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GDC 2011:  Red Dead Redemption  Tops Game Developers Choice Awards
GDC 2011: Red Dead Redemption Tops Game Developers Choice Awards
March 3, 2011 | By Kyle Orland

March 3, 2011 | By Kyle Orland
More: Console/PC, GDC

Rockstar Games' Red Dead Redemption was the big winner at tonight's Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony, taking home four awards including one for Game of the Year.

The multi-million selling, critically acclaimed wild west title also won awards for audio, game design and technology at the awards ceremony, though it lost out to Mass Effect 2 in the writing category.

Indie mega-hit Minecraft was another big winner of the night, earning three categories: Best Debut Game, Best Downloadable Game and the Innovation Award. The game had previously won two awards, including the Seumas McNally Grand Prize, in the evening's Independent Games Festival Awards.

“Being nominated in both the IGF and the GDCA shows just how fast Minecraft has grown,” developer Markus “Notch” Perrson said in accepting the award for Best Debut Game. “Apparently we are a real game now, so go indies.”

The night's other awards went to Playdead Studios' dark puzzle platformer Limbo for Best Visual Art and Chillingo's physics-based puzzler Cut the Rope for Best Handheld Game.

This year's Ambassador Award went to Game Developers Conference Associates Program founders Tim Brengle and Ian Mackenzie, for their work providing free conference attendance to thousands of students and independent developers who volunteer their services at the show.

Legendary Sega developer Yu Suzuki won the night's Pioneer Award for his work on titles including Outrun, Space Harrier, and, more recently, the Shenmue series.

“In my 28 years of making games I have always tried to live every day as a pioneer, so I'd like to say it's an honor to be, officially, a pioneer,” he said in accepting the honor.

EA founder and current Digital Chocolate CEO Trip Hawkins was on hand to present a Lifetime Achievement Award to Populous and Fable designer Peter Molyneux, who used his acceptance speech to apologize to all his co-workers for an annoying habit of his.

“There are people that I have worked with that have put up with my incredibly insane habit of designing games [during] press interviews... by putting gimmicks in and just being an incredibly difficult person to work with,” he said by way of apology.

Third-time Choice awards host and Double Fine founder Tim Schafer jokingly praised the awards as a valuable alternative to those that recognize athleticism, peace promotion or acting, because they can be won “while leading a sedentary lifestyle, promoting violence and paying no attention whatsoever to personal appearance.”

Schafer also used the evening's festivities to debut a new trailer for Trenched, a Double Fine-created Xbox Live Arcade mech combat game that lets you “turn no man's land into real man's land,” according to the tagline.

The Game Developers Choice Awards, which honor the very best games of the year, were created for developers and voted on by developers. The finalists were chosen via a combination of open game industry nominations and the votes of the leading creators in the Choice Awards Advisory Committee.

Best Audio:
Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar Games)

Best Debut Game:
Minecraft (Mojang)

Best Writing:
Mass Effect 2 (BioWare)

Best Game Design:
Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar Games)

Best Downloadable Game:
Minecraft (Mojang)

Best Visual Art:
Limbo (Playdead Studios)

Best Technology:
Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar Games)

Best Handheld Game:
Cut the Rope (Chillingo)

Innovation Award:
Minecraft (Mojang)

Game of the Year:
Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar Games)

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Isaiah Taylor
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Mass Effect 2 for best writing? Red Dead for best tech and game design? I guess I missed something.

Nathan Zufelt
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I really enjoyed Red Dead. It was the first GTA style open world game that I actually completely finished. Great setting and mechanics and filled with unique moments that kept me entertained. Well deserved guys.

Isaiah Taylor
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-- I'm wondering what their ratio of people who played versus people who finished.

-- I 'get' the game design...though I think games that took bigger chances were snubbed, but Best Tech for a game that has very pronounced bugs to this day? Wondering what the criteria is for Best Technology for GDC.

Raymond Arnold
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Having sat through both the IGF and Game Developer choice awards, I must say I eventually got sick of Minecraft winning. It's a great game, but I think Dance Central deserved to win the Innovation award, seeing as it was actually doing something that had literally never been done before.

Geoffrey Rowland
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I think most of the awards are deserved, except for Minecraft in innovation - afterall, it's very much based off of Infiniminer.

I'm not sure what game I'd choose to win that category however.

Morgan Ramsay
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Minecraft plays a lot like the earliest prototypes of Second Life. The ultimate difference is that one was a million-dollar idea and the other was a billion-dollar idea.

Robert Bevill
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As good as Red Dead Redemption is, it really didn't do all that much besides put GTA-style gameplay in a wild west setting.

My biggest problems with award shows is that only the blockbuster titles tend to get attention. DS and PSP games are regularly shafted, no matter what they do. I found myself enjoying downloadable titles best last year, especially Super Meat Boy.

Tomi Hanzek
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You'd think only 5 games were released last year. What about Heavy Rain? God of War 3? Donkey Kong Country Returns? Amnesia: The Dark Descent? Surely Super Mario Galaxy 2, the highest rated game of last year, deserves some mention?

Nah, it's all Red Dead Redemption, all the time.