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‘Journey’ takes top honors at the Game Developers Choice Awards

journeyAward shows are a dime a dozen.  Almost every industry in the world has some form of award show, from the insurance industry to fashion designers to the sports world. There are so many award shows that there is an award during an award show that honors award shows.  It’s very meta. 

There are plenty of award shows, but some carry more weight than others.  This is true of every field, and in gaming the award show held every year during GDC is among the most respected in the industry. 

The nominees are selected by game professionals, and the winners are chosen by members of the International Choice Awards Network (ICAN), a group comprised of 700 specially selected game developers. 

SchaferThe show also selects a person or people to honor with a Lifetime Achievement Award, an Ambassador Award is given to a person that has proven to be a strong advocate for the industry, and a Pioneer Award to honor someone that developed a breakthrough technology.

The awards are all selected by people that know gaming from the inside out, and their opinion carries the weight that only a peer that knows exactly how difficult the job at hand can be.  Hosted by Double Fine Production founder, Tim Schafer, this year, thatgamecompany’s downloadable masterpiece Journey was the big winner, taking home six awards.  Six.  Out of ten.  You could call it a successful evening. 

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to BioWare founders Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk, for what should be obvious reasons.  The Ambassador Award went to Chris Melissinos, who recently acted as guest curator to the Smithsonian’s exhibit “The Art of Video Games,” while the Pioneer Award went to Steve “Slug” Russell.  Russell has been credited with creating Spacewar!, the first earliest known digital video game, in 1962.

A complete list of the nominees and winners can be found below (the winners are in bold and italics).

Best Audio
Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)
Hotline Miami (Dennaton Games/Devolver Digital)
Sound Shapes (Queasy Games/Sony Computer Entertainment)
Assassin’s Creed III (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
Halo 4 (343 Industries/Microsoft Studios)

Best Debut
Humble Hearts (Dust: An Elysian Tail)
Polytron Corporation (Fez)
Giant Sparrow (The Unfinished Swan)
Subset Games (FTL: Faster Than Light)
Fireproof Games (The Room)

Best Game Design
Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)
Mark of the Ninja (Klei Entertainment/Microsoft Studios)
Spelunky (Derek Yu/Andy Hull)
Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)
XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Firaxis Games/2K Games)

Best Downloadable Game
The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)
Spelunky (Derek Yu/Andy Hull)
Trials: Evolution (RedLynx/Microsoft Studios)
Mark of the Ninja (Klei Entertainment/Microsoft Studios)
Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

Best Technology
Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
PlanetSide 2 (Sony Online Entertainment)
Halo 4 (343 Industries/Microsoft Studios)
Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Treyarch/Activision)
Assassin’s Creed III (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Best Handheld/Mobile Game
Gravity Rush (SCE Japan Studio/Sony Computer Entertainment)
Hero Academy (Robot Entertainment)
Sound Shapes (Queasy Games/Sony Computer Entertainment)
The Room (Fireproof Games)
Kid Icarus: Uprising (Sora/Nintendo)

Best Narrative
Spec Ops: The Line (Yager Entertainment/2K Games)
Mass Effect 3 (BioWare/Electronic Arts)
Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)
The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)
Virtue’s Last Reward (Chunsoft/Aksys Games)

Best Visual Arts
Borderlands 2 (Gearbox Software/2K Games)
Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)
Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)
Halo 4 (343 Industries/Microsoft Studios)

Innovation
Mark of the Ninja (Klei Entertainment/Microsoft Studios)
Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)
FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)
The Unfinished Swan (Giant Sparrow/Sony Computer Entertainment)
ZombiU (Ubisoft Montpellier/Ubisoft)

Game of the Year
Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)
The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)
Mass Effect 3 (BioWare/Electronic Arts)
XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Firaxis Games/2K Games)
Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)