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A (Near) Winner is You: 11th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards Nominees

Posted by: Peter Skeritt at 1/14/2011 3:02 PM
With 2010 in the books, awards season is in full swing. Check out the nominees for the upcoming Game Developers Choice Awards, which will be announced on March 2nd, and check out predictions for each category as to which games will take home the hardware... and which ones should win some trophies. 


There's no denying that 2010 was a special year for video game software, and the list of nominees for the 11th annual Game Developers Choice Awards certainly reflects that. Limbo, the Xbox LIVE Arcade hit from last summer, is up for event-leading seven different awards, including Game of the Year. Red Dead Redemption is also in the running for Game of the Year, as well as five other categories. Another Game of the Year nominee is Bioware's Mass Effect 2, which is up for five awards. Rounding out the Game of the Year nominee list are Call of Duty: Black Ops and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

Here is the complete list of awards and nominees, along with picks as to which games will win each category and, if applicable, which games should win:

Best Game Design
 
Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Nintendo)
Mass Effect 2 (BioWare)
Limbo (Playdead)
Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar San Diego)
God of War III (SCE Santa Monica)

Will Win: Limbo. Less is more for the Limbo experience, and the combination of puzzle-solving and classic platforming will win the voters over here. 

Should Win: Super Mario Galaxy 2. Although Galaxy 2 isn't a new experience, the level design and some of the new gameplay additions only serve to add to what was already one of the best games that this console generation has to offer.
 
Innovation
 
Heavy Rain (Quantic Dream)
Kirby's Epic Yarn (Good-Feel & HAL Laboratory)
Minecraft (Mojang)
Limbo (Playdead)
Dance Central (Harmonix)

Should Win and Will Win: Minecraft. It's a good bet that Minecraft will nose out the competition, based on the ability to build almost anything and bring it to life. While the other nominees do have some kind of innovation, I think that Minecraft just has more. Call it a hunch.
 
Best Technology
 
Starcraft II (Blizzard)
Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar San Diego)
Heavy Rain (Quantic Dream)
Mass Effect 2 (BioWare)
God of War III (SCE Santa Monica)

Should Win and Will Win: Starcraft II. Surprisingly, it's the only PC title on this list, but the jump in technology from the original game to last year's sequel is pretty amazing. 
 
Best Handheld Game
 
God of War: Ghost of Sparta (Ready At Dawn/SCE Santa Monica)
Cut the Rope (ZeptoLab)
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (Kojima Productions)
Game Dev Story (Kairosoft)
Dragon Quest IX (Level 5)

Should Win and Will Win: Game Dev Story. The panelists will likely eat this game up, much like many of us who own iPhones and Android Phones have. Hours fly by like minutes as you build your staff and hope to develop the next great game. Now you can feel what developers and publishers feel when reviewers trash your game and nobody buys it. 
 
Best Audio
 
Limbo (Playdead)
Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar San Diego)
Halo: Reach (Bungie)
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (DICE)
Mass Effect 2 (BioWare)

Will Win: Mass Effect 2. As with all Bioware titles, audio is key to the experience with thousands of lines of well-delivered dialog and a fantastic soundtrack. 

Should Win: Red Dead Redemption. Although Mass Effect 2 is deserving, Red Dead Redemption successfully brought players back to the Old West with sound, voice, and music that certainly sound authentic. 
 
Best Downloadable Game
 
Costume Quest (Double Fine)
Limbo (Playdead)
Super Meat Boy (Team Meat)
Minecraft (Mojang)
Monday Night Combat (Uber Entertainment)

Will Win: Limbo. Although the competition here is very good, the publicity and favorable press and player reactions to Limbo will seal it. 

Should Win: Super Meat Boy. Games these days rarely have that combination of challenge and addictiveness that Super Meat Boy has. There are tons of levels, some inside jokes, and the game is very easy to pick up and play. 
 
Best Writing
 
Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar San Diego)
Heavy Rain (Quantic Dream)
Mass Effect 2 (BioWare)
Costume Quest (Double Fine)
Fallout: New Vegas (Obsidian)

Should Win and Will Win: Red Dead Redemption. This is a tough category to guess, but it's hard to argue against Red Dead Redemption here. The writing and story makes John Marston and the other characters feel real and believable, almost as if the events might have actually taken place. 
 
Best Debut Game
 
Limbo (Playdead)
Darksiders (Vigil Games)
Minecraft (Mojang)
Monday Night Combat (Uber Entertainment)
Super Meat Boy (Team Meat)

Should Win and Will Win: Limbo. Yet another award for Playdead here. The game was well-received by almost everyone (except me) and really put the development on the map. You can't ask for a better debut than that, can you?

Best Visual Arts
 
God of War III (SCE Santa Monica)
Limbo (Playdead)
Call of Duty: Black Ops (Treyarch)
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft Montreal)
Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar San Diego)

Will Win: Limbo. With the term "art" in the title of the award, it's not hard to see why the panelists will choose Limbo here. It's got a unique art style, to be sure. 

Should Win: God of War III. Although there's a lot of gore and blood to be seen in the final chapter of the God of War trilogy, it's not hard to see that God of War III is a beautiful game. Hand-drawn flashback scenes and some truly outstanding character designs and animations show off the power of the PlayStation 3 platform like no other game before it. 
 
Game of the Year
 
Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar San Diego)
Mass Effect 2 (BioWare)
Call of Duty: Black Ops (Treyarch)
Limbo (Playdead)
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft Montreal)

Will Win: Limbo. It won't quite be a sweep, but I think that the panelists are eager to bestow this honor upon on original game that isn't a mass-market sequel or awash in bullets and blood. It will be a symbol that video games are about more than gunfire.

Should Win: Red Dead Redemption. Taking Limbo out of the equation, Mass Effect 2 and Red Dead Redemption were not only two of the biggest games of the last year... but they were two of the best. Red Dead Redemption gets the edge largely because it's down to earth (if you'll forgive the pun) and takes a little-used setting like the Old West and makes it relevant again with a great story and plenty of content to keep players busy until the very end. Sorry, Shepard fans. 

I've called my shot and predicted that Limbo will win the Game of the Year category. What about you? Who do you think will win, and most importantly, who do you think should win? 

We'll find out on March 2nd.