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 Skyrim  wins Game of the Year at GDC Awards
Skyrim wins Game of the Year at GDC Awards
March 8, 2012 | By Staff

At the 2012 Game Developers Choice Awards on Wednesday night, game development teams of all backgrounds and sizes shared the stage to be recognized by their industry peers for jobs well done.

Hosted this year by Epic’s Gears of War lead Cliff Bleszinski, Bethesda’s epic open world RPG The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim won Game of the Year at the annual ceremony.

Skyrim director Todd Howard said, "We never imagined the reception the game would get, or the reception that it has had. This has been an amazing ride for us, not just for this game, but for the last 25-plus years at Bethesda."

Valve’s Portal 2 earned three awards: Best Narrative, Best Audio and Best Game Design. "During most of the development of Portal 2, I thought I was going to die," said Valve writer Erik Wolpaw in his acceptance speech. “So just not being dead was the only award that I thought I was going to get.”

Another multiple award winner was the young, small studio Supergiant Games for Best Downloadable Game and Best Debut for a new studio for Bastion.

The Ambassador Award went to Ken Doroshow and Paul M. Smith, the pair of lawyers who spearheaded the successful fight to have the Supreme Court recognize video games as a form of free speech.

Smith said to the game developer audience, "This group represents the game development community, and it was a real honor to represent you in the Supreme Court." He did laugh that some games’ content was "hard to explain to Supreme Court judges."

Doroshow added, "Going before the Supreme Court with Paul is like going to the Super Bowl with Eli Manning."

Warren Spector, a true video game industry veteran best known for Deus Ex and his choice-and-consequence approach to game design, earned the Lifetime Achievement Award.

In a heartfelt speech he said, “I'm often credited as the creator of this or that game, which makes me profoundly uncomfortable,” noting the highly collaborative process of game creation.

The game designer humbly named the people who he worked with on his games, such as John Romero, Richard Garriott, and Harvey Smith. He added, "Empowering players is what games are all about. ... It's something that games can do that no other media can.

"...We can do things that no other medium in history has ever been able to do. We have to focus our energy on those [unique] things."

Here is the full list of tonight’s Game Developers Choice Award winners:

Best Audio:
Portal 2 (Valve)

Best Debut:
Supergiant Games for Bastion

Best Narrative:
Portal 2 (Valve)

Best Visual Arts:
Uncharted 3 (Naughty Dog)

Best Downloadable Game:
Bastion (Supergiant)

Best Game Design
Portal 2 (Valve)

Best Technology
Battlefield 3 (DICE)

Best Mobile Handheld Game
Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery (Superbrothers and Capy)

Innovation Award
Johann Sebastian Joust (Die Gute Fabrik)

2012 Pioneer Award
Dave Theurer, creator of Missile Command, Tempest and I, Robot

Game of the Year
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda)

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Brian Taylor
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Games riddled with problems but I loved every minute I put into it. Fantastic game, not sure if I would say GOTY but congrats!

David Navarro
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"not sure if I would say GOTY"

I agree, but since there wasn't a "Game of the Decade" award going on, GOTY will have to do.

Ondrej David
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I completely agree that has been said in the article (at the GDC then). Game Design to Portal is well deserved, just as audio. Skyrim was fun and epic and the production of it must have been crazy. I'm happy for the Supergiant Games. Bastion was perfect in many aspects.

I still have some doubts about the Johann Sebastian Joust. So much hype around it. Many respected designers love it, but I just don't see any huge potential in the game... I just have to experience it, I guess.

Rutger van-baren
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Skyrim over Dark Souls? You've got to be kidding me. Dark Souls had a much better atmosphere and a much better developed battle/leveling system. I enjoyed it way more.

David Holmin
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Yeah, Dark Souls was a more focused and tightly designed game, for sure, even though it fell apart a bit in the second half.

Tomas Majernik
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I prefer Skyrim, so for me GOTY is well deserved. Dark Souls great too. ;)

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Ricardo Hernandez
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@Rutger- you read my mind. Which brings the question: Is GOTY the game that appeals to more people or could GOTY be a game that is more niche but is perhaps a better game in its niche?

Anyhow my vote would be Dark Souls.

Bob Johnson
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Isn't SkyRim the same game they have made for 10-15 years now?

Aleksander Adamkiewicz
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It really tends to be that way when you are making a series...

Mike Weldon
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Yes, and they finally got it right.

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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Probably why it didn't win Best Debut or Innovation.

Dmitriy Burtsev
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Well, it is not a perfect game, there are unfinished jobs, but i sat about 6 hours for 10 days, in front of my PC because of this game, last time it happened to me with Fallout 3.. Very good game!

Chris Melby
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There are elements of other RPGs(games) I like better than Skyrim, but as a whole it's such a truly wonderful game IMO and for once it's inline with my GOTY.

I normally don't like games that try to hit the massess -- as they're for the most part so overly streamlined and tend to have a clear biased towards the teenager/shooter crowd that doesn't always like to think, but instead just react.

With Skyrim, Bethseda has created a world that as a whole has a level of complexity I enjoy, that really manges to click with so many people of all types; no matter their preference. I love that my experience in the game can differ so much from someone else's, but yet there's still that common ground for us to relate.

Anyways, Skyrim is great game with easily one of my favorite soundtracks to date; I ordered the 4 disc set after playing the game for just a few hours when it came out.

Ricardo Hernandez
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Exceptional article that compares Dark Souls and Skyrim experience. Warning: minor Dark Souls spoilers, so don't read it you intend to play.