DICE bait: How open-world adventures took over gaming’s academy awards
LAS VEGAS—In the Academy Awards season, the term "Oscar bait" has developed as a somewhat derogatory term for the kind of overwrought period dramas that seem tailor-made to take home a Best Picture statuette. After attending last night's DICE Awards ceremony in Las Vegas (put on by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences for 19 years now), I'm beginning to think we should start similarly referring to a certain type of open-world role-playing and adventure game as "DICE bait."
Fallout 4's Game of the Year win last night (and the strong performance of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in other categories) cements the open-world, single-player RPG as the genre to beat at the DICE Awards. Four of the last seven DICE Game of the Year recipients have fit that same broad gameplay mold: Dragon Age: Inquisition in 2014, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in 2011, and Mass Effect 2 in 2010. All four games also won in the Best Role-playing Game category, and these games tended to clean up in the less specific categories focused on general art and design, too.
If you expand the definition of DICE bait slightly to include more linear (but equally cinematic and character-driven) adventure games, you'll find two more recent DICE Game of the Year winners: Naughty Dog's Uncharted 2 in 2009 and The Last of Us in 2013. It's not just limited to DICE either; top picks at ceremonies like the Game Developers Choice Awards and The Game Awards show a similar bias to just a couple genres.