Shadow of Mordor, Bayonetta 2 and Hearthstone grab key Choice Awards nominations

Organizers have revealed the finalists for the 15th annual Game Developers Choice Awards, the leading peer-based video game event celebrating the industry’s top games and developers.

Winners in all categories will be honored at the Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony, taking place on Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 at 6:30pm at the San Francisco Moscone Center during the 2015 Game Developers Conference alongside the Independent Games Festival Awards.


Leading the pack with five nominations is Monolith Productions’ acclaimed open-world action game Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor – receiving nods for Game of the Year, Innovation, Best Design, Best Narrative and Best Technology.

Following close behind are Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation and Destiny from Bungie, each of which were nominated for multiple awards across categories like Best Audio and Best Technology, and also nominated for the 2014 Game of the Year.


Mirroring years past, titles from smaller teams have once again received strong recognition, with nominations or honorable mentions in nine of the 10 categories. Polish independent studio The Astronauts was nominated across four categories for its work producing the atmospheric first-person mystery game The Vanishing of Ethan Carter: the Innovation Award, Best Debut, Best Narrative and Best Audio. Several other games of similar scope garnered multiple category nominations, including 11 bit studios’ This War of Mine, Inkle Studios’ 80 Days and Yacht Club Games’ Shovel Knight.

Nintendo also showed strongly in the Choice Awards nominations across both the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. The latest iteration of the publisher’s flagship fighting game franchise, Super Smash Bros for 3DS picked up a nomination for the Best Handheld Game of the year, while the innovative puzzle-platformer Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is up for a Best Design award. The Nintendo-published, Platinum Games-developed Wii U character action game Bayonetta 2 was also nominated for multiple awards, including Game of the Year and Best Visual Art.

Additional titles with multiple nominations included Blizzard’s free-to-play digital card game Hearthstone (three nominations), Bungie’s ambitious online first-person shooter Destiny (three nominations) and Yacht Club Games’ love letter to NES platformers Shovel Knight (two nominations),

The 2015 Game Developers Choice Awards are freely open to any video game that was initially released and made publicly available to customers during the 2014 calendar year, irrespective of platform or delivery medium. Both finalists and winners are selected by the Game Developers Choice Awards-specific International Choice Awards Network (ICAN), which is an invitation-only organization comprised of leading game creators from all parts of the industry.

The complete list of nominees, including honorable mentions, for the 15th annual Game Developers Choice Awards is as follows:

Game of the Year

Bayonetta 2 (Platinum Games/Nintendo)

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith Productions/Warner Bros.)

Destiny (Bungie/Activision)

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (Blizzard)

Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly/Sega)

Honorable Mentions: Titanfall (Respawn/Electronic Arts), Valiant Hearts: The Great War (Ubisoft Montpellier/Ubisoft), Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft), Dragon Age: Inquisition (BioWare/Electronic Arts), Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Sora Ltd. and Bandai Namco/Nintendo)

Innovation Award

Bounden (Game Oven)

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith Prod
uctions/Warner Bros.)

This War of Mine (11 bit studios)

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (The Astronauts)

Monument Valley (Ustwo)

Honorable Mentions: Crypt of the Necrodancer (Brace Yourself Games), Extrasolar (Lazy 8 Studios), Elite: Dangerous (Frontier Developments), Elegy For A Dead World (Dejobaan Games), 80 Days (Inkle Studios)

Best Debut

Yacht Club Games (Shovel Knight)

Respawn Entertainment (Titanfall)

The Astronauts (The Vanishing of Ethan Carter)

Stoic Studio (The Banner Saga)

Upper One Games (Never Alone)

Honorable Mentions: Dynamighty (CounterSpy), Hinterland Games (The Long Dark), 1337 & Senri (Leo’s Fortune), MachineGames (Wolfenstein: The New Order), Hipster Whale (Crossy Road)

Best Design

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith Productions/Warner Bros.)

Shovel Knight (Yacht Club Games)

Dragon Age: Inquisition (BioWare/Electronic Arts)

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Nintendo EAD Tokyo and 1-Up Studio/Nintendo)

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (Blizzard)

Honorable MentionsMario Kart 8 (Nintendo EAD Tokyo/Nintendo), Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly/Sega)Destiny (Bungie/Activision)Monument Valley (Ustwo)Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Best Handheld/Mobile Game

Threes! (Sirvo)

Super Smas
h Bros. 3DS
 (Sora Ltd. and Bandai Namco/Nintendo)

Hearthstone (Blizzard)

80 Days (Inkle Studios)

Monument Valley (Ustwo)

Honorable Mentions: Bounden (Game Oven)Bravely Default (Silicon Studio and Square Enix/Nintendo and Square Enix), Desert Golfing (Blinkbat Games), Velocity 2X (FuturLab), Fantasy Life (Level-5/Nintendo)

Best Visual Art

Monument Valley (Ustwo)

Hohokum (Honeyslug and Richard Hogg/Sony)

Child of Light (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Bayonetta 2 (Platinum Games/Nintendo)

Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly/Sega)

Honorable Mentions: Never Alone (Upper One Games/E-Line Media), The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (The Astronauts)Transistor (Supergiant Games), Broken Age: Act 1 (Double Fine Productions), Destiny (Bungie/Activision)

Best Narrative

80 Days (Inkle Studios)

This War of Mine (11 bit studios)

Kentucky Route Zero: Episode 3 (Cardboard Computer)

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith Productions/Warner Bros.)

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (The Astronauts)

Honorable Mentions: Dragon Age: Inquisition (BioWare/Electronic Arts)Valiant Hearts: The Great War (Ubisoft Montpellier/Ubisoft)Tales From The Borderlands: Episode 1 (Gearbox Software/Telltale Games), D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die (Access Games/Microsoft), Hatoful Boyfriend (Mediatonic/Devolver Digital)

Best Audio

Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly/Sega)

Hohokum (Honeyslug and Richard Hogg/Sony)

Destiny (Bungie/Activision)

Transistor (Supergiant Games)

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (The Astronauts)

Honorable Mentions: Child of Light (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft), Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die (Access Games/Microsoft)Bayonetta 2 (Platinum Games/Nintendo)Crypt of the Necrodancer (Brace Yourself Games)

Best Technology

Destiny (Bungie/Activision)

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith Productions/Warner Bros.)

Wolfenstein: The New Order (MachineGames/Bethesda)

Elite: Dangerous (Frontier Developments)

Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Honorable Mentions: Assassin’s Creed Unity (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft), The Last of Us: Remastered (Naughty Dog/Sony), Sunset Overdrive (Insomniac Games/Microsoft), Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly/Sega)Infamous: Second Son (Sucker Punch Productions/Sony)

The Game Developers Choice Awards also gives out three Special Awards yearly: the Pioneer, Ambassador and Lifetime Achievement awards, all of which will be announced in the near future. The Audience Award for the Choice Awards – open to all finalists for this year – will also return and will open for online voting in February.

For more information about the 15th annual Game Developers Choice Awards, check out the GDCA websiteFor more information on GDC 2015, visit the show’s official website, or subscribe to regular updates via FacebookTwitter, or RSS

Don’t miss the opportunity to save money by registering early — the deadline to register for passes at a discounted rate is January 21, 2015. GDC 2015 itself will take place March 2-6 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.


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