The Last of Us is the best game of 2013 in 10 different categories – including Game of the Year – according to the top developers, industry leaders, and creative types making up the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Naughty Dog’s latest scored 12 nominations in all for the 2014 D.I.C.E. Awards when the nominees were announced in January. The two categories it lost in – Best Online Game and Outstanding Achievement in Gameplay Engineering – went to World of Tanks and Grand Theft Auto V, respectively.
“Tonight’s big winner, The Last of Us, is a prime example of how today’s modern video game studios expertly blend art, game play, and storytelling to transcend the traditional notion of video games,” AIAS president Martin Rae said in a statement. “This year’s winners range from deep, story-driven epics and massive interactive worlds to realistic sports action and engaging mobile experiences. They paint a broad picture of the new golden age we’re currently experiencing in the video game industry.”
The easiest explanation for the D.I.C.E. Awards is that it’s the Oscars of video games. Much like Hollywood’s most prestigious annual awards show, all category nominees and winners at the D.I.C.E. Awards are chosen by peer developers and developer-types. The roughly 20,000 members come from a variety of development disciplines, from game design to localization.
The night’s other big winners included two awards apiece for BioShock Infinite (Action Game of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Musical Composition) and Plants Vs. Zombies 2 (Casual Game of the Year and Mobile Game of the Year), one for Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons in the Downloadable Game of the Year category, and one for FIFA 14 as the Sports Game of the Year. Notably, this year marks EA Canada’s fifth consecutive win in the sports category.
Other notable moments for the evening included a Pioneer Award win for Eugene Jarvis, creator of classic coin-op arcade games like Defender, Smash TV, NARC, Cruis’n USA, and the prototypical twin-stick shooter Robotron: 2084. The evening also featured a rare appearance from Rockstar Games founders Dan and Sam Houser, and Leslie Benzies, who were inducted into the AIAS Hall of Fame.
We’ve got plenty of cool info coming from our time at the annual D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas. Stay tuned for more soon. And hey… if you haven’t played The Last of Us, then you probably should. We hear it’s a pretty big deal.