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The Witcher 3, Metal Gear Solid 5 lead 2016 Game Developers Choice Awards nominees

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Game developers choose their favorites from last year

The nominees for the 2016 Game Developers Choice Awards include acclaimed open-world games such as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain and Fallout 4, the event's organizers announced today.

CD Projekt Red's The Witcher 3 is tied with Kojima Productions' Metal Gear Solid 5 at the top of the list, with each game scoring nominations in four categories, including Game of the Year nods for both. Rounding out the Game of the Year field are Bethesda Game Studios' Fallout 4, FromSoftware's Bloodborne and Psyonix's Rocket League. Six titles received nominations in three categories: Bloodborne, Fallout 4, EA DICE's Star Wars Battlefront, Nintendo's Splatoon, Sam Barlow's Her Story and Toby Fox's Undertale.

The only criterion for a game's eligibility in the Game Developers Choice Awards is that it had to have been released publicly in the calendar year 2015; upgrades and expansions do not count. Nominees and winners of the Game Developers Choice Awards are chosen by the International Choice Awards Network, an invitation-only group that consists of professional game developers. This makes the Game Developers Choice Awards very different from something like The Game Awards, which are selected by members of the games media.

The 16th annual Game Developers Choice Awards will be hosted by Robin Hunicke, a well-regarded game developer and academic with a 12-year career in the game industry. Her resume includes time at Electronic Arts working on games such as Boom Blox and The Sims 2, and at thatgamecompany as a producer on Journey. Hunicke is the co-founder of indie studio Funomena and a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

The awards show will take place during the 2016 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco; it will run from 6:30-8:30 p.m. PT on March 16, alongside the 18th annual Independent Games Festival Awards. The event will be livestreamed on Twitch. You can see the full list of nominees below.

GAME OF THE YEAR
Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (CD Projekt Red / CD Projekt)
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain (Kojima Productions / Konami)
Bloodborne (FromSoftware / Sony Computer Entertainment)
Rocket League (Psyonix)

Honorable Mentions: Her Story (Sam Barlow), Super Mario Maker (Nintendo EAD Group No. 4 / Nintendo), Undertale (Toby Fox), Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo), Life is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix)

INNOVATION AWARD
Her Story (Sam Barlow)
Super Mario Maker (Nintendo EAD Group No. 4 / Nintendo)
Undertale (Toby Fox)
Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo)
The Beginner's Guide (Everything Unlimited Ltd.)

Honorable Mentions: Rocket League (Psyonix), Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (Steel Crate Games), Cibele (Star Maid Games), Life is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix), Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain(Kojima Productions / Konami)

BEST DEBUT
Studio Wildcard (Ark: Survival Evolved)
Toby Fox (Undertale)
Moon Studios (Ori and the Blind Forest)
Moppin (Downwell)
Steel Crate Games (Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes)

Honorable Mentions: Asteroid Base (Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime), Question (The Magic Circle), Thomas Happ (Axiom Verge), Dinosaur Polo Club (Mini Metro), MidBoss (Read Only Memories)

BEST DESIGN
Rocket League (Psyonix)
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain (Kojima Productions / Konami)
Bloodborne (FromSoftware / Sony Computer Entertainment)
Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks)
Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo)

Honorable Mentions: Her Story (Sam Barlow), Super Mario Maker (Nintendo EAD Group No. 4 / Nintendo), Undertale (Toby Fox), The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (CD Projekt Red / CD Projekt), Ori and the Blind Forest(Moon Studios / Microsoft Studios)

BEST HANDHELD/MOBILE GAME
Lara Croft: Go (Square Enix Montréal / Square Enix)
Fallout Shelter (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks)
Downwell (Moppin / Devolver Digital)
Her Story (Sam Barlow)
AlphaBear (Spry Fox)

Honorable Mentions: Prune (Joel McDonald), The Room Three (Fireproof Games), Subterfuge (Ron Carmel and Noel Llopis), Pac-Man 256 (Hipster Whale and 3 Sprockets / BANDAI NAMCO), Sage Solitaire (Zach Gage), SteamWorld Heist (Image and Form), You Must Build a Boat (EightyEight Games)

BEST VISUAL ART
Ori and the Blind Forest (Moon Studios / Microsoft Studios)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (CD Projekt Red / CD Projekt)
Star Wars Battlefront (DICE / Electronic Arts)
Bloodborne (FromSoftware / Sony Computer Entertainment)
Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo)

Honorable Mentions: Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain (Kojima Productions / Konami), Rise of the Tomb Raider (Crystal Dynamics / Square Enix), Batman: Arkham Knight (Rocksteady Studios / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment), The Order: 1886 (Ready at Dawn / Sony Computer Entertainment), Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (The Chinese Room / Sony Computer Entertainment), Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks)

BEST NARRATIVE
Her Story (Sam Barlow)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (CD Projekt Red / CD Projekt)
Life is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix)
Undertale (Toby Fox)
The Beginner's Guide (Everything Unlimited Ltd.)

Honorable Mentions: Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (The Chinese Room / Sony Computer Entertainment), Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks), Until Dawn (Supermassive Games / Sony Computer Entertainment), Cibele (Star Maid Games), Soma (Frictional Games)

BEST AUDIO
Star Wars Battlefront (DICE / Electronic Arts)
Ori and the Blind Forest (Moon Studios / Microsoft Studios)
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (The Chinese Room / Sony Computer Entertainment)
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain (Kojima Productions / Konami)
Crypt of the NecroDancer (Brace Yourself Games)

Honorable Mentions: Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks), The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (CD Projekt Red / CD Projekt), Life is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix), SOMA (Frictional Games), Bloodborne (FromSoftware / Sony Computer Entertainment), Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo)

BEST TECHNOLOGY
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain (Kojima Productions / Konami)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (CD Projekt Red / CD Projekt)
Star Wars Battlefront (DICE / Electronic Arts)
Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks)
Just Cause 3 (Avalanche Studios / Square Enix)

Honorable Mentions: Rise of the Tomb Raider (Crystal Dynamics / Square Enix), Batman: Arkham Knight (Rocksteady Studios / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment), Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo), Super Mario Maker (Nintendo EAD Group No. 4 / Nintendo), Halo 5: Guardians (343 Industries / Microsoft Studios)