GDC 07: Gears rolls Developers Choice Awards

Epic Games' Xbox 360 shooter takes home four statuettes at GDC-related ceremony; Okami, Zelda, Wii Sports, and Guitar Hero II also win.

SAN FRANCISCO--Taking a big risk, the organizers of the 2007 Game Developers Choice Awards gave emcee duties to Tim Schafer, the head of Psychonaut-maker DoubleFine Studios. The designer wasted no time in displaying his cutting-edge humor. "Since the first game caveman began developing the first caveman video game 10 years ago," he began, sparking uproarious laughter. "Most designers, like me, got into it for the drugs, the women, and the glamour."

Shiggy gets his props.

The night's first major award went to The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for Best Writing. The next honor was the Maverick Award, which is doled out each year to those who, in the words of presenter GameLab CEO Eric Zimmerman, "kick us in the b****." This year, the winner of the testicular-fortitude-fueled honor was Manifesto Games founder Greg Costikyan, a veteran of paper-and-pencil, PC, and mobile development. Calling games "a divine product of the human soul," he went on to praise the medium as a way to introduce the masses to "interactive systems" like physics and the environment.

Costikyan rouses the rabble.

Then, as Schafer not-so-subtly transitioned, it was time for the games that "sound best"--the best audio awards. Surprising no one, Guitar Hero II rocked away with the prize, the second year in a row for a GH product.

Schafer proved himself a character again onstage--making a Napoleon Dynamite-esque riff about how a "pantheon" is a cross between a "panther" and a "lion"--before presenting the year's character design award to Okami. However, the game's crack Capcom Japanese design team was nowhere to be seen, leaving a sheepish American stand-in to accept the award and flee the stage posthaste.

Then, Schafer stayed true to his roots by saying he had planned a risqué performance art number called "Brown Rage on the Stage," refering to Okami's initially drab color palette. "The janitors had a problem with it, though," he quipped. Then came one of the evening's most hilarious moments via a video skit from Mega64.

In the taped segment, two members of the game-centric comedy troupe dressed as Mario and Luigi and harassed pedestrians in front of the Moscone Convention Center. They then turned a corner and were confronted by Mario Creator Shigeru Miyamoto himself. The development legend played along, staring coldly at the Mega64 comedians, making them scurry. As Miyamoto did so, another actor dressed as the Legend of Zelda hero, Link, popped his head out of a door behind the game giant before also shrinking into the shadows.

Next up was the Penguin Award, which was handed out to a game designer of far greater stature than any flightless bird (excluding ostriches). The honoree in question was Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov, who received only minimal moneys from the game he created in 1985 in the then-Soviet Union. However, the 51-year-old designer received rich applause tonight, getting a minutes-long standing ovation from nearly every member of the adoring crowd.

"In Soviet Union, Tetris rotates you!"

After a bit of the "nerds shall inherent the Earth" boilerplate, Schafer handed out the Best Technology award to GameSpot's 2006 Game of the Year, Epic Games' Gears of War. The host then joked about paying a kid to play the Game of the Year nominee The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for the Xbox 360 achievements. Then he wisecracked further. "Speaking of outsourcing abroad, here are the nominees for Best Visual Arts," he told a giggling throng before handing Gears of War another statuette.

But when it comes to big guns at the Game Developers' Choice Awards, they don't come any bigger than Shigeru Miyamoto. The legendary designer of The Legend of Zelda capped off the night's proceedings by accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award for his three decades in game design. In case anyone forgot, a clip reel showcased Miyamoto's resume of seminal hits, ranging from the original Donkey Kong to his most recent design achievements, Wii Sports and the Wii console hardware itself.

After a brief introduction by Richard "Lord British" Garriott, Miyamoto took the stage to a sea of thunderclaps. Despite his impressive record, though, Miyamoto was humble. "I have done of a lot of embarrassing things." He said via a translator. "And sometimes getting awards like this makes me feel old and makes me think about retiring...However, I hope to continue doing this for a very long time. I've always had a certain fondness for America, for its fondness for taking on new challenges, and I look forward to taking them on together."

