Epic has announced in association with GamesBeat that they will be bringing back the Unreal Awards for E3 2016.
The Unreal Awards are (unsurprisingly) a slate of awards given to the most impressive games utilizing the Unreal engine. These awards take advantage of E3 as an opportunity to get a good luck at in-development titles utilizing one of gaming's most ubiquitous engines. Games using the Unreal engine have the opportunity to submit themselves for candidacy to a judging panel of GamesBeat editors between now and the end of E3. Epic have also released the names of some of those covering the awards candidates;
Dana Cowley (@danacowley)
Chance Ivey (@iveytron)
Daniel Kayser (@danielkayser)
Dean Takahashi (@deantak)
Giancarlo Valdez (@_boogs)
Jason Wilson (@jason_wilson)
While this is the published list of those covering the awards process, Epic stated that it will be GamesBeat handling the final judgment on June 15th. Epic is not limiting the nominees strictly to those who apply however, stating that their team will be scouring the show floor at E3 for impressive achievements.
This years awards have expanded as the environment for Unreal development has changed with the industry. Now that the Unreal engine is free to use for development, the number of potential games for this award series has skyrocketed. As well, 2016 sees Epic and Unreal focusing on the VR experience with two awards set aside for Immersion and Technical Achievement in VR.
The Unreal Awards possess a myriad categories with the kind of names you would expect from an Epic sponsored Unreal specific Awards slate. Among them;
Theme: High-End Visuals
Name: Eye Candy
This award is given to the most visually impressive Unreal Engine title at E3 2016 and rewards the usage of leading-edge graphics that push the medium of interactive entertainment forward.
Theme: New IP
Name: "The Hype is Real"
This award is given to the project with huge potential as an all-new IP. Nominees will spark interest in not just gameplay, but through original characters, worlds and the potential that is put on full display during E3 2016.
Name: "Hardware Mover"
This award is given to the game that offers the most fun experience overall. Nominees will be equally as intuitive as they are innovative while providing players with a sense of wonder and enjoyment. This is a game that will move hardware units - be it VR headsets or consoles - right off the shelf.
Name: "Killer App Killer"
This award is given to the game that features the most compelling mechanics or intuitive design. Nominees will make us consider the possibilities of interactive entertainment and inspire others to think about the medium from a new perspective.
The full list of awards can be found on the announcement page at UnrealEngine.com and you can see last year's winners at GamesBeat. Finally, this is not strictly a bragging rights award, as the winners will be given new GTX 1080 graphics cards for their trouble. It remains unclear whether each team member receives one or the studio needs to fight to the death over it.
Game Developers get awards and notoriety for their incredibly difficult job and Unreal and GamesBeat get to promote themselves around the biggest gaming event of the year. That seems like a decent, if a little transparent tradeoff to me!