Journey encourages players to consider each other as potential allies rather than hostile enemies.
PlayStation 3 game "Journey" heads to the 2013 DICE Awards with 11 nominations under its belt, while "The Walking Dead" adventure game sits on 8 and "Far Cry 3" follows on 7.
"Journey" made waves for its considered, elegant approach to art and sound design, online gameplay, and narrative.
Players took on the form of a cloth-wrapped traveler who, from wilderness beginnings, was urged to undertake a momentous pilgrimage.
Its anonymous online component meant that each participant could travel in the company of one or more other nameless, faceless players over the course of their voyage; meaningful interactions were limited in scope to those that would be helpful to companions rather than annoying or malicious.
However, those nominations for "Journey" should not imply a de facto victory at the February 7 award ceremony in Las Vegas. "Portal 2" and "Uncharted 3" led the line with 11 and 10 nominations apiece at the previous year's event but left with 3 each when "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" emerged as the night's biggest victor.
Along with "The Walking Dead" and "Far Cry 3," "Journey" will be contesting the overall Game of the Year title with "Borderlands 2" and "XCOM: Enemy Unknown."
And another artistically distinctive title in "The Unfinished Swan" ensured that the PlayStation 3 is well represented, while a healthy number of nominations for PlayStation Vita games "Gravity Rush," "Sound Shapes" and "Uncharted: Golden Abyss" go some way to counterbalancing the handheld's lackluster sales.
New console Wii U is present via "Nintendo Land" and "New Super Mario Bros U" and the Xbox 360 fared well by way of nominations for exclusive titles "Halo 4" (which took 6 nominations total), "Trials: Evolution," "Dust: An Elysian Tale," "Fez," "Forza Horizon" and "Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition".
In the running for best family game of 2012 are movement-based titles "Dance Central 3" and "Just Dance 4," toy crossover titles "Lego Batman 2" and "Skylanders Giants," and the Wii U's equivalent to "Wii Sports," "Nintendo Land."
Speaking of mini-games, 2013's IAA nominations contain plenty of compulsive attractions, such as a golf spin on card games in the form of "Fairway Solitaire"; "Horn," the giant-killing challenge to the iOS action series "Infinity Blade"; social tune recognition quiz "Song Pop," that syncs across Facebook, iOS, Android and Kindle Fire, and the web-based silliness of "Burrito Bison Revenge."