The 25th annual Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain (DICE) Awards honoring the best titles and outstanding achievements of the past year in the video game industry was held on February 24.
Organized by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) since 1996, the DICE Awards aim to recognize games, individuals and development teams that have contributed to the advancement of the global entertainment software industry.
Prizes were awarded to winners in 23 different categories, with co-op platform title It Takes Two winning Game of the Year, which is for “unique play, regardless of system or delivery mechanism, voted by AIAS members who best uses the medium chosen to entertain users”.
Developed by Hazelight Studios and published by Electronic Arts, It Takes Two, which also won Outstanding Achievement in Game Design, is described as “a genre-platforming adventure created purely for co-op”. It sees players assume the roles of opposite pair Cody and May, two humans turned into dolls by a magic spell.
“Trapped in a fantasy world, they are reluctantly challenged to save their fractured relationship by the suave love guru Dr. Hakim. A wide variety of happily disruptive gameplay challenges stand between them and their return to normal.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, a PlayStation 5 exclusive, was the biggest hit at this year’s ceremony, taking home four awards for Outstanding Achievement in Animation, Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction, Outstanding Technical Achievement and Family Game from the year.
Developed by Insomniac Games, Rift Apart is an action-adventure platformer that sees intergalactic adventurers Ratchet and Clank travel the dimensions as they face off against an evil emperor from another reality. The game also introduces Rivet, an all-new playable character from the series.
Returnal, a PlayStation 5 exclusive, won two awards for Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition and Outstanding Achievement in Audio Design.
Returnal is a rogue-like third-person shooter developed by Housemarque, and sees players take on the role of Selene, an explorer who crash-lands on a shape-shifting alien planet where she must fight to survive. However, each time she is defeated, she is forced to start her journey all over again.
Two awards also went to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which won Adventure Game of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Story. In this third-person action-adventure title developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix, the player is Star-Lord, leading the unpredictable Guardians of the Galaxy “from one explosion of chaos to the next”.
Two awards were also presented to virtual reality adventure title Lone Echo II for Technical Achievement in Immersive Reality and Immersive Reality Game of the Year. Developed by Ready At Dawn for the Oculus Rift, this sequel sees players reprising the role of an android named Jack as he embarks on another adventure alongside his friend and captain, Olivia.
The Action Game of the Year and Online Game of the Year awards went to first-person shooter Halo Infinite. Developed by 343 Industries and published by Xbox Game Studios, Halo Infinite is described as “the most ambitious game” in the wildly popular Halo series, featuring an expansive campaign as well as free-to-play multiplayer.
Another first-person shooter, Deathloop, won the award for Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction. Developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks, the game sees two rival assassins trapped in a mysterious time loop on the Isle of Blackreef, where the only chance to escape is to end the cycle by assassinating eight key targets before the day resets.
Additionally, the Outstanding Indie Game Award went to Unboxing. Developed by Witch Beam and published by Humble Bundle, Unpacking is described as “a zen puzzle game about unboxing a lifetime”.
The Outstanding Achievement in Character award went to Capcom’s Resident Evil Village survival horror title for its character Lady Dimitrescu, while Arc System Works’ Guilty Gear -Strive- won Fighting Game of the Year. Nintendo’s Mario Golf: Super Rush won Sports Game of the Year and Playground Games and Xbox Game Studios’ Forza Horizon 5 won Racing Game of the Year.
Meanwhile, Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker won RPG of the Year, Relic Entertainment’s Age of Empires IV and Xbox Game Studios won Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year. , and Pokémon Unite from TiMi Studios and The Pokémon Company took home the award. Mobile game of the year.
Another honor presented at the ceremony was the AIAS Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented to Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer.
In a statement, AIAS President Meggan Scavio said, “Phil Spencer has demonstrated both passion and leadership throughout his career at Microsoft. He is responsible for countless impactful and crucial initiatives that have impacted the entire
the gaming industry.”
The event also honored NetherRealm Studios and Mortal Kombat Creative Director Ed Boon, who was selected as the 25th Hall of Fame inductee.
As the AIAS President said, “From his early work on pinball machines to his monumental accomplishments co-creating the Mortal Kombat franchise, Ed’s dedication and persistence to craftsmanship and the art of games have left an incredible legacy for fans and game developers alike.”