presented by Discord

SXSW Gaming Awards

The SXSW Gaming Awards recognize the finest games and most creative individuals in the game industry. Learn more about the Gaming Awards.



2021 Winners


Ken Roy at 2019 SXSW Gaming Awards Ceremony - Photo by Alexandra Howard

Ken Roy at 2019 SXSW Gaming Awards Ceremony - Photo by Alexandra Howard

About

 

The SXSW Gaming Awards honors excellence throughout the gaming industry. In collaboration with IGN, the 2021 ceremony recognized the talents behind titles that influenced and advanced the culture of gaming in 2020.

Learn more about the Entry & Judging Process and 2021 Nominees by category below.

For more information regarding the SXSW Gaming Awards, please reach out to gaming@sxsw.com.


Gaming Awards Sponsored by Discord

Discord is a voice, video, and text communication service used by over a hundred million people to hang out and talk with friends and communities. Your Discord server is your home away from home, shared with special people you invite. Whether you’re part of a gaming group, school club, or just a handful of friends, Discord makes it easy to talk every day and hang out more often.

Discord Logo


Gaming Awards Supporting Sponsor

XR Games is an award-winning game development studio based in the UK. Founded in 2017, XR Games specialises in full-scale immersive AR and VR content, and games for PC, mobile and console. Led by industry veterans from Rockstar, EA, Codemasters, Sumo, Team 17 and Dubit, XR Games has created games for some of the world’s biggest brands.

Discord Logo

2021 Winners

 

Video Game of the Year

Awarded to the game that exemplifies overall excellence and creates a distinct gaming experience across all platforms and genres.

Winner: Hades — Supergiant Games

Indie Game of the Year

Awarded to the indie game that exemplifies overall excellence and creates a distinct gaming experience across all platforms and genres.

Winner: Deep Rock Galactic — Ghost Ship Games / Coffee Stain Publishing

Tabletop Game of the Year

Awarded to the game that exemplifies overall excellence and ingenuity of any tabletop game in any genre.

Winner: The Search for Planet X — Renegade Game Studios / Foxtrot Games

VR Game of the Year

Awarded to the VR game that exemplifies overall excellence in gameplay and design across any VR platform.

Winner: Half-Life: Alyx — Valve

Matthew Crump Cultural Innovation Award

Awarded to the game that best challenges the “norm” of everyday gaming and offers a culturally innovative view of a game world, character, or gameplay.

Winner: Dreams — Media Molecule / Sony Interactive Entertainment

Excellence in Animation, Art, & Visual Achievement

Awarded to the game with the most well-designed and stunning visuals, including animation effects and graphics.

Winner: Ghost of Tsushima — Sucker Punch Productions / Sony Interactive Entertainment

Excellence in Game Design

Awarded to the game with the best overall design concept, gameplay mechanics, and best execution.

Winner: Hades — Supergiant Games

Excellence in Score

Awarded to the game that best exemplifies artistic excellence in musical score and how it progresses the narrative of the game.

Winner: Ori and the Will of the Wisps — Moon Studios / Xbox Game Studios

Excellence in Multiplayer

Awarded to the game with the best player-to-player interaction experience.

Winner: Deep Rock Galactic — Ghost Ship Games / Coffee Stain Publishing

Excellence in Narrative

Awarded to the game with the best storyline and dialogue.

Winner: The Last of Us Part II — Naughty Dog / Sony Interactive Entertainment

Excellence in Audio Design

Awarded to the game with the most outstanding and impactful sound effects.

Winner: DOOM Eternal — id Software / Bethesda Softworks

Excellence in Technical Achievement

Awarded to the game that pushed the capabilities of technology and programming furthest or most effectively.

Winner: Microsoft Flight Simulator — Asobo Studio / Xbox Game Studios

Congrats to all 2021 SXSW Gaming Awards recipients!

2021 Gaming Awards Nominees

 

Game of the Year

Awarded to the game that exemplifies overall excellence and creates a distinct gaming experience across all platforms and genres.

Nominees
DOOM Eternal — id Software / Bethesda Softworks
Ghost of Tsushima — Sucker Punch Productions / Sony Interactive Entertainment
Hades — Supergiant Games
Ori and the Will of the Wisps — Moon Studios / Xbox Game Studios
The Last of Us Part II — Naughty Dog / Sony Interactive Entertainment

Indie Game of the Year

Awarded to the indie game that exemplifies overall excellence and creates a distinct gaming experience across all platforms and genres.

Nominees
Bugsnax — Young Horses
Cloudpunk — Ion Lands
Crown Trick — NExT Studios / Team17
Deep Rock Galactic — Ghost Ship Games / Coffee Stain Publishing
Huntdown — Easy Trigger Games / Coffee Stain Publishing
Ikenfell — Happy Ray Games / Humble Games
Monster Sanctuary — Moi Rai Games / Team17
Raji: An Ancient Epic — Nodding Heads Games / Super.com
Risk of Rain 2 — Hopoo Games / Gearbox Publishing
The Last Campfire — Hello Games

Tabletop Game of the Year

Awarded to the game that exemplifies overall excellence and ingenuity of any tabletop game in any genre.

