A lot of awards ceremonies we’ve seen over the past year have had pretty uninspired recognition of VR content, seemingly only knowledgeable of the big PlayStation VR titles. It’s refreshing, then, to look at the nominees for the Best VR/AR Game at the upcoming Game Developers Choice Awards.
The awards, hosted by Double Fine’s Tim Schafer, are set to take place on Wednesday, March 1st at the 2017 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Nominees were announced this week however, and it’s the first year that VR and AR games are getting a nod.
The category has a surprisingly strong list of nominees. The one nomination we would have bet money on being there is Enhance Games’ Rez Infinite [Review: 8/10], the PS VR launch game that brought the beloved music-based shooter into the virtual realm. It’s also unsurprising to see Owlchemy Labs’ Job Simulator [Review: 8/10] up for the award. Both titles are popular among the VR community and the nominations are deserved, as far as we’re concerned.
More interesting nods on the VR side include Superhot VR [Review: 9/10], the recently-released (but absolutely excellent) Oculus Touch FPS that just about everyone seems to love. Northway Games’ excellent Fantastic Contraption [Review: 8/10] is also on the list, meaning non-PS VR games are getting a good amount of attention at this ceremony.
If we were to guess a winner, though, it would more than likely be the one AR game on the list: Pokemon Go. Niantic’s worldwide phenomenon wasn’t just one of the biggest reality-altering games of 2016, it was one of the biggest games full stop, getting people that never play videogames back into the lovable world of pocketable monsters and sending them off into the big wild world to explore and catch ’em all.
There’s also a solid list of honorable mentions for the category, including Thumper, Superhypercube, Batman: Arkham VR, Space Pirate Trainer, and The Lab. Drool’s Thumper [Review: 9/10] in particular has done well for itself; it’s also nominated in best audio, and best debut categories, while it gets more honorable mentions in innovation and visual art. Pokemon Go is also up for several more awards including best mobile/handheld and the innovation award. Between that and the recent Pokemon Sun/Moon, we think Pikachu has a good chance of walking away with an award in March.