No Man's Sky

The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences announced the nominees for their 20th annual D.I.C.E., awards. No, this has nothing to do with Swedish game studio DICE, but their critically acclaimed and commercially successful World War I shooter, Battlefield 1 did manage to get nominated.

Gamespot caught wind of the complete list of D.I.C.E., 2017 award nominees. The awards will be handed out on February 23rd, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada and will also be available via live-stream. You can check out the full nominees and their categorical listings below.

Game of the Year

Battlefield 1

Inside

Overwatch

Pokemon Go

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction

1979 Revolution: Black Friday

Battlefield 1

Inside

The Last Guardian

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Outstanding Achievement in Game Design

I Expect You to Die

Inside

Overwatch

Owlboy

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay

Battlefield 1

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Overwatch

Titanfall 2

The Division

Handheld Game of the Year

Dragon Quest Builders

Fire Emblem Fates

Kirby: Planet Robobot

Pokemon Sun and Moon

Severed

Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year

The Banner Saga 2

Deus Ex Go

Fire Emblem Fates

Civilization VI

XCOM 2

Sports Game of the Year

FIFA 17

Madden NFL 17

MLB The Show 16

NBA 2K17

Steep

RPG/Massively Multiplayer Game of the Year

Dark Souls III

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Hyper Light Drifter

The Division

World of Warcraft: Legion

Racing Game of the Year

Forza Horizon 3

Driveclub VR

Fighting Game of the Year

EA Sports UFC 2

Guilty Gear Xrd - Revelator

Killer Instinct Season 3

Pokken Tournament

Street Fighter V

Family Game of the Year

Dragon Quest Builders

Lego Star Wars The Force Awakens

Ratchet & Clank

Rock Band Rivals

Super Mario Maker 3DS

Outstanding Technical Achievement

Battlefield 1

No Man's Sky

Overwatch

Titanfall 2

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Outstanding Achievement in Story

Firewatch

Inside

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Oxenfree

That Dragon, Cancer

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design

Battlefield 1

Inside

The Last Guardian

Quantum Break

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition

Doom

Abzu

Battlefield 1

The Last Guardian

Titanfall 2

Outstanding Achievement in Character

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare - Reyes

Firewatch - Delilah

Firewatch - Henry

The Last Guardian - Trico

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End - Nathan Drake

Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction

Battlefield 1

Firewatch

Inside

The Last Guardian

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Outstanding Achievement in Animation

Inside

The Last Guardian

Overwatch

Street Fighter V

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

D.I.C.E. Sprite Award

1979 Revolution: Black Friday

Firewatch

Inside

Superhot

That Dragon, Cancer

Adventure Game of the Year

Firewatch

Inside

King's Quest: The Complete Collection

The Last Guardian

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Action Game of the Year

Battlefield 1

Doom

Gears of War 4

Overwatch

Titanfall 2

Mobile Game of the Year

Clash Royale

Crashlands

Gardenscapes - New Acres

Pokemon Go

Reigns

Some of the nominees caused an absolute fracas amongst gamers. For one, everyone ragged on Pokemon Go for being nominated for a GOTY. While Niantic Labs has done impeccable work as far as network engineering an impressive, global infrastructure for connecting and topographically mapping real world locations into a virtual space, Pokemon Go is more of an impressive feat as far networking engineering is concerned but it's no where near being an actual game comparable to other titles released this year. It essentially boils down to collecting data entities (Pokemon) across data nodes (real world locations); that's the extent of the gameplay depth.

I can certainly understand why some people would be offended that it's even in the same category with a technically profound game like Battlefield 1.

Others were also a little ratcheted that Overwatch was in the technical achievements category. While the game plays well and launched without any major faults due to its simple design, it's actually its simple design that makes you wonder how it was nominated for a technical achievement? It actually has less gameplay depth than Team Fortress 2 (which features crafting, modding, looting, etc.,) and the latter is a decade old.

Also, it seems blasphemous to have No Man's Sky nominated for a technical achievement when it launched broken and missing half of its features. How on Earth did that game get nominated over the far more technically proficient Astroneer? I mean, Astroneer is literally No Man's Sky but it actually works, and it has working multiplayer, and it didn't launch broken.

Another thing is how did Abzu not get nominated for a technical achievement? They literally designed an all new procedural AI module within the Unreal Engine 4 to get thousands of fish to swim and swirl on-screen without using coded skeletal animation data. That alone is a monumental achievement for AI grouping, skeletal-free animations, and behavioral physics. Very astounding work from Giant Squid Studios. How they managed to get passed over for what they achieved in Abzu for No Man's Sky is absolutely beyond me.

Anyway, you can watch the live-stream on February 23rd to see which titles walk away with what awards.

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