By Gary Watkins

02/1/2022

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2022 SXSW Gaming Awards — Public Voting Now Live Through February 8

Gaming Awards Ceremony at SXSW 2019. Photo by Shannon Johnston.

Every year, video games become more important as a medium. Creative and technical boundaries are pushed to greater heights in pursuit of artistic expression — whether in the form of compelling narrative, timely social commentary, soaring aesthetic achievement, or cerebral and emotional satisfaction from innovative and engaging gameplay.

To celebrate the technical, artistic and design achievements of each year's best titles and their creators, we host the annual SXSW Gaming Awards — this year entirely digitally as part of SXSW Online. After a rigorous process of nominee selection, this year's awards feature 40 unique games contending for honors in 12 categories. As with each year, we turn to the SXSW community to help us determine the final winners. Browse the list of nominees below, and vote now for your favorite titles — the polls are open until 11:59pm CT on Tuesday, February 8, so don't delay.

Once the polls close, we'll determine the winners through a weighted total of public voting, advisory board and SXSW staff input before presenting the most innovative, culturally influential and technically perfect games of the year at the SXSW Gaming Awards Ceremony on Saturday, March 12. The show will be broadcast as part of SXSW Online and streamed live twitch.tv/sxswgaming.

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2022 SXSW Gaming Awards Nominees

Video Game of the Year

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

Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker — SQUARE ENIX
It Takes Two — Hazelight / Electronic Arts
Psychonauts 2 — Double Fine Productions / Xbox Game Studios
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart — Insomniac Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment
Resident Evil Village — Capcom

Indie Game of the Year

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

Chicory: A Colorful Tale — Greg Lobanov / Finji
Death's Door — Acid Nerve / Devolver Digital
Inscryption — Daniel Mullins Games / Devolver Digital
Kena: Bridge of Spirits — Ember Lab
Loop Hero — Four Quarters / Devolver Digital
Lost Words: Beyond the Page — Sketchbook Games / Modus Games
The Medium — Bloober Team
Unpacking — Witch Beam / Humble Games
Valheim — Iron Gate Studio / Coffee Stain Publishing
The Wild At Heart — Moonlight Kids / Humble Games

Tabletop Game of the Year

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

Cascadia — Randy Flynn, Beth Sobel, Dylan Mangini, Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin, Kevin Russ, Shawn Stankewich, David Lezzi / Flatout Games
Dune: Imperium — Dire Wolf Digital / Dire Wolf Digital
Oath: Chronicles of Empire & Exile — Cole Wehrle / Leder Games
Roll Camera! The Filmmaking Board Game — Malachi Ray Rempen / Keen Bean Studio
That Time You Killed Me — Peter C. Hayward, Jeff Fraser, Alex Cutler / Pandasaurus Games

VR Game of the Year

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

After The Fall — Vertigo Games
Demeo — Resolution Games
Lone Echo II — Ready at Dawn / Oculus Studios
Resident Evil 4 VR — Armature Studio / Oculus Studios
Song in the Smoke — 17-BIT

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.

Chicory: A Colorful Tale — Greg Lobanov / Finji
Before Your Eyes — GoodbyeWorld Games / Skybound Games
Life is Strange: True Colors — Deck Nine Games / Square Enix
Lost Words: Beyond the Page — Sketchbook Games / Modus Games
Unpacking — Witch Beam / Humble Games

Excellence in Animation, Art, & Visual Achievement

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

Deathloop — Arkane Lyon / Bethesda Softworks
Exo One — Exbleative / Future Friends Games
Forza Horizon 5 — Playground Games / Xbox Game Studios
Kena: Bridge of Spirits — Ember Lab
The Wild At Heart — Moonlight Kids / Humble Games

Excellence in Game Design

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

Deathloop — Arkane Lyon / Bethesda Softworks
Inscryption — Daniel Mullins Games / Devolver Digital
Loop Hero — Four Quarters / Devolver Digital
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart — Insomniac Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment
Returnal — Housemarque / Sony Interactive Entertainment

Excellence in Original Score

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

The Artful Escape — Beethoven & Dinosaur / Annapurna Interactive
Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker — SQUARE ENIX
Kena: Bridge of Spirits — Ember Lab
The Medium — Bloober Team
Wytchwood — Alientrap Games / Whitethorn Games

Excellence in Multiplayer

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

Back 4 Blood — Turtle Rock Studios / Warner Bros. Games
Halo Infinite — 343 Inductries / Xbox Game Studios
It Takes Two — Hazelight / Electronic Arts
Riders Republic — Ubisoft Annecy / Ubisoft
Valheim — Iron Gate Studio / Coffee Stain Publishing

Excellence in Narrative

Awarded to the game with the best storyline and dialogue.

Deathloop — Arkane Lyon / Bethesda Softworks
Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker — SQUARE ENIX
Kena: Bridge of Spirits — Ember Lab
Lost in Random — Zoink Games / Electronic Arts
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy — Eidos-Montréal / Square Enix

Excellence in Audio Design

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

Forza Horizon 5 — Playground Games / Xbox Game Studios
Hell Let Loose — Black Matter / Team17
Inscryption — Four Quarters / Devolver Digital
Twelve Minutes — Luis Antonio / Annapurna Interactive
Resident Evil Village — Capcom

Excellence in Technical Achievement

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

Before Your Eyes — GoodbyeWorld Games / Skybound Games
Forza Horizon 5 — Playground Games / Xbox Game Studios
Hell Let Loose — Black Matter / Team17
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart — Insomniac Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment
Returnal — Housemarque / Sony Interactive Entertainment

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Join Us for SXSW Online 2022

Register for SXSW 2022 – a celebration of the tech, film, and music industries across a variety of programming formats and special events from March 11-20 in Austin, TX and online.

2019 SXSW Gaming Award - Photo by Shannon Johnston

By Gary Watkins

02/1/2022

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