GDC Award Nominees; Baer Honored by AIAS

The nominees have been unveiled for the 15th annual Game Developers Choice Awards to be handed out at the Game Developers Conference in March. There are three games available for Windows PCs in the running for game of the year, these are Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and Alien: Isolation. They say the recipients of their three special awards, including their Pioneer award, will also be released soon. And speaking of Pioneer awards (and shoehorned segues), GamesIndustry.biz has word that the recipients of this year's Pioneer Awards from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences will be Pong programmer Al Alcorn and the late "father of video games," Ralph H. Baer. These awards will be handed out next month at the D.I.C.E. Summit. Back to the Game Developers Choice Awards, here's the full list of nominees:
Game of the Year
Bayonetta 2 (Platinum Games/Nintendo)
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith Productions/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
Destiny (Bungie/Activision)
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (Blizzard)
Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly/Sega)

Honorable Mentions: Titanfall (Respawn/Electronic Arts), Valiant Hearts: The Great War (Ubisoft Montpellier/Ubisoft), Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft), Dragon Age: Inquisition (BioWare/Electronic Arts), Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Sora Ltd. and BANDAI NAMCO/Nintendo)

Innovation Award
Bounden (Game Oven)
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith Productions/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
This War of Mine (11 bit studios)
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (The Astronauts)
Monument Valley (Ustwo)

Honorable Mentions: Crypt of the Necrodancer (Brace Yourself Games), Extrasolar (Lazy 8 Studios), Elite: Dangerous (Frontier Developments), Elegy For A Dead World (Dejobaan Games), 80 Days (Inkle Studios)

Best Debut
Yacht Club Games (Shovel Knight)
Respawn Entertainment (Titanfall)
The Astronauts (The Vanishing of Ethan Carter)
Stoic Studio (The Banner Saga)
Upper One Games (Never Alone)

Honorable Mentions: Dynamighty (CounterSpy), Hinterland Games (The Long Dark), 1337 & Senri (Leo's Fortune), MachineGames (Wolfenstein: The New Order), Hipster Whale (Crossy Road)

Best Design
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith Productions/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
Shovel Knight (Yacht Club Games)
Dragon Age: Inquisition (BioWare/Electronic Arts)
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Nintendo EAD Tokyo and 1-Up Studio/Nintendo)
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (Blizzard)

Honorable Mentions: Mario Kart 8 (Nintendo EAD Tokyo/Nintendo), Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly/Sega), Destiny (Bungie/Activision), Monument Valley (Ustwo), Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Best Handheld/Mobile Game
Threes! (Sirvo)
Super Smash Bros. 3DS (Sora Ltd. and BANDAI NAMCO/Nintendo)
Hearthstone (Blizzard)
80 Days (Inkle Studios)
Monument Valley (Ustwo)

Honorable Mentions: Bounden (Game Oven), Bravely Default (Silicon Studio and Square Enix/Nintendo and Square Enix), Desert Golfing (Blinkbat Games), Velocity 2X (FuturLab), Fantasy Life (Level-5/Nintendo)

Best Visual Art
Monument Valley (Ustwo)
Hohokum (Honeyslug and Sony Santa Monica/Sony)
Child of Light (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
Bayonetta 2 (Platinum Games/Nintendo)
Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly/Sega)

Honorable Mentions: Never Alone (Upper One Games/E-Line Media), The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (The Astronauts), Transistor (Supergiant Games), Broken Age: Act 1 (Double Fine Productions), Destiny (Bungie/Activision)

Best Narrative
80 Days (Inkle Studios)
This War of Mine (11 bit studios)
Kentucky Route Zero: Episode 3 (Cardboard Computer)
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith Productions/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (The Astronauts)

Honorable Mentions: Dragon Age: Inquisition (BioWare/Electronic Arts), Valiant Hearts: The Great War (Ubisoft Montpellier/Ubisoft), Tales From The Borderlands: Episode 1 (Gearbox Software/Telltale Games), D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die (Access Games/Microsoft), Hatoful Boyfriend (Mediatonic/Devolver Digital)

Best Audio
Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly/Sega)
Hohokum (Honeyslug/Sony)
Destiny (Bungie/Activision)
Transistor (Supergiant Games)
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (The Astronauts)

Honorable Mentions: Child of Light (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft), Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft), D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die (Access Games/Microsoft), Bayonetta 2 (Platinum Games/Nintendo), Crypt of the Necrodancer (Brace Yourself Games)

Best Technology
Destiny (Bungie/Activision)
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith Productions/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
Wolfenstein: The New Order (MachineGames/Bethesda)
Elite: Dangerous (Frontier Developments)
Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Honorable Mentions: Assassin's Creed Unity (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft), The Last of Us: Remastered (Naughty Dog/Sony), Sunset Overdrive (Insomniac Games/Microsoft), Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly/Sega), Infamous: Second Son (Sucker Punch Productions/Sony)

The Game Developers Choice Awards also gives out three Special Awards yearly: the Pioneer, Ambassador and Lifetime Achievement awards, all of which will be announced in the near future. The Audience Award for the Choice Awards – open to all finalists for this year – will also return and will open for online voting in February.