The D.I.C.E. Awards nominations are out, with female characters and Horizon: Zero Dawn getting a lot of love

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The early months of the year aren’t just awards season for the film industry, video games get to have their time in the limelight as well. On February 22nd, the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences will host the 21st annual D.I.C.E. Awards, essentially the video games Oscars, and today they’ve unveiled the nominees. While it’s literally just a list of what games the Academy thinks were good at certain things, like art direction and being a sports game, there’s still some interesting things to be garnered from it.

Most importantly, when it comes to the coveted Game of the Year award, all three of my top three picks made the nominations, while only two of Charlie’s and one of Aaron’s did. Suck eggs, you guys.

But more to the point, the Academy really liked Horizon: Zero Dawn, with it leading the nominations with nods in ten categories, them being Game of the Year, Adventure Game of the Year, plus Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction, Game Design, Art Direction, Story, Character, Animation, Original Music and technology. And that’s understandable, Horizon was a very  pretty, fun, narrative rich game.

Case and point.

Something else that caught my eye was that in the Outstanding Achievement in Character category, four of the five nominations were for female characters, which is great. In an industry where female characters are often considered unmarketable or presented as poorly veiled excuses for gratuitous nudity, to see not only so many great female characters represented in games in 2017 but also have them acknowledged in such a prestigious way is pretty great. Although one of the nominated characters is Iden Versio, the protagonist from Star Wars Battlefront 2, a game one could hardly say was strong in the writing department. But hey, they can’t all be winners.

And lastly, seeing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds make the cut for a GOTY nomination brings me much joy. Not just because it was my personal pick for the best game of 2017, but more if it won the Twitter outrage that a game that spent eight of the nine months it was on the market in Early Access win the day would be glorious to witness. Oh that sweet schadenfreude.

Anyway, here are the full nominees from the Academy website. The winners will be presented February 22nd in Las Vegas.

Outstanding Achievement in Animation
Cuphead
For Honor
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Horizon Zero Dawn
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy 

Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction
Cuphead
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Horizon Zero Dawn
Little Nightmares
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 

Outstanding Achievement in Character
Assassin’s Creed Origins – Bayek
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice – Senua
Horizon Zero Dawn – Aloy
Star Wars Battlefront II – Iden Versio
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy – Chloe Fraiser

Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition
Call of Duty: WWII
Cuphead
Horizon Zero Dawn
RiME
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus 

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design
Destiny 2
Injustice 2
Star Wars Battlefront II
Super Mario Odyssey
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy 

Outstanding Achievement in Story
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Horizon Zero Dawn
Night in the Woods
What Remains of Edith Finch
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus 

Outstanding Technical Achievement
Assassin’s Creed Origins
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Horizon Zero Dawn
Lone Echo/Echo Arena
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 

Action Game of the Year
Call of Duty: WWII
Cuphead
Destiny 2
PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus 

Adventure Game of the Year
Assassin’s Creed Origins
Horizon Zero Dawn
Super Mario Odyssey
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy 

Family Game of the Year
DropMix
GNOG
Just Dance 2018
SingStar Celebration
Snipperclips 

Fighting Game of the Year
ARMS
Injustice 2
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite
Nidhogg 2
Tekken 7 

Racing Game of the Year
DiRT 4
Forza Motorsport 7
Gran Turismo Sport
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Project CARS 2 

Role-Playing Game of the Year
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Middle-earth: Shadow of War
NieR:Automata
Persona 5
Torment: Tides of Numenera 

Sports Game of the Year
Everybody’s Golf
FIFA 18
Golf Clash
Madden NFL 18
MLB The Show 17 

Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year
Endless Space 2
Halo Wars 2
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Total War: Warhammer II
XCOM 2: War of the Chosen 

Immersive Reality Technical Achievement
Lone Echo/Echo Arena
Robo Recall
Star Trek Bridge Crew
The Invisible Hours
Wilson’s Heart 

Immersive Reality Game of the Year
Lone Echo/Echo Arena
Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin
Robo Recall
Space Pirate Trainer
Wilson’s Heart 

D.I.C.E. Sprite Award
Everything
Gorogoa
Night in the Woods
Pyre
Snipperclips 

Handheld Game of the Year
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
Metroid: Samus Returns
Monster Hunter Stories 

Mobile Game of the Year
Cat Quest
Fire Emblem Heroes
Gorogoa
Monument Valley 2
Splitter Critters 

Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay
Call of Duty: WWII
Destiny 2
Fortnite
PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands 

Outstanding Achievement in Game Design
Gorogoa
Horizon Zero Dawn
PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS
Super Mario Odyssey
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 

Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction
Gorogoa
Horizon Zero Dawn
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
What Remains of Edith Finch

Game of the Year
Cuphead
Horizon Zero Dawn
PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS
Super Mario Odyssey
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 

Cast your nominations for Tom on Twitter: @tomdheath. Don’t forget to follow LoadScreen on Twitter, @load_screen, and like us on Facebook.

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