Why it matters: We all know that Elden Ring is one of the greatest and best-reviewed games in years, which is why FromSoftware's title often dominates proceedings at award shows. But that might not be the case at the upcoming DICE awards where God of War Ragnarök leads the pack with 12 nominations, almost double the seven categories Elden Ring is competing in.

The 26th annual DICE (Design Innovate Communicate Entertain) Awards takes place at Resorts World in Las Vegas on February 23. The nominees, chosen by the industry experts and developers who make up the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, are led by God of War Ragnarök, which is up for 12 awards, followed by Horizon Forbidden West (eight) and Elden Ring (seven).

Fighting with those three titles in the Game of the Year category is post-apocalyptic cat-based adventure Stray and the incredibly popular roguelike shoot 'em up Vampire Survivors. The 2018 God of War reboot took top honors at the DICE awards in 2019, and it wouldn't be a surprise if its sequel walked away with the GOTY award in 2023.

Vampire Survivors is one of several games nominated in four categories; Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Tunic, and Immortality also have four nominations.

A glance at the nominees shows a tough 'Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year' category. Dwarf Fortress might be the favorite, though this writer thinks the excellent Marvel's Midnight Suns—PC Gamer's GOTY runner-up—should win. It's good to see the thoroughly enjoyable Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters also nominated.

At last month's Game Awards, Elden Ring won four awards, including Game of the Year, while God of War won seven.

This year's DICE awards will be co-hosted by Kinda Funny's Greg Miller and Stella Chung from IGN; the publication is the official media partner of the event and will be livestreaming the entire show.

Complete list of nominees and categories

Outstanding Achievement in Animation

  • Cuphead - The Delicious Last Course
  • Elden Ring
  • God of War Ragnarok
  • Horizon Forbidden West
  • Moss: Book 2

Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  • God of War Ragnarok
  • Horizon Forbidden West
  • Stray
  • The Callisto Protocol

Outstanding Achievement in Character

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - Alejandro Vargas
  • God of War Ragnarok - Atreus
  • God of War Ragnarok - Kratos
  • Horizon Forbidden West - Aloy
  • Return to Monkey Island - Guybrush Threepwood

Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition

  • A Plague Tale: Requiem
  • God of War Ragnarok
  • Horizon Forbidden West
  • Metal: Hellsinger
  • Moss: Book 2

Outstanding Achievement in Audio Design

  • A Plague Tale: Requiem
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  • God of War Ragnarok
  • Gotham Knights
  • Somerville

Outstanding Achievement in Story

  • Elden Ring
  • God of War Ragnarok
  • I Was a Teenage Exocolonist
  • IMMORTALITY
  • NORCO

Outstanding Technical Achievement

  • A Plague Tale: Requiem
  • Elden Ring
  • God of War Ragnarok
  • Horizon Forbidden West
  • Teardown

Action Game of the Year

  • Bayonetta 3
  • Grounded
  • Neon White
  • Sifu
  • Vampire Survivors

Adventure Game of the Year

  • God of War Ragnarok
  • Horizon Forbidden West
  • NORCO
  • Stray
  • TUNIC

Family Game of the Year

  • Disney Dreamlight Valley
  • Kirby's Dream Buffet
  • Lost in Play
  • Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope
  • Trombone Champ

Fighting Game of the Year

  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R
  • MultiVersus
  • Rumbleverse
  • SpiderHeck
  • THE KING OF FIGHTERS XV

Racing Game of the Year

  • F1 22
  • Gran Turismo 7
  • Need for Speed Unbound

Role-Playing Game of the Year

  • Citizen Sleeper
  • Elden Ring
  • Weird West
  • World of Warcraft: Dragonflight
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Sports Game of the Year

  • EA SPORTS FIFA 23
  • Mario Strikers: Battle League
  • MLB The Show 22
  • NBA 2k23
  • OlliOlli World

Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year

  • Dwarf Fortress
  • IXION
  • Marvel's Midnight Suns
  • Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator
  • Warhammer 40,000: CHaos Gate - Demonhunters

Immersive Reality Game of the Year

  • Cosmonious High
  • Moss: Book 2
  • Red Matter 2
  • Tenatcular
  • The Last Clockwinder

Outstanding Achievement for an Independent Game

  • IMMORTALITY
  • Neon White
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge
  • TUNIC
  • Vampire Survivors

Mobile Game of the Year

  • Diablo Immortal
  • Gibbon: Beyond the Trees
  • IMMORTALITY
  • MARVEL SNAP
  • Poinpy

Online Game of the Year

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  • EA SPORTS FIFA 23
  • FINAL FANTASY XIV: Endwalker
  • MARVEL SNAP
  • Rumbleverse

Outstanding Achievement in Game Design

  • Elden Ring
  • God of War Ragnarok
  • MARVEL SNAP
  • TUNIC
  • Vampire Survivors

Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction

  • Elden Ring
  • God of War Ragnarok
  • Horizon Forbidden West
  • IMMORTALITY
  • TUNIC

Game of the Year

  • Elden Ring
  • God of War Ragnarok
  • Horizon Forbidden West
  • Stray
  • Vampire Survivors