News announcements from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, including Capcom being rejected for a second year, award nominees announced, and Dani Bunten inducted into the AIAS Hall of Fame.
The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) has released its list of nominees for the 10th annual AIAS Interactive Achievement Awards. Leading the nominees is Epic’s Gears of War, with 10 nominations spread across overall game of the year, console game of the year and art direction. Hit titles Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Zelda: Twilight Princess each captured eight and six nominations, respectively. The full list can be found on the AIAS website. Winners will be revealed at the D.I.C.E Summit on Thursday, February 8.
Industry legend Dani Bunten, most famous for M.U.L.E. and her groundbreaking work with online multiplayer over modem connections, will be the 10th member inducted into the hall of fame. Studios she worked at include both Electronic Arts and Microprose, where she participated in creating Modem Wars and Global Conquest. Friend and fellow hall-of-famer Sid Meier will be accepting the award in honor of Bunten, who passed away from lung cancer in 1998.
A new award will be added to the AIAS this year, as previous chairman of Nintendo of America Howard Lincoln and former president of Nintendo of America Minoru Arakawa will be the first receivers of the Lifetime Achievement Award, which will also be presented at D.I.C.E.
Capcom, Tecmo, Majesco and Eidos Interactive have not had any games nominated for an AIAS award for the third year in a row due to a rule stating that any company that is not a paid member of the academy can not become a finalist. Capcom argues that the membership fee is an unjust reason for restricting who is eligible for an award. The AIAS intends to keep the rule in place and feels the membership fee is necessary to keep the non-profit organization independent.
This year, Joseph Olin, President of the AIAS, says the rule was modified to allow any non-paying developer who was asked to be a part of the awards to represent themselves and that Capcom was the only company to deny the offer. Olin added, “We ask people to become members long before the voting process begins. Especially with a publisher like Capcom, who pretty consistently every year has one or two titles that demonstrate great gamecraft. … The Academy had contacted Capcom throughout the submissions and judging time period. And [RE4] was left on the ballot as a title for Console Game of the Year and Overall Game of the Year. It was not one of the five titles selected by the Academy peer panelists. The Academy contacted a number of publishers who were not members or members who had not submitted titles…the ONLY publisher of note that declined to participate was CAPCOM.”