God of War swept the big awards at the game industry’s peer honors celebration the DICE Awards, taking home nine of 23 of the awards.

The big win for Sony and its SIE Santa Monica Studio is a validation of the Japanese company’s strategy of greenlighting PlayStation 4 exclusives with huge single-player campaigns — something that very few publishers in the game industry are willing to do.

The DICE Awards is awarded by game industry peers, and it is held in Las Vegas annually by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS), the non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and recognition of the interactive arts representing its 30,000-plus membership base.

This year’s Game of the Year went to God of War, which also won the top honor at The Game Awards in December. God of War takes players on a journey as the Spartan warrior Kratos, a man living outside the shadow of the gods, who with his son Atreus, venture into the brutal Norse wilds and fight to fulfill a deeply personal quest.

“There are two paths we can go down in this industry,” said Cory Barlog, game director for God of War. “The path of cynicism or the path of greatness.” He said he was f****** proud of everyone on the team.

God of War was not my favorite title of the year, as I picked Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2. But I won’t begrudge it this victory, as I thought it was a brilliant reboot of a beloved series. The story of Kratos, the God of War, and his son Atreus is so touching. It transformed the game from a hack-‘n’-slash title to a narrative about a father and son, and that made all the difference.

Above: Cory Barlog accepts best story award at DICE Awards for God of War.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

Another multi-award winner, Celeste earned two. Other top honorees were Florence for Portable Game of the Year, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for Fighting Game of the Year, Beat Saber for Immersive Game of the Year, Mario Tennis Aces for Sports Game of the Year, Monster Hunter: World for Role-Playing Game of the Year, and Fortnite for Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay, among others.

“Tonight, at the 22nd Annual D.I.C.E. Awards, the interactive entertainment industry gathered together from all over the world to celebrate their trailblazers – the very best in video games and the teams who – with their amazing talent and vision – have created boundary-defying experiences that have captivated global audiences,” said Meggan Scavio, president of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, in a statement. “On behalf of the Academy, I congratulate not only this year’s incredible nominees, but the esteemed winners chosen by their peers.”

Roughly 700 people attended the DICE Summit this year, including the awards show. They all heard Cory Barlog say the F word while accepting the award for best game design.

In addition to the awards for the industry’s best games and creators from the previous year, the DICE Awards also celebrated Bonnie Ross, Microsoft corporate vice president and head of 343 Industries, which oversees the Halo franchise, with the special honor of being the 2019 recipient of the Academy’s Hall of Fame Award.

Ross has been integral in the vision and expansion of the Halo franchise that has continued to excite generations of fans, generating nearly $6 billion in worldwide sales to date and has transcended video games to grow into a global entertainment phenomenon. In addition, Ross is a key voice in promoting STEM and diversity efforts across the gaming industry amongst women, under-represented minorities and children.

The 22nd Annual D.I.C.E. Awards ceremony, with Greg Miller, co-founder of internet video show and podcast Kinda Funny, and Jessica Chobot of Nerdist News, who returned for their third time as co-hosts, included industry professionals who attended the event live and game fans worldwide who tuned in for the live stream.

Game of the Year

Freya and Kratos with an ailing Atreus in God of War.

Above: Freya and Kratos with an ailing Atreus in God of War.

Image Credit: Sony

God of War

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: SIE Santa Monica Studio

Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction

God of War

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: SIE Santa Monica Studio

Outstanding Achievement in Game Design

God of War

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: SIE Santa Monica Studio

Portable Game of the Year

Florence

Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Developer: Mountains

Outstanding Achievement for an Independent Game

Celeste

Publisher: Matt Makes Games
Developer: Matt Makes Games

Immersive Reality Game of the Year

Beat Saber, a VR hit

Above: Beat Saber, a VR hit

Beat Saber

Publisher: Beat Games
Developer: Beat Games

Immersive Reality Technical Achievement

Tónandi

Publisher: Magic Leap
Developer: Magic Leap and Sigur Rós

Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay

Fortnite

Publisher: Epic Games
Developer: Epic Games

Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year

Into the Breach

Publisher: Subset Games
Developer: Subset Games

Sports Game of the Year

Mario Tennis Aces

Publisher: Nintendo Co., Ltd.
Developer: Nintendo Co., Ltd. and Camelot Co. Ltd.

Role-Playing Game of the Year

Above: It’s a monster’s world.

Image Credit: GamesBeat

Monster Hunter: World

Publisher: CAPCOM
Developer: CAPCOM

Racing Game of the Year

Forza Horizon 4

Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Developer: Playground Games

Fighting Game of the Year

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Publisher: Nintendo of America
Developer: Nintendo, Sora Ltd., and BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.

Family Game of the Year

Unravel Two

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: ColdWood Interactive

Adventure Game of the Year

God of War

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: SIE Santa Monica Studio

Action Game of the Year

Matthew Hopkins remixed Lena Raine's soundtrack for B-side levels in Celeste.

Above: Matthew Hopkins remixed Lena Raine’s soundtrack for B-side levels in Celeste.

Image Credit: Matt Makes Games

Celeste

Publisher: Matt Makes Games
Developer: Matt Makes Games

Outstanding Technical Achievement

Red Dead Redemption 2

Publisher: Rockstar Games
Developer: Rockstar Games

Outstanding Achievement in Story

God of War

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: SIE Santa Monica Studio

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design

God of War

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: SIE Santa Monica Studio

Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition

The blue dwarf provides comic relief in God of War.

Above: The blue dwarf provides comic relief in God of War.

Image Credit: Sony

God of War

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: SIE Santa Monica Studio

Outstanding Achievement in Character

God of War – Kratos

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: SIE Santa Monica Studio

Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction

God of War

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: SIE Santa Monica Studio

Outstanding Achievement in Animation

Marvel’s Spider-Man

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Insomniac Games