2013 Canadian Videogame Awards Nominations And Predictions

canadian-videogame-awards-bannerNext week is going to be Canadian Gaming Week here on the blog. We’ll be looking at London, Ontario’s Digital Extremes’ Star Trek: The Video Game. The plan is also to put up reviews of Canadian indie games Sang-Froid: Tales of Werewolves and Papo & Yo in addition to a column or two.

First up, this weekend is the 2013 Canadian Videogame Awards which celebrates the best the Canadian gaming industry developed and released in 2012 as determined by a committee of developer executives and a couple of programmers. As we are wont to do with big awards shows, we have the nominees and predictions.

Game of the Year

Assassin’s Creed III
Far Cry 3
Mark of the Ninja
Mass Effect 3
Papo & Yo

Our Pick: Mass Effect 3
Prediction: Far Cry 3

I’m probably making my GOTY pick based on that wonderful Citadel DLC for Mass Effect 3 but there’s my pick. It also explains why the CVA organizers will never let me have a vote… and why I’m not on the mailing list and I found out about the awards from an ad in a Future Shop flyer. True story.

Anyway, I don’t actually think ME3 will win because of that ending. Papo & Yo wasn’t exactly fondly thought of by the gaming press, nor was Assassin’s Creed 3. That leaves Far Cry 3 and Mark of the Ninja as the two best Canadian games of 2012. They’re both deserving of Canadian GOTY (CGOTY?) but I think the nod will go to the triple-A console release rather than the indie darling.

Best Console Game

Assassin’s Creed III
Far Cry 3
FIFA Soccer 13
Mass Effect 3
Sleeping Dogs

Our Pick: Far Cry 3
Prediction: Mass Effect 3

Hmm… I thought Mark of the Ninja was a console game but it’s not here. I also noticed that there’s a console game category but not a PC game category. Not that it particularly matters because only FIFA 13 is not on the PC.

Anyway, like the studio of the year award from Spike TV’s Video Game Awards (an award absent from this awards show), I see this as a bit of a consolation award. If Far Cry wins GOTY, I can’t see it sweeping this one too. As such, the next best game on the list gets the award which give the award to Mass Effect 3. If they give it to FIFA and their painfully lazy Wii port, I give up.

Best Downloadable Game

Incredipede
Mark of the Ninja
MechWarrior Online
Shank 2
Waveform

Our Pick: Mark of the Ninja
Prediction: Mark of the Ninja

Time to invoke Steve’s GOTY nominee rule. If a game is the only nominee in its genre category to also be nominated for Game of the Year, it should win said category. With a game like Mark of the Ninja, it’s not a stretch to call it Canada’s best downloadable game of 2012.

Best Game on the Go

Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition
My Singing Monsters
Shellrazer
Sound Shapes
The Bard’s Tale

Our Pick: Sound Shapes
Prediction: Sound Shapes

If you look at the reviews, this one comes down to two games. It’s between Sound Shapes and Shellrazer. I’m not a mobile or portable gamer but I’ll trust my game journalist peers and go with the better reviewed Sound Shapes. Coincidentally, this is the only game on this list that wasn’t on iOS but on the PlayStation Network. The Vita isn’t dead nor are portable consoles.

Best Social / Casual Game

i saw her standing there
Jurassic Park Builder
Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth
Rubber Tacos
The Secret World

Our Pick: Not A Social Game Award…
Prediction: One of the Above

One of these days, I’m going to start caring about social games. That’s not going to be today. I know that these devs work hard on these games, unless they’re employed by Zynga and copying ideas from other games, but I’m already pretty much gamed out, I don’t have time to play these too.

Best Animation

Far Cry 3
Mark of the Ninja
Prototype 2
Shank 2
Sleeping Dogs

Our Pick: Sleeping Dogs
Prediction: Far Cry 3

Any game that makes you feel like you’re in an action movie with the combat and the stunts has to be doing a good job of the animation. That’s why I picked Sleeping Dogs. However, the facial animations of Far Cry 3 and the beautifully rendered and animated environment should get it this award.

Best Audio

Assassin’s Creed III
Incredipede
Mark of the Ninja
My Singing Monsters
Sound Shapes

Our Pick: Sound Shapes
Prediction: Sound Shapes

I like all the technical awards that the Canadian Videogame Awards has. It really makes you think about the games you played in a different way. That and we don’t have any technical awards in the sadly high-profile Spike TV Video Game Awards. Anyway, Sound Shapes was designed around the sound effects and music. I think it’s reflected in the final product.

