Every year, video games become more important as a medium. Creative and technical boundaries are pushed to greater heights in pursuit of artistic expression — whether in the form of compelling narrative, timely social commentary, soaring aesthetic achievement, or cerebral and emotional satisfaction from innovative and engaging gameplay.
To celebrate the technical, artistic and design achievements of each year’s best titles and their creators, we host the annual SXSW Gaming Awards — this year entirely digitally as part of SXSW Online. After a rigorous process of nominee selection, this year’s awards feature 40 unique games contending for honors in 12 categories. As with each year, we turn to the SXSW community to help us determine the final winners. Browse the list of nominees below, and vote now for your favorite titles — the polls are open until 11:59pm CT on Tuesday, February 8, so don’t delay.
Once the polls close, we’ll determine the winners through a weighted total of public voting, advisory board and SXSW staff input before presenting the most innovative, culturally influential and technically perfect games of the year at the SXSW Gaming Awards Ceremony on Saturday, March 12. The show will be broadcast as part of SXSW Online and streamed live twitch.tv/sxswgaming.
2022 SXSW Gaming Awards Nominees
Video Game of the Year
Awarded to the game that exemplifies overall excellence and creates a distinct gaming experience across all platforms and genres.
Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker — SQUARE ENIX It Takes Two — Hazelight / Electronic Arts Psychonauts 2 — Double Fine Productions / Xbox Game Studios Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart — Insomniac Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment Resident Evil Village — Capcom
Indie Game of the Year
Awarded to the independently-developed game that exemplifies overall excellence and creates a distinct gaming experience across all platforms and genres.
Tabletop Game of the Year
Awarded to the game that exemplifies overall excellence and ingenuity of any tabletop game in any genre.
Cascadia — Randy Flynn, Beth Sobel, Dylan Mangini, Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin, Kevin Russ, Shawn Stankewich, David Lezzi / Flatout Games Dune: Imperium — Dire Wolf Digital / Dire Wolf Digital Oath: Chronicles of Empire & Exile — Cole Wehrle / Leder Games Roll Camera! The Filmmaking Board Game — Malachi Ray Rempen / Keen Bean Studio That Time You Killed Me — Peter C. Hayward, Jeff Fraser, Alex Cutler / Pandasaurus Games
VR Game of the Year
Awarded to the VR game that exemplifies overall excellence in gameplay and design across any VR platform.
After The Fall — Vertigo Games Demeo — Resolution Games Lone Echo II — Ready at Dawn / Oculus Studios Resident Evil 4 VR — Armature Studio / Oculus Studios Song in the Smoke — 17-BIT
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.
Chicory: A Colorful Tale — Greg Lobanov / Finji Before Your Eyes — GoodbyeWorld Games / Skybound Games Life is Strange: True Colors — Deck Nine Games / Square Enix Lost Words: Beyond the Page — Sketchbook Games / Modus Games Unpacking — Witch Beam / Humble Games
Excellence in Animation, Art, & Visual Achievement
Awarded to the game with the most well-designed and stunning visuals, including animation effects and graphics.
Deathloop — Arkane Lyon / Bethesda Softworks Exo One — Exbleative / Future Friends Games Forza Horizon 5 — Playground Games / Xbox Game Studios Kena: Bridge of Spirits — Ember Lab The Wild At Heart — Moonlight Kids / Humble Games
Excellence in Game Design
Awarded to the game with the best overall design concept, gameplay mechanics, and best execution.
Deathloop — Arkane Lyon / Bethesda Softworks Inscryption — Daniel Mullins Games / Devolver Digital Loop Hero — Four Quarters / Devolver Digital Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart — Insomniac Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment Returnal — Housemarque / Sony Interactive Entertainment
Excellence in Original Score
Awarded to the game that best exemplifies artistic excellence in its original musical score and how it progresses the narrative of the game.
The Artful Escape — Beethoven & Dinosaur / Annapurna Interactive Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker — SQUARE ENIX Kena: Bridge of Spirits — Ember Lab The Medium — Bloober Team Wytchwood — Alientrap Games / Whitethorn Games
Excellence in Multiplayer
Awarded to the game with the best player-to-player interaction experience.
Back 4 Blood — Turtle Rock Studios / Warner Bros. Games Halo Infinite — 343 Inductries / Xbox Game Studios It Takes Two — Hazelight / Electronic Arts Riders Republic — Ubisoft Annecy / Ubisoft Valheim — Iron Gate Studio / Coffee Stain Publishing
Excellence in Narrative
Awarded to the game with the best storyline and dialogue.
Deathloop — Arkane Lyon / Bethesda Softworks Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker — SQUARE ENIX Kena: Bridge of Spirits — Ember Lab Lost in Random — Zoink Games / Electronic Arts Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy — Eidos-Montréal / Square Enix
Excellence in Audio Design
Awarded to the game with the most outstanding and impactful sound effects.
Forza Horizon 5 — Playground Games / Xbox Game Studios Hell Let Loose — Black Matter / Team17 Inscryption — Four Quarters / Devolver Digital Twelve Minutes — Luis Antonio / Annapurna Interactive Resident Evil Village — Capcom
Excellence in Technical Achievement
Awarded to the game that pushed the capabilities of technology and programming furthest or most effectively.
Before Your Eyes — GoodbyeWorld Games / Skybound Games Forza Horizon 5 — Playground Games / Xbox Game Studios Hell Let Loose — Black Matter / Team17 Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart — Insomniac Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment Returnal — Housemarque / Sony Interactive Entertainment
Join Us for SXSW Online 2022
Register for SXSW 2022 – a celebration of the tech, film, and music industries across a variety of programming formats and special events from March 11-20 in Austin, TX and online.
2019 SXSW Gaming Award – Photo by Shannon Johnston
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