March 8, 2012 at 2:08 PM ET
At the current Game Developers Conference, top honors were given to one of 2011's biggest and most successful blockbusters, alongside one of the most eagerly anticipated indie offerings in recent memory.
Last night in San Francisco, both the Game Developers Choice Awards and the Independent Games Festival awards, a yearly tradition at the ceremonies, recognized the achievements of the mainstream and independent game industries. The Game Developers Choice Awards' GOTY, its highest honor, was "Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim," a familiar title to many.
Meanwhile, the second biggest prize, the Innovation Award, went to "Johann Sebastian Joust." Virtually unknown to the public at large, it is a strong favorite among industry professionals. The multiplayer game utilizes PlayStation Move controllers, but features no graphics whatsoever.
The following video from Gamespot can help fill in the blanks:
Other Game Developers Choice Awards winners and categories include: "Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP" for Best Mobile Game, "Battlefield 3" for Best Technology, "Bastion" for Best Downloadable Game, "Uncharted 3" for Best Visual Arts, and Supergiant Games as Best Debut Studio. "Portal 2" was the evening's biggest winner, nabbing Best Design, Best Narrative, and Best Audio.
The Independent Games Festival shared the same stage. The Seumas McNally Grand Prize, the IGF’s top honor, went to “Fez.” In addition to be being featured in the previously reported "Indie Game: The Movie," the game has been a source of controversy; “Fez: was nominated for the IGF in 2008 as well, where it won the Excellence In Visual Arts award.
Some feel it’s unfair that a game can be submitted multiple times. The Independent Games Festival as a whole has recently been under heavy scrutiny. Rock Paper Shotgun explored it, and included statements made by IGF Chairman Brandon Boyer, who stated 2012 is a "transitional year" and promises fixes and adjustments are forthcoming.
"Fez" is scheduled for release later this year:
The second biggest honor, the Nuovo Award, went to "Storyteller." The rest of the IGF includes "Frozen Synapse" as the recipient of the Audience Award, "Beak Sneak Bandit" for Best Mobile Game, "Anitchamber" for Technical Excellence, "Spelunky" for Excellence in Design, "Botanicula," for Excellence in Audio, "Dear Esther" for Excellence in Visual Art, and "Way" received The Student Game Award.
The Microsoft-sponsored XBLA Prize was a new category this year, which includes a first-party publishing deal for Xbox Live Arcade, Windows Phone, and the PC. The winner was “Super T.I.M.E. Force,” which is the latest from Capy Games, winner of this year's Best Mobile Game category for the Game Developers Choice Awards.
Matthew Hawkins is an NYC-based game journalist who has also written for EGM, GameSetWatch, Gamasutra, Giant Robot, and numerous others. He also self-publishes his own game culture zine, is part of Attract Mode, and co-hosts The Fangamer Podcast. You can keep tabs on him via Twitter, or his personal home-base, FORT90.com.