The DICE Awards 2021

Last week, the 24th Annual DICE Awards took place and it was business as usual, except things ran a bit different. The event was pre-recorded and the participants attended remotely (from home). The event was hosted by the usual Jessica Chobot and Greg Miller, also from their respective homes — we also had a new addition Kahlief Adams (from Spawn on Me).

While Geoff Keighley’s annual Game Awards are more of a game trailer and reveal event with some awards sprinkled in, the DICE awards feels like a more official “awards show.” The DICE Awards are like the Oscars while the Game Awards are more of the MTV Movie Awards. The Game Awards are full of World Premieres, hype trailers and announcements, while the DICE Awards concentrate on the awards. I’m happy they are both totally different and I enjoy both events.

The DICE Awards show is usually the headliner to the DICE Summit — a full week where people from all over the gaming industry come together for roundtables, panels and discussions (some of which are posted online). After that everyone packs into a large theater and Greg Miller and Jessica Chobot open with some jokes that remind us of the past year in gaming before awards are presented (but that just wasn’t possible this year). They still did their jokes, but there was no live audience this time around.

I really like what they did with the DICE Awards this year, due to the pandemic and big events with lots of people not being a thing just yet. Instead of having a week of DICE Summit followed by a big Awards show party they sort of merged the two together. Kahlief hosted a bunch of panels with the nominees from each award category. These panels were partially shown for most categories with Kahlief revealing the winner at the end of each panel.

The full panels will be released online throughout the year. It was nice to see the different game devs sharing their views on making games with one another. It was also really cool to see them congratulate the winners in real time, when Kahlief would say, “Now’s my favorite part where I get to announce the winner.” It felt more like a behind the scenes event where they also handed out awards.

I’m sure we’ll be back to full theater awards show by next year or the year after that, but I really enjoyed how they adapted the show this year. Instead of creating a hybrid (in-person/virtual) event in a half-empty theater, they put this mixed event together featuring panels and awards. It was also a daytime event instead of the usually evening show, which just felt right for the event.

This style of the DICE Awards could lead to more collaboration and innovation. I’m sure this happens every year during the DICE Summit and other events where game devs from all over come together, but this time we got to see it. After talking to someone in your industry it’s probably easier to reach out to them for advice, help or even just a chat.

Watch the Full DICE Awards below:

The 2021 24th Annual DICE Award Winners and Nominees

Game of the Year

Hades – WINNER
• Animal Crossing: New Horizons
• Final Fantasy VII Remake
• Ghost of Tsushima
• The Last of Us Part II

Outstanding Achievement in Game Design

Hades – WINNER
• Half-Life: Alyx
• Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
• Ghost of Tsushima
• The Last of Us Part II

Action Game of the Year

Hades – WINNER
• Doom Eternal
• Half-Life: Alyx
• Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
• Nioh 2

Adventure Game of the Year

Ghost of Tsushima – WINNER
• Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
• Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition
• Ori and the Will of the Wisps
• The Last of Us Part II

Family Game of the Year

Animal Crossing: New Horizons – WINNER
• Astro’s Playroom
• Dreams
• Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
• Sackboy: A Big Adventure

Fighting Game of the Year

Mortal Kombat 11 – WINNER
• EA Sports UFC 4
• Granblue Fantasy Versus
• Them Fightin’ Herds

Racing Game of the Year

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit – WINNER
• Dirt 5
• F1 2020

Role-Playing Game of the Year

Final Fantasy VII Remake – WINNER
• Cyberpunk 2077
• Persona 5 Royal
• Wasteland 3
• Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Sports Game of the Year

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 – WINNER
• EA Sports FIFA 21
• MLB The Show 20
• NBA 2K21
• PGA Tour 2K21

Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year

Microsoft Flight Simulator – WINNER
• Crusader Kings III
• Desperados III
• Monster Train
• Per Aspera

Immersive Reality Game of the Year

Half-Life: Alyx – WINNER
• Down the Rabbit Hole
• Paper Beast
• The Room VR: Dark Matter
• The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners

Mobile Game of the Year

Legends of Runeterra – WINNER
• HoloVista
• Little Orpheus
• Song of Bloom
• South of the Circle

Online Game of the Year

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout – WINNER
• Animal Crossing: New Horizons
• Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War
• Ghost of Tsushima
• Tetris Effect: Connected

Outstanding Achievement in Animation

The Last of Us Part II – WINNER
• Final Fantasy VII Remake
• Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
• Ori and the Will of the Wisps
• Spiritfarer

Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction

Ghost of Tsushima – WINNER
• Hades
• The Last of Us Part II
• Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
• Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Outstanding Achievement in Character

Miles, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales – WINNER
• Eivor, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
• Zagreus, Hades
• Abby, The Last of Us Part II
• Ellie, The Last of Us Part II

Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition

Ghost of Tsushima – WINNER
• Carrion
• Little Orpheus
• Ori and the Will of the Wisps
• The Pathless

Outstanding Achievement in Audio Design

Ghost of Tsushima – WINNER
• Dreams
• The Last of Us Part II
• Ori and the Will of the Wisps
• Sackboy: A Big Adventure

Outstanding Achievement in Story

The Last of Us Part II – WINNER
• 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
• Ghost of Tsushima
• Hades
• Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition

Outstanding Technical Achievement

Dreams – WINNER
• Ghost of Tsushima
• The Last of Us Part II
• Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit
• Microsoft Flight Simulator

Immersive Reality Technical Achievement

Half-Life: Alyx – WINNER
• Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit
• Museum of Other Realities
• Paper Beast
• Tempest

Outstanding Achievement for an Independent Game

Hades – WINNER
• Coffee Talk
• If Found…
• Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition
• Noita

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