The 24th annual DICE Awards is due to take place on April 8th, 2021, and ahead of the (virtual) event, the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences has announced the finalists for their 23 categories, including "Game of the Year", "Outstanding Achievement for an Independent Game", and "Adventure Game of the Year".
The Game of the Year category has only two games playable on the Nintendo Switch: Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Hades. The other three games nominated are the Final Fantasy VII Remake, Ghost of Tsushima, and The Last of Us Part II.
It's a great GOTY haul for Sony and Nintendo, who both have platform exclusives in the top five, but less good for Microsoft - although Microsoft Flight Simulator is up for both Simulation Game of the Year and Outstanding Technical Achievement, and Xbox Game Studios' Ori and the Will of the Wisps has five nominations in total.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons takes home three nominations, including Family Game of the Year and Online Game of the Year.
Hades has the third most nominations (behind The Last Of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima), with eight overall, including Outstanding Achievement in Story, Action Game of the Year, and Outstanding Achievement for an Independent Game.
Mario Kart Live, the AR-enhanced game that lets you drive Mario around your own home, has been nominated for Outstanding Technical Achievement, Racing Game of the Year, and Immersive Reality Technical Achievement.
One-off nominations include Spiritfarer, up for Outstanding Achievement in Animation; Carrion, up for Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition, and If Found... and Coffee Talk, both nominated for Outstanding Achievement for an Independent Game.
In a sad twist of fate, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 bagged a nomination for Sports Game of the Year, just days after developer Vicarious Visions was merged into Blizzard.
You can check out the full list of nominations here. It's a pretty mixed bag of indies and huge, big-budget games like Call of Duty and Half-Life: Alyx, so it'll be interesting to see who wins.
Nintendo often dominates "Best Family Game" and "Portable Game of the Year", but the awards seem to have done away with the latter category, and the family game nominations for this year are largely PlayStation exclusives. Past GOTY winners have included The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Sims, and Untitled Goose Game (which also won "Outstanding Character Performance" for The Goose in the same year).
What are your predictions for GOTY and the other categories? Drop your thoughts below.