SAN FRANCISCO — Bethesda’s epic fantasy adventure, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, took the coveted Game of the Year award, capping off the 12th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards in San Francisco this evening.
Elsewhere in the ceremony, the evening’s multiple award winners were Valve Corporation’s cunning, wittily written puzzle adventure Portal 2, which received three awards, for Best Game Design, Narrative and Audio. Critically acclaimed action-RPG Bastion from indie developer Supergiant Games, a studio made up of only seven talented people, also took home two Choice Awards, those for Best Debut and Best Downloadable Game.
EA DICE pushed the graphical limit last year with the debut of their Frostbite 2 engine used in Battlefield 3, earning them the Best Technology award, while Naughty Dog’s beautiful action-adventure title Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (below) snagged the Best Visual Arts award.
Superbrothers and Capybara Games revitalized the adventure genre and brought it to the age of mobile devices with Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, which earned the Best Handheld/Mobile Game award.
Finally, the Innovation Award went to Johann Sebastian Joust, Die Gute Fabrik’s no-graphics, physical party game designed for PlayStation Move motion controllers where players must jostle their opponent’s controller while protecting their own. The tempo of the background music determines the threshold of movement in each controller, making for an intense jousting experience like no other game before.
The Game Developers Choice Awards, which honor the very best games of the year, was created for and voted on by developers. 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, Warren Spector, Deus Ex game director and producer and Disney Epic Mickey creator, was honored by the Choice Awards Advisory Committee with the Lifetime Achievement Award, for his contributions to the art and science of games with a career spanning nearly 30 years.
The ceremony also presented the Ambassador Award to Ken Doroshow and Paul M. Smith, the legal team which represented the game industry in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that determined content-based restrictions on games are unconstitutional. This important ruling brought First Amendment rights to those who publish, develop, create and sell video games, helping to protect the future of video games as an open creative medium.
Finally, the 2012 Pioneer Award was given to Dave Theurer, Atari pioneer and creator of iconic arcade games such as 1980’s Missile Command, seminal vector-based shooter, Tempest and the first commercial video game to use filled 3D polygonal graphics, I, Robot, as well as key early game development tool DeBabelizer.