Thatgamecompany’s Journey swept the annual Game Developers Choice Awards in San Francisco tonight, taking six gongs from under the noses of its illustrious peers.
Predictably, Journey won almost everything. In case you’d forgotten, Journey took eight DICE Awards, five BAFTAs, was nominated for a Grammy, won top prize at GameCity, was a big favourite in the PSN Gamer’s Choice Awards and took three VGAs. We’re rapidly running out of awards ceremonies covering 2012 releases though, so there is some hope for someone else to decorate their trophy cabinet soon.
When it took out Game of the Year, thatgamecompany founder Jenova Chen led the whole development team – gathered together for the first time since the game wrapped – onto stage. Despite haivng had some practice, he seemed genuinely touched to receive the award, and said Jouney wouldn’t exist without all the work that came before it.
Chen said he ended up seeing a psychiatrist when the stress of Journey’s development got too severe, and that it was the fans who wrote in and offered support that kept the company going.
Tim Schafer hosted, with good humour and the occasional biting topical crack. During the ceremony, Chris Melissinos was given an ambassador award for his efforts in organising the Smithsonian’s Art of Video Games exhibition. He thanked all those who donated, voted, and attended the show.
Spacewar! creator Steve “Slug” Russell was honoured with a Pioneer Award for his ground-breaking work at MIT in 1962. His game was the original Asteroids, so it’s wonderful to see him recognised for his contribution to the arcade scene that spawned our industry. Russell was clearly overcome with emotion as he accepted his award, gracefully asking that the honour be shared with all his co-workers from those fledgling years of gaming.
Ex-EA CEO John Ricicitiello – looking relaxed in jeans and t-shirt, and describing his low-fi presentation as “JR Unplugged” – arrived to honour now-retired BioWare co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk with a with a lifetime achievement award. He said the pair’s success comes down to how well they treat their staff, offering them trust, security and integrity, and never letting their egos get in the way.
The two doctors said there is “no greater honour” than such an award from their peers at GDC, and thanked their wives, families, parents, colleagues, friends in the industry, and “extended families” of BioWare staff – saying they’re greatly looking forward to BioWare’s next release, just like everyone else.
At the end of the show, Schafer presented the first trailer for Broken Age, from “Double Fine Productions and 90,000 of its coolest friends”.
- Best Downloadable Game: Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)
- Best Narrative: The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)
- Best Visual Arts: Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)
- Best Technology: Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
- Best Game Design: Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)
- Best Handheld/Mobile Game: The Room (Fireproof Games)
- Best Audio: Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)
- Best Debut: Subset Games (FTL: Faster Than Light)
- Innovation: Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)
- Audience Award: Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)
- Game of the Year: Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)
Congratulations to all honourees, winners and nominees; see a full list of those shortlisted here.