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Game Developers Choice Awards: Portal nabs three awards, Skyrim takes GotY

Valve "won" the Game Developers Choice Awards, but The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim's single gong is the best of them all.

Cliff Bleszinski hosted the awards, giving a nod to last year's host - showing photos of Tim Schafer doing terrible things with his Kickstarter money.

But more importantly, the winners: Skyrim's Game of the Year Award is just one of a huge collection the Bethesda RPG has already netted. Todd Howard accepted the honour along with some of his 100 strong team, noting that Fallout 3 took the same award in its own year.

"We never imagined the reception the game would get or the success that it has had," Howard said, explaining that Bethesda simply made the game it wanted to play.

"Thank you to everyone who supported us. Thank you to everyone who's making games that inspire us," he added.

Valve may have missed the top gong, but Portal 2 won best narrative, best design, and also nabbed best audio. Valve has released the game's soundtracks for free.

Supergiant took out Best Debut for Bastion, a predictable decision which drew tremendous applause. It also nabbed best downloadable; Bleszinski introduced the award by noting that downloadables present an answer to the used game market, and also work against the '$60 midnight launch' phenomenon which he said has dominated this console generation.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception won best visuals; it's hard to argue with Naughty Dog's mastery of the tremendously finicky PlayStation 3. Battlefield 3 took best technology; it was the only straight up shooter to be nominated. Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP took out best mobile and handheld, effectively ending debate as to how the W is pronounced.

The somewhat indescribable Move game Johann Sebastian Joust won the innovation award, which is pretty fitting as it's the only game of its kind ever. Instead of an acceptance speech, De Gute Fabrik played a quick game in which players hold cards up to their heads, able to see everyone else's but not their own, and try to slap the player with the highest value in the face. The round ended in something of a draw as two team members went down in a heap of flailing limbs.

Lawyers Ken Doroshow and Paul M. Smith accepted a special award in honour of the their efforts in the US Supreme Court's decision to grant First Amendment rights to video games. Smith made a rueful reference to the difficulties of defending some of gaming's edgier content, highlighting Portal 2 as particularly difficult. Both thanked the ESA for its support.

Accepting a lifetime achievement award, industry legend Warren Spector asked that the honour be considered an acknowledgement of the collaborative process of development, naming a few dozen of the hundreds of staffers who worked on Spector's credits - Deus Ex and Epic Mickey among them. The modest creative called on the industry to embrace the strengths and uniqueness of gaming rather than try to imitate novels and movies.

"Changing players' lives is - I promise you - much more satisfying than generating massive revenue," the designer noted.

See the full list of finalists below, with winners in bold; we'll update with results as they come in.

    Best Audio
  • Bastion (Supergiant Games)
  • LittleBigPlanet 2 (Media Molecule)
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)
  • Dead Space 2 (Visceral Games)
  • Portal 2 (Valve)
    Best Debut
  • Supergiant Games (Bastion)
  • Team Bondi (L.A. Noire)
  • Re-Logic (Terraria)
  • Bioware Austin (Star Wars: The Old Republic)
  • Eidos Montreal (Deus Ex: Human Revolution)
    Best Narrative
  • Portal 2 (Valve)
  • The Witcher 2 (CD Projekt RED)
  • Bastion (Supergiant Games)
  • Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (Naughty Dog)
  • Saints Row: The Third (Volition)
    Best Visual Arts
  • Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (Naughty Dog)
  • Rayman Origins (Ubisoft Montpellier)
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)
  • El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron (Ignition Japan)
  • Battlefield 3 (DICE)
    Best Downloadable Game
  • Stacking (Double Fine)
  • From Dust (Ubisoft Montpellier)
  • Bastion (Supergiant Games)
  • Outland (Housemarque)
  • Frozen Synapse (Mode 7)
    Best Game Design
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Nintendo)
  • Portal 2 (Valve)
  • Batman: Arkham City (Rocksteady Studios)
  • Dark Souls (FromSoftware)
    Best Technology
  • Battlefield 3 (DICE)
  • L.A. Noire (Team Bondi)
  • Crysis 2 (Crytek Frankfurt/UK)
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)
  • Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (Naughty Dog)
    Best Handheld/Mobile Game
  • Tiny Tower (NimbleBit)
  • Super Mario 3D Land (Nintendo)
  • Jetpack Joyride (Halfbrick)
  • Infinity Blade II (Chair Entertainment)
  • Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP (Capy Games/Superbrothers)
    Innovation Award
  • Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure (Toys For Bob)
  • Portal 2 (Valve)
  • Bastion (Supergiant Games)
  • Johann Sebastian Joust (Die Gute Fabrik)
  • L.A. Noire (Team Bondi)
    Game of the Year
  • Batman: Arkham City (Rocksteady Studios)
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)
  • Portal 2 (Valve)
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Eidos Montreal)
  • Dark Souls (FromSoftware)
    12th Annual Special Awards
  • Lifetime Achievement Winner: Warren Spector
  • Pioneer Award Winner: Dave Theurer
  • Ambassador Award Winner: Ken Doroshow and Paul M. Smith

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