- [Having been involved in organizing the voting and Advisory Committee for this year's Choice Awards, I'm delighted in how the nominees have turned out. Also - Zero Punctuation and Mega64 in one show? The universe is going to collapse.]

Valve's Portal and 2K Boston/Australia's BioShock lead the nominees for the eighth annual Game Developers Choice Awards with five nominations each, including the coveted Game of the Year title, organizers have announced.

The Game of the Year category also includes Infinity Ward's Call of Duty 4, which follows with four nominations and, with both games receiving two nominations each, Harmonix's Rock Band and Nintendo's Super Mario Galaxy.

Produced and hosted by CMP's Game Developers Conference (GDC) and presented by Gamasutra.com and Game Developer Magazine, the Game Developers Choice Awards honors the developers of the best video games released during the previous calendar year, as well as awarding key figures from the video game community.

Other multiple nominees for this year's event include such diverse and notable titles as BioWare's Mass Effect, Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed, Infinite Interactive's Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, Sony Santa Monica's God of War II, and PopCap's Peggle.

In addition, special recipients already confirmed for this year's Choice Awards, to be honored in person during the ceremony, include 'father of video games' Ralph Baer (Pioneer), IGDA executive director Jason Della Rocca (Ambassador) and Civilization creator Sid Meier (Lifetime Achievement).

Winners in all major categories will be honored at an awards show taking place Wednesday, February 20 in the Esplanade Ballroom of the Moscone Center's South Hall, during the 2008 Game Developers Conference. The Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony, held in conjunction with the Independent Games Festival (IGF), will be hosted by legendary game developer Jason Rubin, mastermind behind the smash-hit Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter franchises.

In addition, it's been revealed that specially made video entertainment for the Choice Awards will be produced by The Escapist's popular animated show Zero Punctuation, while long-time contributors Mega64 will produce exclusive video skits to accompany the Independent Games Festival Awards.

The complete list of nominees is:

Best Game Design
BioShock
Call of Duty 4
Mass Effect
Portal
Super Mario Galaxy

Best Visual Art
Assassin's Creed
Team Fortress 2
Crysis
BioShock
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

Best Technology
Halo 3
Crysis
Call of Duty 4
Portal
Assassin's Creed

Best Writing
Portal
God of War II
Mass Effect
Half-Life 2: Episode 2
BioShock

Best Audio
Call of Duty 4
Everyday Shooter
BioShock
God of War II
Mass Effect

Best Debut
Crackdown (Realtime Worlds)
flOw (ThatGameCompany)
The Witcher (CD Projekt)
Everyday Shooter (Queasy Games)
Aquaria (Bit Blot)

Innovation
Rock Band
Portal
flOw
Peggle
Mass Effect

Best Handheld Game
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Phase
Contra 4
Peggle
(for iPod)

Best Downloadable Game
Pac-Man Championship Edition
Everyday Shooter
Peggle
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords
(XBLA version)
Flow

Game of the Year
BioShock
Call of Duty 4
Portal
Rock Band
Super Mario Galaxy

"Behind every great game is a great team, and it's a core principle of ours to honor and recognize that talent on stage," said Jamil Moledina, Executive Director of the Game Developers Conference. "Given the open peer-based structure, the Game Developers Choice Awards have earned the utmost respect within the developer community and we're looking forward to the award ceremony next month to see who the 2008 recipients are. Good luck everyone!"

For more information about the Game Developers Choice Awards, visit its official website.