The Writers Guild of America announces nominations for its award celebrating outstanding achievement in writing for video games over the course of 2015.

The four games nominated for the Writers Guild of America Award for outstanding achievement in writing for video games during 2015 were officially announced yesterday. The winner of the hotly contested category will be presented the honour on February 13, when concurrent ceremonies are being held in New York and Los Angeles. The nominated titles are as follows:

  • Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Of the fours games nominated, The Witcher 3 looks like the frontrunner. Having already been met with hugely positive response upon its initial release, the game also managed to accrue game of the year nods from a host of different publications, and is even up for the official Games Developers Conference pick.

However, CD Projekt Red’s instant classic is not without some stiff competition. Pillars of Eternity was warmly received by the fans who backed the game on Kickstarter, and it wouldn’t be too surprising to see that success replicated with a WGA win.

It’s good to see Rise of the Tomb Raider given a nomination, given that it’s the only title of the four to fully commit to a female protagonist. The effective portrayal of Lara Croft is thanks to lead writer Rhianna Pratchett — daughter of legendary Discworld author Terry — and her team at Crystal Dynamics.

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Meanwhile, it’s perhaps a little surprising to see Syndicate score a nomination. The Assassin’s Creed franchise certainly seems to have taken a hit from the fan backlash surrounding 2014’s Unity, and as such the latest instalment in the series had something of an under-the-radar release.

If you’re wondering why your pick for best-penned title of 2015 didn’t make the cut, it may well be a result of the stringent entry requirements put forward by WGA. The rules stipulate that writers ‘must have been or must have applied to become members of the WGA Videogame Writers Caucus at the time scripts were submitted.’

It is noted that work done outside of WGA jurisdiction is still eligible for submission, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it would be on an even keel with WGA-approved competition. It’s certainly peculiar that indie standouts like Undertale, Her Story and Life is Strange went unnoticed.

The Writers Guild of America Awards were first presented in 1949, with its video game category being added in 2009. Of the seven times the honour has been awarded so far, Naughty Dog has picked up the plaudit a whopping four times; twice for the Uncharted series, and twice for The Last of Us and its DLC.