Special Event

GDC 2018 | Highlights From the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards

The best games of 2017

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The Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards was an opportunity for the industry to honor the best works of 2017 during the 2018 Game Developers Conference. This is a highlight of the event from the hosts to the biggest surprises of the night and the industry leaders who were honored.

Jabs at Electronic Arts

Many of the speeches from last years Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards were heavily political in response to the 2016 Election. This year however many of the remarks were jabs at the abusive inclusion of loot boxes and microtransactions along with direct jabs at Electronic Arts for fumbling the launch of Battlefront II.

Special Episodes of Hey Ash Whatcha Playin’?

This years award show featured four special episodes of Hey Ash Whatcha Playin’? that either parodied several indie titles or mocked bad decisions in gaming.  The first one was a parody of the game Getting Over It, the second featured Ashley Burch bring the world of Baba Is You to life, the third mocked the failures of industry analysts, the final one looked into Mario questioning his existence. All four are available online now.

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The Achievement Awards

Rami Ismail was honored with the Ambassador Award for his work in making game development more accessible. Ismail has worked to establish incubators and local events at universities in an attempt to promote game development to a greater audience. He is also the co-founder of Vlambeer, the indie studio responsible for  Nuclear Throne and Ridiculous Fishin. 

Tim Schafer was honored with a Life Time Achievement Award for his long but influential career in the gaming industry. Schafer started his career with LucasArts, having worked on the Monkey Island series, He is best known for creating Grim FandangoPsychonautsBrütal Legend and Day of the Tentacle.

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Game of the Year

Everyone probably saw this coming but  The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was awarded the title of Game of the Year at the during the Game Developers Choice Award. Breath of the Wild has already been praised as one of the best games in the series while having won numerous awards, Game of the Year including from a verity of major publishers.

The Overall Winners

Independent Games Festival Award Winners

Best Student Game – Baba Is You
Excellence in Visual ArtChuchel
Excellence in AudioUurnog Uurnlimited
Nuovo Award
Excellence in Design – Baba Is You
Excellence in Narrative – Night in the Woods
alt.ctrl.GDC Award – Puppet Pandemonium
Seumas McNally Prize – Night in the Woods

Game Developers Choice Awards

Best DebutCuphead
Best AudioThe Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Innovative Award – Gorogoa
Best TechnologyHorizon Zero Dawn
Best VR – SUPERHOT VR
Best Visual Arts – Cuphead
Best Narrative – What Remains of Edith Finch
Best Design – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Best Mobile / Handheld Game
Audience AwardNieR:Automata
Game of the Year – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

This special report is part of 8Bit/Digi‘s coverage of the Game Developers Conference 2018. If you attended the event, please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Disclaimer: GDC provided 8Bit/Digi with press passes for the week.

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