The downloadable PlayStation Network title Journey received universal acclaim throughout 2012, and is a high point in a developer journey that started with IGF Student Showcase-nominated title Cloud in 2005, and spanned acclaimed titles fl0w and Flower.
Journey takes players on a trek towards a mysterious mountain across a desert, with wordless gameplay and serene natural visuals. Players can randomly encounter other travelers on the way to the temple, allowing them to share their voyage together, with a unique and touching experience changing on every playthrough.
Arkane Studios' fantastical stealth adventure game, Dishonored, won the inaugural Game Developers Choice Awards Audience Award category, after thousands of votes were cast. The critically lauded Dishonored shares the story of a magic wielding assassin clearing his name for a murder he did not commit. The narrative commitment to multiple paths and player choice endeared itself to many game players in 2012.
Elsewhere, strategic space adventure FTL: Faster than Light won Best Debut at tonight's ceremony. Developed by a two-man core team at Subset Games, the title began as a Kickstarter project and IGF China honoree prior to winning in categories at both the Game Developers Choice Awards and the Independent Games Festival tonight.
Other notable winners include the Best Narrative, awarded to Telltale Games' critically and commercially-acclaimed The Walking Dead, Best Handheld/Mobile, won by Fireproof Studios' puzzle game, The Room, and Best Technical, won by Ubisoft's Far Cry 3.
The Game Developers Choice Awards, which honor the very best games of the year, was created for and voted on by developers.Â Winners are selected by the Game Developers Choice Awards-specific International Choice Awards Network (ICAN), which is an invitation-only group, comprised of 700 leading game creators from all parts of the video game industry.
In addition this year, BioWare founders, Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk, were honored by the Choice Awards Advisory Committee with the Lifetime Achievement Award for their contributions to the game development community. The two are responsible for a catalog full of classic RPG titles that inspired a generation, including Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect and Dragon Age.
Chris Melissinos, the creator and guest curator of the Smithsonian American Art
Museumâ€˜s The Art of Video Games was presented with the Ambassador Award for his efforts on the major exhibition, which is now touring the U.S. The installation, which features playable games alongside visual depictions of dozens of notable titles, has helped further establish video games as a creative medium that deserves to stand alongside all other artforms as an equal.
Finally, Spacewar! creator Steve Russell received the Pioneer Award at the awards, more than 50 years after the multiplayer space game he co-created first ran on a mainframe computer, for helping to create a vitally important precursor to today's video game industry.
"This year we saw some amazing titles developed in the indie and downloadable game space, and the critical acclaim that titles like Journey, FTL: Faster Than Light, The Walking Dead, and The Room received could not have been more deserved," said Meggan Scavio, General Manager of the Game Developers Conference.Â "2012 saw many exciting developments in the video game industry; I can't wait to see what surprises 2013 will hold."
The full list of recipients for the 13th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards are:
- Best Downloadable Game: Journey (thatgamecompany)
- Best Narrative: The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)
- Best Visual Arts: Journey (thatgamecompany)
- Ambassador Award: Chris Melissinos
- Best Technology: Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft)
- Best Game Design: Journey (thatgamecompany)
- Best Handheld/Mobile Game: The Room (Fireproof Studios)
- Best Audio: Journey (thatgamecompany)
- Pioneer Award: Steve Russell
- Best Debut: FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)
- Innovation Award: Journey (thatgamecompany)
- Audience Choice Award: Dishonored(Arkane Studios)
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk
- Game of the Year: Journey (thatgamecompany)