The winners actually are... (image via

The winners actually are... (image via


Back in January the GDC announced their 2017 game award nominees and I went through a few of the categories, going over the games I thought would win in each as well as the ones I thought should in fact win. Yesterday the actual winners were announced, so now it is time of course to recap, see how I fared in retrospect, and give my final thoughts in the aftermath.

Best Audio

My pick: DOOM

GDC:  Inside

I haven't gotten around to playing Inside, though I am planning to (eventually) and know mostly what it's about. Having said that and being unable to comment directly on its audio design, I still think DOOM has the perfect bombastic soundtrack/audio design for what it is, and it would've been nice for it to have a nod, but I suppose you can't kill every demon all the time.  

Best Debut

My pick: Hyper Light Drifter

GDC:  Firewatch

As I mentioned in the original breakdown, Hyper Light Drifter would've been great to see recognized here, but Firewatch is an excellent choice too and a well-deserved win. I'm very much looking forward to developer Campo Santo's next game to follow in similar footsteps, and if so they look to have a bright future ahead of them.

Best Design

My pick: Dishonored 2

GDC:  Overwatch 

Spoiler: Overwatch won Game of the Year, and usually the game which does that wins design, so there it is. Again I must refrain from commenting much further since online competitive shooters aren't really my bag these days, so I'll only reiterate that I think Dishonored 2's design is top-notch and should certainly be played/appreciated. 

Innovation Award

My pick: Firewatch

GDC:  No Man’s Sky

I'm somewhat torn on this one, only because while I understand why No Man's Sky took this category, perhaps the controversy surrounding it should be kept in mind, wherein complaints regarding exactly how much "innovation" was promised vs. what the final release contained somewhat marred the game in general. Firewatch ended up snagging another just below, so in the end I don't think it's necessarily a snub.  


My pick: Uncharted 4

GDC: Firewatch

Firewatch strikes again and I'm more than fine with that. I had words to say about Uncharted 4 and specifically its narrative, but at the time of the nominee announcement I thought it was the standard party-line to receive this one, so again it's nice to see some underdog recognition, and maybe in light of this, underdog no more. 

Audience Award

My pick: Stardew Valley 

GDC:  Battlefield 1

This one I was less sure of in general, but perhaps in retrospect Battlefield is more obvious. I know Stardew has a dedicated fanbase, but ala Overwatch etc. the online competitive shooter scene is much larger in comparison. Based on all accounts, Battlefield is indeed well crafted, so good on ya DICE and your numerous fans. 

Game of the Year

My pick: Overwatch

GDC:  Overwatch

One last time...I haven't played Overwatch nor am likely ever to, I just pay attention to the trends and there was almost no way it wasn't going to get GOTY here. So-called it! My personal pick of games I did play and thought were GOTY contenders from among the nominees was Dishonored 2.

That's pretty much it from me on the GDCAs. Overall I'm satisfied with a majority of the awards and if some of the releases thus far are any indication, it is shaping up to be even an even stronger year. Once more I will elaborate on my own top picks and more when Syntax Error season 3 premiers later this month. See you then,

 -Scott Thurlow


Scott Thurlow

As far beyond monsters as they are beyond you.