The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' 25th annual DICE Awards took place yesterday, and among the big winners were Hazelight's It Takes Two and current man-of-the-gaming-moment Phil Spencer, who received a lifetime achievement award. In case you're curious, DICE stands for Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain.
There are quite a lot of awards: I'll put the full list below, but the biggies are probably It Takes Two scooping both Game of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Game Design. Deathloop received Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction, which sounds rather similar to the latter, while Halo Infinite bagged both Action and Online Game of the Year. Age of Empires 4 scored the best strategy/simulation title, while Forza Horizon 5 got Racing Game of the Year. There was a bit of love for Unpacking, too, which received the Outstanding Achievement for an Indie Game award.
- Game of the Year—It Takes Two (Hazelight)
- Outstanding Achievement in Game Design—It Takes Two (Hazelight)
- Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction—Deathloop (Arkane Studios)
- Action Game of the Year—Halo Infinite (343 Industries)
- Online Game of the Year—Halo Infinite (343 Industries)
- Outstanding Achievement for an Independent Game—Unpacking (Witch Beam)
- Outstanding Achievement in Animation—Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Insomniac Games)
- Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction—Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Insomniac Games)
- Outstanding Technical Achievement—Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Insomniac Games)
- Family Game of the Year—Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Insomniac Games)
- Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition—Returnal (Housemarque)
- Outstanding Achievement in Audio Design—Returnal (Housemarque)
- Outstanding Achievement in Story—Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (Square Enix)
- Adventure Game of the Year—Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (Square Enix)
- Fighting Game of the Year—Guilty Gear Strive (Arc System Works)
- Racing Game of the Year—Forza Horizon 5 (Playground Games)
- Role-Playing Game of the Year—Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker (Square Enix)
- Sports Game of the Year—Mario Golf: Super Rush (Camelot/Nintendo)
- Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year—Age of Empires IV (World's Edge/Microsoft)
- Immersive Reality Technical Achievement—Lone Echo II (Ready at Dawn)
- Immersive Reality Game of the Year—Lone Echo II (Ready at Dawn)
- Mobile Game of the Year—Pokémon Unite (TiMi Studio)
- Outstanding Achievement in Character—Resident Evil Village - Lady Dimitrescu
After all the game awards, focus switched to the people. Xbox chief Phil Spencer received DICE's lifetime achievement award, while Mortal Kombat creator Ed Boon was inducted into the DICE Hall of Fame. Get over here Ed!
Hazelight founder and It Takes Two writer and director Josef Fares kept his reaction to the game's latest success short and sweet:
This is incredible, thank you so much😭🙏❤️ https://t.co/8unt72oPlrFebruary 25, 2022
It Takes Two has been a huge hit for Hazelight and EA, selling over 5 million copies (opens in new tab) and receiving many awards, including biggies like The Game Awards' game of the year (opens in new tab). Our review (opens in new tab) highlighted the game's sheer imaginative variety: "Throughout my time with It Takes Two, my partner and I have tinkered with time inside a cuckoo clock, escaped from a lair of ferocious moles, traveled on the back of a giant ghostly catfish, and had a fistfight with a squirrel on top of a flying plane—and that's not the half (quarter, fifth or sixth) of it."
The DICE award recognitions are another huge vindication for the studio, and Fares personally, who has been pushing for fresh ways of thinking about co-op for many years with the likes of Brothers and A Way Out.