Whether you’re navigating the reaches outer space or the crowds of Austin, Texas video game marketing is having a busy week, indeed. Mario Sports Superstars launches exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS on March 23 and Super Mario Run finally becomes available for Android on the same day. In the meantime, one of Bioware’s most iconic franchises finally gets a new release.

Mass Effect: Andromeda

Bioware and EA’s space opera returns with a new adventure about humanity searching for a home. Bioware has been rather light on the marketing trail, perhaps trying to avoid the mistakes of No Man’s Sky by naming specifics about its many gameplay possibilities. Fans have been treated to a number of trailers teasing characters, story and gameplay, but most details have been kept close to the chest.

Since story is king for fans of the Mass Effect series, Bioware went to work sharing this new world without giving too much away. Leading to the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda, BioWare set up a promotional website whereby players could participate in a mock training program for the Andromeda Initiative, which included listening to recruitment pitches, reading the history of the Mass Effect universe, or watching mission briefings. Briefings included an orientation video, an introduction to several locations and dossiers on the game’s main crew members.

Bioware also teamed up with six YouTube creators from around the world to participate in an authentic astronaut training experience at the European Astronaut Centre. A sweepstakes was also held through the official Bioware Store to win a diecast replica or remote control version of Nomad ND1 vehicle, along with collector’s editions of the game and more.

The largest source of hype has originated from the players themselves as they streamed gameplay online. A Play First trial was made available through EA Access and Origin Access five days before Mass Effect: Andromeda‘s launch date, offering up to 10 hours of full gameplay to explore. Progress transfers over to the full game after purchase.

Collectors can get their hands on a limited edition Loot Crate filled with exclusive Mass Effect goodies. In a surprise cross-promotion, those playing Rock Band 4 can purchase a Normandy Bass and character outfits based on the iconic N7 armor.

SXSW And SXSW Gaming

Last week marked the 30th anniversary of SXSW in Austin, Texas—an annual get together to celebrate music, film, video games, tech and entertainment galore. Twitch and Reddit partnered together for the first time to host a livestream of the event, and there was a stage showing Reddit’s signature “Ask Me Anything” sessions, celebrity guests and more. Twitch also partnered with the SXSW Gaming Expo again as the official broadcaster of the event’s SXSW Gaming Awards and opening cosplay contest.

As with PAXSXSW Gaming offers fans the unique opportunity to meet developers, attend panels, try new games before they come out and show off their mad cosplay skills. Here are a few announcements from the show:

Guardians Of The Galaxy: A Telltale Series: Telltale hosted a one-of-a-kind premiere event in which an early version of the first episode of Guardians of the Galaxy was played at the Paramount Theater. Audience members were able to influence the story from their seats by using their mobile devices to help decide what happens on the big screen.

TellTale Guardians of the Galaxy Game Rocket Character

Sonic Forces

Sonic 2017 is now Sonic Forces, Sega revealed, along with a new trailer illustrating a bit of the fast-paced gameplay.

The event was an opportunity to honor outstanding achievement in the video game industry, and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End dominated with five awards, including Game of the Year.

The SXSW Gaming Award-Winners are:

Excellence in SFX
Battlefield 1: Electronic Arts / EA DICE

Excellence in Musical Score
DOOM: Bethesda Softworks / id Software

Excellence in Technical Achievement
Battlefield 1: Electronic Arts / EA DICE

Excellence in Visual Achievement:
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End: Sony Computer Entertainment / Naughty Dog

Excellence in Animation:
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End: Sony Computer Entertainment / Naughty Dog

Excellence in Art:
Firewatch: Panic Inc. / Campo Santo

Excellence in Convergence
Batman: The Telltale Series: Telltale Games


Excellence in Multiplayer
Overwatch: Blizzard Entertainment

Most Memorable Character
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End: Nathan Drake

Most Promising New Intellectual Property
Overwatch: Blizzard Entertainment

Most Fulfilling Community-Funded Game
Starbound: Chucklefish Games

Excellence in Gameplay
DOOM: Bethesda Softworks / id Software

Excellence in Design
Dishonored 2: Bethesda Softworks / Arkane Studios

Excellence in Narrative
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End: Sony Computer Entertainment / Naughty Dog

Matthew Crump Cultural Innovation Award
That Dragon, Cancer: Numinous Games

Gamer’s Voice Multiplayer
Arena Gods: Supertype

Gamer’s Voice Single Player
Owlboy: D-pad Studio

Fan Creation of the Year
Brutal Doom 64: Sergeant_Mark_IV

Trending Game of the Year
Overwatch: Blizzard Entertainment

ESports Game of the Year
Overwatch: Blizzard Entertainment

Tabletop Game of the Year
Arkham Horror: The Card Game: Fantasy Flight Games

Mobile Game of the Year
Pokémon GO: Niantic

Video Game of the Year
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End: Sony Computer Entertainment / Naughty Dog