Developer Monolith Productions’ Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor took home the top honor of Game of the Year at the 15th annual Game Developers Choice Awards. The mobile puzzler Monument Valley from ustwo Games, in addition to being a favorite of House of Cards‘ Frank Underwood, also loomed large over the evening, taking home the most awards of any game, including Best Visual Art, Innovation and Best Handheld/Mobile Game. The ceremony was held on Wednesday, March 4 during 2015’s Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco, California.
An assortment of development talents were represented among the winners, with Destiny (Bungie) taking Best Technology, Hearthstone (Blizzard) taking Best Design, and Alien: Isolation (The Creative Assembly) taking Best Audio. Also praised were Cardboard Computer’s Kentucky Route Zero: Act III, for Best Narrative, and Stoic Studio’s The Banner Saga for Best Debut.
The ceremony also honored Elite creator David Braben with both an Audience Award for Elite: Dangerous and the Pioneer award for the original Elite‘s contribution as a groundbreaking open world space trading game. Designer and academic Brenda Romero, noted for her work on the Wizardry series of role-playing games as well as her activism, was honored with the Ambassador Award. Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of Final Fantasy, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
The 17th Annual Independent Games Festival Awards were also handed out, with the Seumas McNally Grand Prize and Excellence in Design both going to The Outer Wilds, an indie exploration game set in a condensed solar system. Inkle Studios’ 80 Days took home Best Narrative for its adventure game spin on Jules Verne. The grim war zone management sim This War of Mine received the Audience Award.