VGA 10, our tenth installment of the Video Game Awards, will be a celebration of the ceremony itself in addition to celebrating the games that are nominated for 2012. It's fitting, then, that the top of the field is arguably the most competitive it's been in years. Numerous big-name titles came out, and nearly all of them met their lofty critical and commercial expectations. As a result, there aren't any clear-cut front-runners in any category, and it's very possible that dark horse nominees could walk away with more Vector Monkeys than games like the wildly popular Halo 4.
This is all to say that the prized Vector Monkey is truly up for grabs this Friday, December 7th on Spike. And while it's hard to determine which games are favorites, there are some that stand above the rest of the field. Here's a list of the most nominated games.Note: a list of all awards and nominees can be found at our site at VGA.spike.com.Borderlands 2NOMINATED FOR
: Best Shooter, Best X-Box 360 Game, Best PS3 Game, Best Multi-Player Game, Best Performance by a Human Male (Dameon Clarke as Handsome Jack)The unique, quirky, and adventurous role-playing shooter came out in September to immediate critical acclaim and sales. It has a devoted following and garnered five Vector Monkey nominations, but it's up against stiff competition in nearly every category.Halo 4NOMINATED FOR
: Best Shooter, Best X-Box 360 Game, Best Multi-Player Game, Best Original Score, Best Graphics, Best Performance by a Human Female (Jen Taylor as Cortana)
It's tough being the shooter that everyone expects to be at the top of the heap, particularly when it's the latest installment in the primary franchise for the X-Box 360 (and arguably the one that kept Microsoft in the console business). Luckily, the fourth installment managed to balance meeting lofty expectations with keeping its large fanbase comfortable. It's up for six Vector Monkeys and is likely to walk away with at least one.JourneyNOMINATED FOR
: Game of the Year, Best PS3 Game, Best Downloadable Game, Best Graphics, Best Independent GameThe only independent game nominated for Game of the Year, and it may just end up walking away with it. In past years it may have been viewed as almost a token nomination, but the fact that it's not just a serious contender but a favorite in many categories says a lot about the direction of the gaming industry.The Walking Dead
NOMINATED FOR: Game of the Year, Best Downloadable Game, Best Adapted Game, Best Performance by a Human Female (Melissa Hutchison as Clementine), Best Performance by a Human Male (Dave Fennoy as Lee Everret),Naturally, a game that adapts the most popular cable television series of the moment and one of the few to meet with cirtical and commercial success is likely to get nominations for the VO acting. Yet what's really shocking is how good this game actually is. In fact, it's really good. As in it's at or near the top of a lot of year-end lists for various gaming publications and websites and is, arguably, the favorite to take home Game of the Year.Assassin's Creed IIINOMINATED FOR
: Game of the Year, Best X-Box 360 Game, Best PS3 Game, Best Action-Adventure Game, Best GraphicsThere was a healthy bit of skepticism when word came out that the third installment of the franchise would include a brand new game engine, built from scratch, as well as a concurrent present-day storyline to go along with the birth of our great nation (the United States for our pals in other countries - don't worry, you're great too, probably). All our fears dematerialized a soon as we picked up the controllers on this one, though. It's hard to imagine this one not walking away with at least a Vector Monkey or two.DishonoredNOMINATED FOR
: Game of the Year, Best X-Box 360 Game, Best PS3 Game, Best Action-Adventure Game, Best GraphicsIt's certainly a great looking game, but with a very loaded and crowded field, it's found itself a dark horse where in past years it might have even been a front-runner for Game of the Year.Max Payne 3NOMINATED FOR
: Best Shooter, Best Original Score, Best Performance by a Human Male (James McCaffrey as Max Payne)The third installment of the franchise may be the best, even with a change in developers and head writer. It helps, though, that the new developer was Rockstar and the new head writer is the guy who brought us the wickedly fun Bully and Red Dead Redemption. The result was an altogether improved experience, though again, it is up again some serious competition in Best Shooter.Call of Duty: Black Ops IINOMINATED FOR
: Best Shooter, Best Multi-Player Game, Best Original Score,Like Dishonored, Call of Duty: Black Ops II had the misfortune to come out the same year as another similar yet higher profile franchise installment. In this case, it unfairly gets compared to Halo 4. Black Ops II may actually provide a more unique and engaging experience for hardcore gamers, but did it get lost in the shuffle? The fact that it only garnered three nominations suggest it may have.PREMIERESGears of War: Judgment
NOMINATED FOR: ???
One of many games whose trailers will premiere at VGA 10 and who could make a repeat appearance next year as a nominee.
For gamers, it doesn't really get any bigger than this, people. As you all already know, the VGAs will recognize the best and brightest games of the year and unveil exclusive world premieres of some of the most anticipated upcoming titles the industry has to offer. The show premieres LIVE, coast-to-coast on Friday, December 7 at 9/8c only on Spike and Spike.com.