn Entertainment
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End – Sony Computer Entertainment / Naughty Dog

Excellence in Technical Achievement
Awarded to the game that pushed the capabilities of technology and programming.
Battlefield 1 – Electronic Arts / EA DICE
No Man's Sky – Sony Interactive Entertainment / Hello Games
Overwatch – Blizzard Entertainment
Pokémon GO – Niantic
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End – Sony Computer Entertainment / Naughty Dog

Excellence in Musical Score
Awarded to the game that best exemplifies artistic excellence in musical score and how it progresses the narrative of the game.
DOOM – Bethesda Softworks / id Software
Final Fantasy XV – Square Enix
Hyper Light Drifter – Heart Machine
The Last Guardian – Sony Interactive Entertainment / SIE Japan Studio
Thumper – Drool

Excellence in SFX
Awarded to the game with the most outstanding and impactful sound effects.
Battlefield 1 – Electronic Arts / EA DICE
Dishonored 2 – Bethesda Softworks / Arkane Studios
INSIDE – Playdead
Titanfall 2 – Electronic Arts / Respawn Entertainment
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End – Sony Computer Entertainment / Naughty Dog

Gamer’s Voice Single Player
Awarded to the top fan-favorite indie games found in the Indie Corner, as chosen by Gaming Expo attendees.

Ape Out – Gabe Cuzzillo
Asura – Ogre Head Studio
Bootleg Systems – NEONABLE
CHKN – Katapult
Circles – Illusive Games
Code 7 – Episode 0: Allocation – Goodwolf Studio
Cryptark – Alientrap
Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor – Sundae Month
Event [0] – Ocelot Society
Far From Noise – George Batchelor
Haimrik – Below the Game
Hollow Knight – Team Cherry
Katana Zero – Askiisoft
MachiaVillain – Wild Factor
Mages of Mystralia – Borealys Games
Night in the Woods – Infinite Fall
No Truce With The Furies – ZAUM STUDIO OÜ
Obduction – Cyan
Owlboy – D-Pad Studio
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun – Mimimi Productions
She Remembered Caterpillars – jumpsuit entertainment
Sundered – Thunder Lotus Games
The Hex – Daniel Mullins Games
The Metronomicon – Puuba
The Pedestrian – Skookum Arts
The Shrouded Isle – Kitfox Games
Tumbleseed – AEIOWU
Where the Water Tastes Like Wine – Dim Bulb Games

Gamer’s Voice Multiplayer
Akuto: Mad World – Hut 90
Antihero – Tim Conkling
ARENA GODS – Supertype
Beasts of Balance – Sensible Object
Flat Heroes – Parallel Circles
Friday Night Bullet Arena – Red Nexus Games
Human: Fall Flat – No Brakes Games
Invisigun Heroes – Sombr Studio
Overcooked – Ghost Town Games
Schlicht – Team Schlicht
Red Rope: Don't Fall Behind – Yonder
Saltlands – Antler Games
Sky Noon – Lunar Rooster
Strikers Edge – Fun Punch Games
Tooth and Tail – Pocketwatch Games
Vast: The Crystal Caverns – Leder Games

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

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

SXSW Gaming Awards, SXSW 2017, SXSW Gaming, Xavier Woods, OMGitsfirefoxx

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