Nominees
Calico — Flatout Games
Fort — Leder Games
Oceans — North Star Games
The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine — KOSMOS
The Search for Planet X — Renegade Game Studios / Foxtrot Games

VR Game of the Year

Awarded to the game that exemplifies overall excellence in gameplay and design across any VR platform.

Nominees
Down the Rabbit Hole — Cortopia Studios / Beyond Frames Entertainment
Half-Life: Alyx — Valve
Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond — Respawn Entertainment / Electronic Arts
Star Wars: Squadrons — Motive Studios / Electronic Arts
The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners — Skydance Interactive

Matthew Crump Cultural Innovation Award

Awarded to the game that best challenges the “norm” of everyday gaming and offers a culturally innovative view of a game world, character, or gameplay.

Nominees
Astro’s Playroom — Team ASOBI! / Sony Interactive Entertainment
Dreams — Media Molecule / Sony Interactive Entertainment
If Found… — Dreamfeel / Annapurna Interactive
Tell Me Why — DONTNOD Entertainment / Xbox Game Studios
The Last of Us Part II — Naughty Dog / Sony Interactive Entertainment

Excellence in Animation, Art, & Visual Achievement

Awarded to the game with well-designed and stunning visuals including animation effects and graphics.

Nominees
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla — Ubisoft Montreal / Ubisoft
Cloudpunk — Ion Lands
Final Fantasy VII Remake — SQUARE ENIX
Ghost of Tsushima — Sucker Punch Productions / Sony Interactive Entertainment
Ori and the Will of the Wisps — Moon Studios / Xbox Game Studios

Excellence in Game Design

Awarded to the game with the best overall design concept, gameplay mechanics, and best execution.

Nominees
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time — Toys for Bob / Activision
Desperados III — Mimimi Games / THQ Nordic
Hades — Supergiant Games
Ori and the Will of the Wisps — Moon Studios / Xbox Game Studios
Watch Dogs: Legion — Ubisoft Toronto / Ubisoft

Excellence in Score

Awarded to the game that best exemplifies artistic excellence in musical score and how it progresses the narrative of the game.

Nominees
Cyberpunk 2077 — CD Projekt Red / CD Projekt
DOOM Eternal — id Software / Bethesda Softworks
Final Fantasy VII Remake — SQUARE ENIX
Ori and the Will of the Wisps — Moon Studios / Xbox Game Studios
Trials of Mana — Xeen / SQUARE ENIX

Excellence in Multiplayer

Awarded to the game with the best player-to-player interaction experience.

Nominees
Deep Rock Galactic — Ghost Ship Games / Coffee Stain Publishing
Huntdown — Easy Trigger Games / Coffee Stain Publishing
Risk of Rain 2 — Hopoo Games, Gearbox Publishing
Star Wars: Squadrons — Motive Studios / Electronic Arts
VALORANT — Riot Games

Excellence in Narrative

Awarded to the game with the best storyline and dialogue.

Nominees
Ghost of Tsushima — Sucker Punch Productions / Sony Interactive Entertainment
Hades — Supergiant Games
Immortals Fenyx Rising — Ubisoft Quebec / Ubisoft
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales — Insomniac Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment
The Last of Us Part II — Naughty Dog / Sony Interactive Entertainment

Excellence in Audio Design

Awarded to the game with the most outstanding and impactful sound effects.

Nominees
Bugsnax — Young Horses
DOOM Eternal — id Software / Bethesda Softworks
Observer: System Redux — Bloober Team
Star Wars: Squadrons — Motive Studios / Electronic Arts
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 — Vicarious Visions / Activision

Excellence in Technical Achievement

Awarded to the game that pushed the capabilities of technology and programming furthest or most effectively.

Nominees
Astro’s Playroom — Team ASOBI! / Sony Interactive Entertainment
Dreams — Media Molecule / Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genshin Impact — miHoYo
Ghost of Tsushima — Sucker Punch Productions / Sony Interactive Entertainment
Microsoft Flight Simulator — Asobo Studio / Xbox Game Studios

Entry & Judging Process

 

The Gaming Awards are open for entry from October to December of each year. All entries must be completed titles released during that calendar year.

Once all entries are received, the judging process will begin for SXSW staff and an advisory board. Once the judging process concludes, SXSW will announce the final nominees for each category in February.

View the full list of previous winners.

Explore SXSW

Conference Sponsors

White Claw logo
High Grade Hemp Seed logo
Showtime logo
MTN DEW Rise Energy logo
Audible logo
Dell logo
TikTok logo
Austin Chronicle logo

Stay Tuned

Sign up to receive the latest announcements, tips, networking invitations and more.