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hades 1280 1544656728364
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SXSW Gaming Awards 2021 Winners Announced: Hades Awarded Video Game of the Year

The winners of the SXSW Gaming Awards have been announced, with Hades and Deep Rock Galactic leading proceedings with two awards apiece.In partnership with IGN, SXSW presented its Gaming Awards trophies to category winners in a ceremony held on Saturday, March 20. Hades emerged as one of the frontrunners at the event, winning the prestigious Video Game of the Year award as well as an Excellence in Game Design accolade, which takes into consideration the best overall design concept, gameplay mechanics, and execution.

Sci-fi co-op FPS Deep Rock Galactic also scored big at this year’s ceremony, taking home awards in both categories in which it was nominated, which means that it picked up trophies for Indie Game of the Year and Excellence in Multiplayer. Both categories featured tough competition, with 9 other titles competing for the Indie Game of the Year accolade, including the likes of Bugsnax and Risk of Rain 2.

With 43 nominees across 12 categories, there were plenty of other winners announced at the event. Awards were presented to The Search for Planet X, Half-Life: Alyx, The Last of Us Part II, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Ghost of Tsushima, DOOM Eternal, Microsoft Flight Simulator, and Dreams, which won the Matthew Crump Cultural Innovation award for its community focused creativity tools.

The full list of winners from the SXSW 2021 Gaming Awards follows:

Video Game of the Year

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

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

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.

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

Tabletop Game of the Year

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

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

VR Game of the Year

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

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

Excellence in Narrative

Awarded to the game with the best storyline and dialogue.

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

Excellence in Game Design

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

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

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.

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

Excellence in Score

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

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

Excellence in Multiplayer

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

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

Excellence in Animation, Art, & Visual Achievement

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

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

Excellence in Audio Design

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

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

Excellence in Technical Achievement

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

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

The Best (and Worst) Reviewed Games of 2020

If you’d like to know more about SXSW’s Video Game of the Year, check out IGN’s review of Hades, praising the game for being aone-of-a-kind rogue-lite that does a brilliant job of marrying its fast-paced action with its persistent, progressing story through a vividly reimagined Greek mythological underworld,” which ultimately delivers an experience that you “never want to end.”
Adele Ankers is a Freelance Entertainment Journalist. You can reach her on Twitter.

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