Game Developers Choice Awards 2018: Winners

 2018 is pristine. 

2018 is pristine. 

3/29/2017

So this year’s GDC Awards have come and gone, and the winners have been posted. I’m a little late to the game this year, as we’ve been busy at TLS with some redesigns and remodeling etc. some of which are still in progress, though it means our channel will look much prettier soon! Still, I would be remiss if I didn’t look back and compare/contrast my predictions with which games took home what awards. With that said, let’s go down the list and see once again how my K/D ratio played out.

Best Audio

My pick: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

GDC: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

A miss already, however BotW basically cleaned up at this year (spoiler!) so I’m not especially surprised it took the win here. It’s just that I was unable to play much of it to say whether or not it truly deserves to take this one, but the general consensus in the industry overall seems to deem it so. I do still recommend checking out Hellblade for how it plays with sensory perception, particularly its auditory (and visually to an extent) elements as related to its characters and overall themes.

Best Debut

My pick: Cuphead

GDC: Cuphead

There we go, a spot-on prediction. Even though I also didn’t get to play Cuphead personally, I did see a good amount of footage from it, beginning with its announcement through its release (and perhaps a glimmer of a chance it gets ported to PlayStation so I can eventually check it out.) Each time I did, it remained impressive, with its frantic gameplay, amazing art style, and stellar soundtrack (nominated also for the above category) so I would say it’s a well-earned win for StudioMDHR. Very much looking forward to what they come up with next.    

Best Design

My pick: Horizon: Zero Dawn

GDC: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Nintendo strikes again with Link and co. And if you know how these awards go by now, then you know what winning here also means. Unfortunately again, I can’t go into any further specifics on it. H:ZD as I mentioned in previous punditry, takes some tried-and-true design elements and makes them feel new, which is the main reason I chose it for this one.  

Innovation Award

My pick: What Remains of Edith Finch

GDC: Gorogoa

I campaigned quite loudly for Edith Finch to be recognized as much as possible, and the good news is it did so per the below category, just not here. The trend of not having played a number of the nominees haunts me though, as again I can’t say much about Gorogoa other than the little bit I saw of it here and there. Congrats to it though, and allow me to quickly move on to…

Best Narrative

My pick: What Remains of Edith Finch

GDC: What Remains of Edith Finch

In the only terms I can really put it…fuckin’ A! Edith Finch is easily the game this year that pushed narrative in a positive progressive direction for the medium as a whole. I would’ve had some more choice words to throw in the GDC’s direction had it not rightfully awarded this. When I wrote up my initial impressions, I hadn’t yet gotten to another nominee, Night in the Woods. Now having played both, though I still feel Edith Finch more than warrants this win, NITW should also be given a lot of credit for having a mature and thoughtful narrative that showcases what videogames can do in the current and near-future climate. It might’ve been a personal contender for Best Debut as well had I got to it beforehand. Either way, Edith Finch absolutely deserves this spot (with NITW close behind) for what it accomplished in terms of the category. Both are important titles to be praised for their use of engaging and meaningful storytelling presented with panache, Edith Finch handling it just slightly more deftly than NITW.  

Game of the Year

My pick: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild/Horizon: Zero Dawn

GDC: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

It’s now two years running that I haven’t played the GDC’s winner for GOTY (and as referenced, by extension, Design) but also somewhat mitigated in that I did predict the winner both times. The “tie” above reflects the fact that my personal pick among the titles on offer was H: ZD, but my cynical “what will actually win” was BotW. To paraphrase Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda, “I didn’t lose…it was a tie!” So there we go, another year in the bag. Since I was a bit behind this time, the Games & Gaming Culture episode outlaying our own choices has just recently aired, and you can check it out now. Until next time my friends,

-Scott Thurlow

Scott Thurlow

As far beyond monsters as they are beyond you.