The gaming industry recently held their 12th annual Game Developers Choice Awards during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, which awarded the best games of 2011.
Game of the Year honors went to Bethesda’s RPG behemoth, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Rocksteady Studios brought tough competition with Batman: Arkham City, but Skyrim proved to be too much. DICE’s Battlefield 3 took away the Best Technology award for their Frostbite 2 engine. Other contenders were Team Bondi’s facial capture technology used in L.A. Noire and Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deceptions .
Valve took home quite a few awards themselves, with Portal 2 garnering awards for Best Narrative, Best Game Design, and Best Audio. Not too shabby for a sequel to a game that was originally an afterthought add-on for The Orange Box.
Supergiant Games brought home the Best Debut award for their dynamically-narrated action title, Bastion. It was refreshing for me to see an XBLA game garner such praise, as it shows developers everywhere that you don’t have to amass insane budgets and huge teams in order to make great games. Bastion also took home the Best Downloadable Game award as well.
The Innovation award went to Die Gute Fabrik for the game Johann Sebastian Joust, which designer Doug Wilson describes as a “no graphics, digitally-enabled folk game for 2 to 7 players that is designed for motion controllers.” While in concept it definitely seems unique, I feel like Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure or L.A. Noire did more to deserve the title.
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP took the gold for Best Handheld/Mobile Game. While I thoroughly enjoyed Capy Games’ adventure, my choice would have been Disney’s Where’s My Water?. I’ve played that game just as much as any other since its release, and I consider it one of the best dollars I’ve ever spent.
Some individuals were awarded as well; Warren Spector received the Lifetime Achievement, Dave Theurer the Pioneer Award, and both Ken Doroshow and Paul M. Smith were honored with the Ambassador Award.