Last but certainly not least, the Game of the Year honor went to Gears of War. The end was short but not so sweet. To accept the trophy, Epic Games' Cliff Bleszinski leapt onto the stage, summing up his feelings with typically succinct profanity. "Holy S***!" he exclaimed.

The full list of winners is as follows:

Game of the Year
***WINNER***Gears of War (Epic Games / Microsoft Game Studios)
Cliff Bleszinski, Michael Capps, Rod Fergusson

Okami (Clover Studio / Capcom Entertainment)
Atsushi Inaba, Hideki Kamiya

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Bethesda Game Studios / 2K Games/Bethesda Softworks)
Todd Howard

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Nintendo EAD / Nintendo)
Eiji Aonuma, Satoru Iwata, Shigeru Miyamoto

Wii Sports (Nintendo)
Satoru Iwata, Shigeru Miyamoto, Keizo Ohta, Takayuki Shimamura, Yoshiaki Yamashita

Audio
Company of Heroes (Relic Entertainment / THQ)
Crispin Hands, John Johnson, Jennifer Lewis, John Tennant

DEFCON: Everybody Dies (Introversion Software)
Alistair Lindsay, Michael Maidment

***WINNER***Guitar Hero II (Harmonix Music Systems / RedOctane)
Jeff Allen, Eric Brosius, Izzy Maxwell

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend (Crystal Dynamics / Eidos Interactive)
Troels Folmann, Karl Gallagher, Mike Peaslee, Gregg Stephens

LocoRoco (Sony Computer Entertainment)
Kemmei Adachi, Tomonobu Kikuchi, Kouji Niikura, Nobuyuki Shimizu

Character Design
Final Fantasy XII (Square Enix)
Hideo Minaba, Hiroshi Minagawa, Akihiko Yoshida

LocoRoco (Sony Computer Entertainment)
Tsutomu Kouno, Keigo Tsuchiya

***WINNER***Okami (Clover Studio / Capcom Entertainment)
Mari Shimazaki, Sawaki Takeyasu, Kenichirou Yoshimura

Rayman Raving Rabbids (Ubisoft Montpellier Studio / Ubisoft Entertainment)
Michel Ancel, Charles Beirnaert, Hubert Chevillard, Florent Sacre

Viva Piñata (Rare / Microsoft Game Studios)
Ryan Stevenson

Game Design
Bully (Rockstar Vancouver / Rockstar Games)
Michael Skupa

Okami (Clover Studio / Capcom Entertainment)
Hideki Kamiya

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Bethesda Game Studios / 2K Games/Bethesda Softworks)
Todd Howard

Viva Piñata (Rare / Microsoft Game Studios)
Justin Cook, Gregg Mayles

***WINNER***Wii Sports (Nintendo)
Keizo Ohta, Takayuki Shimamura, Yoshiaki Yamashita

Technology
Company of Heroes (Relic Entertainment / THQ)
Drew Dunlop, Shelby Hubick, David Swinerd, Ian Thomson

Dead Rising (Capcom Entertainment)
Shinya Ikuta, Tomofumi Ishida, Yasuhide Sawada, Tomohiro Ueda

***WINNER***Gears of War (Epic Games / Microsoft Game Studios)
Michael Capps, Ray Davis, Tim Sweeney, Daniel Vogel

Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis (Rockstar San Diego / Rockstar Games)
Ted Carson, Eugene Foss, Wil Paredes, Steve Reed

Wii Sports (Nintendo)
Takuhiro Dohta, Takeshi Miyamoto, Keizo Ohta, Kenta Sato

Visual Arts
Final Fantasy XII (Square Enix)
Isamu Kamikokuryo, Hideo Minaba, Akihiko Yoshida