Best Game Design

Assassin’s Creed III
Far Cry 3
Mark of the Ninja
Mass Effect 3
Sound Shapes

Our Pick: Mark of the Ninja
Prediction: Far Cry 3

Game design looks at the mechanics of the various games and how they’re executed. I don’t see how this is significantly different from Best Game Innovation but it’s here. I think the great execution of the stealth gameplay should get Mark of the Ninja the award. I could also make an easy argument for Far Cry 3 as it did so many elements so well. It’s not often that wildlife AI doesn’t treat you differently than other AI. After all, how many stories have you heard about baiting a tiger into mauling an enemy camp for you?

Best Game Innovation

Far Cry 3
Mark of the Ninja
Papo & Yo
Sound Shapes
Waveform

Our Pick: Mark of the Ninja
Prediction: Mark of the Ninja

A stealth game that works consistently and that everyone liked? Yeah, that’s going to pick up an award for innovation. Granted, Far Cry 3 could also win this one based on the aforementioned wildlife AI and all the other well executed elements.

Best Indie Game

Mark of the Ninja
Papo & Yo
Shank 2
Sound Shapes
Waveform

Our Pick: Mark of the Ninja
Prediction: Mark of the Ninja

I think that this one will be a two-horse race between Mark of the Ninja and Sound Shapes. I have to give the nod to Mark of the Ninja on both quality and Steve GOTY nominee principle.

Best New Character

Far Cry 3 – Vaas
Nun Attack – The Nun Squad!
Papo & Yo – Quico
Prototype 2 – James Heller
Sleeping Dogs – Wei Shen

Our Pick: Far Cry 3 – Vaas
Prediction: Far Cry 3 – Vaas

Wait, this is a question? It’s Vaas all the way.

Best Original Music

Assassin’s Creed III – Main Theme Song
Mass Effect 3 – Leaving Earth
Papo & Yo – Liberation
Sleeping Dogs – Sleeping Dogs Score
Sound Shapes – Cities

Our Pick: Sounds Shapes – Cities
Prediction: Mass Effect 3 – Leaving Earth

Leaving Earth again? An End, Once and For All was better. Hell, A Future for the Krogan was better. But no, let’s nominate the song from the movie composer. Sorry, I have to get that out of my system at some point.

Anyway, I think that Big Hollywood Composer wins the award from the committee but I would pick Cities from Sound Shapes. There have been some pretty good songs made for music games lately, hasn’t there?

Best Technology

Assassin’s Creed III
Mark of the Ninja
MechWarrior Online
Prototype 2
SSX

Our Pick: Assassin’s Creed III
Prediction: Assassin’s Creed III

Best technology covers “excellence in graphics programming, AI, physics and networking.” I think that developing a new engine for a game probably qualifies as the best technology of the year. That would mean that Ubisoft Montreal spearheading the new Anvil Next engine is probably award-worthy.

Best Visual Arts

Assassin’s Creed III
Far Cry 3
Incredipede
Mark of the Ninja
Mass Effect 3

Our Pick: Far Cry 3
Prediction: Far Cry 3

An absolutely gorgeous environment that rivalled any game, not just Canadian games, released in 2012 should get Far Cry 3 this award. Anyone else noting a pattern with the nominees and my predictions?

Best Writing

Assassin’s Creed III
Far Cry 3
Mark of the Ninja
Mass Effect 3
Sleeping Dogs

Our Pick: Sleeping Dogs
Prediction: Mass Effect 3

The official category description is the best storyline, scenario or dialogue. Dialogue puts FC3 (okay, Vaas) and ME3 right in there. Sleeping Dogs felt like a kung-fu action movie but I could understand the whole True Crime undercover cop story might be considered played out by the committee. My love of kung-fu action movies (I’ll never tire of writing that) puts Sleeping Dogs on top for me. Mass Effect 3’s dialogue and occasional tear-jerking nature makes me inclined to think it could win the award. That ending, though…

Future Shop Fans’ Choice Award

Assassin’s Creed III
Batman Arkham City Armored Edition
Far Cry 3
Mark of the Ninja
Mass Effect 3
Papo & Yo
Prototype 2
Sleeping Dogs
Sound Shapes
Waveform

Our Pick: Mass Effect 3
Prediction: Far Cry 3

Fans’s choice awards are pretty much impossible to predict. This could go a couple of ways. My choice of Mass Effect 3 could pick up some votes. I really enjoyed Sleeping Dogs and so did many other gamers. Who wouldn’t love a game that plays like a kung-fu action movie?

However, I think that the fans’ choice will be Far Cry 3. Having seen my other predictions, it shouldn’t surprise you that I’d predict that Far Cry 3 would take it home. If it didn’t come out in December, it would have won a pile more awards for 2012. I think the fans will realize that when putting in their two cents.

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