It’s been an exciting week at GDC 2019, but the hype and anticipation don’t stop with the panels and reveals. Following behind BAFTA’s nominees reveal, GDC also has its own industry-based awards happening this weekend, albeit a little late due to the timing of the conference. While the nature of the awards, appropriately dubbed “Developers Choice”, implies industry professionals as the judges compared to other more critic or audience-based awards, the results are pretty similar, perhaps unsurprisingly so.
God of War, Sony’s 2018 standout, took home the top prize as usual, for its “mature narrative, dazzling visuals and refined combat gameplay.” The franchise sequel-reboot has, for the most part, swept the awards season, so it stands as no surprise it would be a hit within the industry as well. Indie mobile hit Florence, which saw critical recognition in other award shows, nabbed two here for developer Mountains as well, one for “Best Debut” and the other for “Best Mobile Game”.
Beat Saber, touted by many as the definitive VR experience, won the best VR prize, while its equally immersive brethren Red Dead Redemption 2 captivated millions of people around the world, earning it the “Best Technology” moniker. Indie powerhouse The Return of Obra Dinn grabbed the “Best Narrative” prize, and to round out the indie sweep, Nomada Studio’s mesmerizing platformer Gris took home the “Best Visuals” award.
For those curious about the judges, the aforementioned developers that make up this panel are part of the International Choice Awards Network (ICAN), “which is an invitation-only organization, comprised of leading game creators from all parts of the industry.”
The best games aside, GDC also recognizes the efforts of talented individuals in the industry. This year, as previously reported, the GDC Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Amy Hennig, a longtime veteran best known for her work as writer-director of the acclaimed Uncharted series.
Katie Sterns, General Manager of the GDC, summarized the stacked year with praise and aplomb. “The Game Developers Choice Awards represent the most refined games of the year, and the sheer variety of games honored tonight showed that games can still represent wholly new and unique creative visions,” she said. “We embrace and accept all these amazingly creative works, and we’re proud to recognize these nominees and winners alike for the imagination and hard work that brought them here.”
For the full list of winners, check out the official GDC website here.