Little Big Planet, Braid lead GDC Award noms

PS3 platformer leads Game Developers Choice Awards finalists with seven nods; puzzler takes five; Fallout 3, Left 4 Dead, MGS4 also nominated.

Harmonix cofounders Alex Rigopulos and Eran Egozyare, along with Video Games Live maestro Tommy Tallarico, are already known winners at this year's Game Developers Conference. What remains to be seen, however, is which title from 2008 will rise above the rest to receive the conference's coveted Game of the Year award.

Much GDC love for Sackboy.

Today, GDC show runners Think Services narrowed down the prospects, announcing the finalists for the ninth annual Game Developers Choice Awards. As with the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' awards, Media Molecule's PlayStation 3-exclusive Little Big Planet received the most recognition of 2008's offerings. Of the 10 total categories, the customizable platformer placed in seven of them, including Best Game Design, Best Debut, Innovation, and Game of the Year.

A number of other award-season stalwarts joined Little Big Planet as Game of the Year finalists. Bethesda Softworks' Fallout 3 and Valve's Left 4 Dead each received nominations in four categories, including Game of the Year. Along with the top category, Rockstar's money-minting Grand Theft Auto IV received two other nods. Lionhead Studios' Xbox 360-exclusive Fable II is also in the running for the Game Developers Choice Awards' top honor.

Though it was not party to the Game of the Year proceedings, Jonathan Blow's Braid placed second only to Little Big Planet in total award nominations. The puzzle-heavy platformer, which received substantial critical praise upon its release in August, garnered nominations in the Best Game Design, Best Writing, Best Debut, Innovation, and Best Downloadable Game categories.

The full roster of Game Developers Choice Awards finalists is listed below.

Game of the Year
Fable II (Lionhead Studios)
Little Big Planet (Media Molecule)
Fallout 3 (Bethesda Game Studios)
Left 4 Dead (Valve Software)
Grand Theft Auto IV (Rockstar North)

Best Game Design
Far Cry 2 (Ubisoft Montreal)
Braid (Number None)
Fallout 3 (Bethesda Game Studios)
Left 4 Dead (Valve Software)
Little Big Planet (Media Molecule)

Best Visual Art
Fallout 3 (Bethesda Game Studios)
Metal Gear Solid 4 (Kojima Productions)
Prince of Persia (Ubisoft Montreal)
Little Big Planet (Media Molecule)
Gears of War 2 (Epic Games)

Best Technology
Spore (Maxis)
Grand Theft Auto IV (Rockstar North)
Left 4 Dead (Valve Software)
Little Big Planet (Media Molecule)
Gears of War 2 (Epic Games)

Best Writing
Far Cry 2 (Ubisoft Montreal)
Braid (Number None)
Fallout 3 (Bethesda Game Studios)
Grand Theft Auto IV (Rockstar North)
Metal Gear Solid 4 (Kojima Productions)

Best Audio
Dead Space (EA Redwood Shores)
Little Big Planet (Media Molecule)
Metal Gear Solid 4 (Kojima Productions)
Left 4 Dead (Valve Software)
Gears of War 2 (Epic Games)

Best Debut
Braid (Number None)
Sins of a Solar Empire (Ironclad Games)
Little Big Planet (Media Molecule)
World of Goo (2D Boy)
Soul Bubbles (Mekensleep)

Innovation
Spore (Maxis)
World of Goo (2D Boy)
Boom Blox (EA Los Angeles)
Braid (Number None)
Little Big Planet (Media Molecule)

Best Handheld
Patapon (Pyramid/SCE Japan)
Advance Wars: Days of Ruin (Intelligent Systems)
God of War: Chains of Olympus (Ready At Dawn Studios)
Echochrome (SCE Japan)
The World Ends With You (Jupiter/Square Enix)

Best Downloadable Game
Castle Crashers (The Behemoth)
Braid (Number None)
World of Goo (2D Boy)
N+ (Metanet/Slick Entertainment)
Pixeljunk Eden (Q-Games)

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