***WINNER***Gears of War (Epic Games / Microsoft Game Studios)
Jerry O'Flaherty, Chris Perna

Okami (Clover Studio / Capcom Entertainment)
Naoki Katakai, Kenichirou Yoshimura

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Bethesda Game Studios / 2K Games/Bethesda Softworks)
Matthew Carofano, Christiane Meister, Istvan Pely

Viva Piñata (Rare / Microsoft Game Studios)
Ed Bryan, Ryan Stevenson

Writing
Bully (Rockstar Vancouver / Rockstar Games)
Dan Houser, Jacob Krarup

Dreamfall: The Longest Journey (Funcom / Aspyr Media)
Dag Scheve, Ragnar Tørnquist

Sam & Max Episode 1: Culture Shock (Telltale Games / GameTap)
Brendan Ferguson, Dave Grossman, Steve Purcell

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Bethesda Game Studios / 2K Games/Bethesda Softworks)
Ken Rolston

***WINNER***The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Nintendo EAD / Nintendo)
Kyogoku Aya, Nate Bihldorff, Mitsuhiro Takano

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Discussion

214 comments
Mekky_9892
Mekky_9892

@hurrikayn You can eat your words now...

Pumpkin-Head
Pumpkin-Head

Yay! for Wii, Ps2, 360 .. Wait, no PS3 =P And Horray for the best games ever okami ^^

Cyke
Cyke

I attended the event. It was extremely awesome to be there. I liked the fact that Twilight Princess didn't win the award simply because Mr. Miyamoto was there.

Jason90210
Jason90210

So many Oblivion nominations, so few (0) Oblivion wins :P

mikethemonkey
mikethemonkey

Very lonely place for PS3 fans.................................

YoZbaNaToR
YoZbaNaToR

So Clover Studios is gone... But that doesn't mean that they didn't develope one HECK of a game... Okami is Fascinating, and all of you know that...

Mikeh_515
Mikeh_515

Game of the year goes to....Gears of War. WHY!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Don't you mean The Legend of Zelda.

Drkr_Zen
Drkr_Zen

It's still a property owned by Capcom, though. Anybody knows that.. so, if they wanted to, I'm sure they could port it.. but without Clover doing so, it'd most likely be a crappy port and/or have cheap sequels. Hopefully the newly formed Seed Studios will put Capcom to shame for closing them down as Clover.

hurrikayn
hurrikayn

There not going to do it because clover studios is gone, so you suck hahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah. Ya'll know PS3 RULES!!!!!!!!!!!

Mindphaser
Mindphaser

SOMEONE PORT OKAMI TO WII OR 360 ALREADY!!!!!!!

Np_Pro
Np_Pro

Zelda should have won more...

Mr_soda_guy
Mr_soda_guy

laughed my ass off with the mario skit tat had miyamoto in it :)

Planeforger
Planeforger

Anyone else get Max's "-messing with the cuecards" joke? No? ...meh. :D

Shad_Zero
Shad_Zero

gears of war....lol...it's won lots of times...

Drkr_Zen
Drkr_Zen

Well, I'm certainly glad Okami snagged an award.. that was truly an awesome game. Also glad to see LoZ: Twilight Princess got the writing award.. and not Gears of War, too. It's sort of a pity, though, in my opinion (of course), that Gears of War got GotY. There were 3 other titles I thought deserved it far more.. those being Twilight Princess, Okami and FFXII, but that's just me.

7ranz666
7ranz666

YAY!! Shigeru Myamoto YAY!! It just makes me wanna go and create! Lets do it!

senrab7
senrab7

hey how do i get lengend of ares to work

solidgearmetal
solidgearmetal

They might as well call it the Microsoft Convention. God dang, people are all up Bill Gates poo shoot.

mangepenge
mangepenge

i recommend tetris for the best looking game

CrimzonTide
CrimzonTide

The fact Gears beat Oblivion in Visual Arts is outrageous. Gears has 3 different colors, and it's repetitve graphics are highly overrated.

hikari33
hikari33

Yay okami won the character design!!!!!!!!!!!cant believe it beat Gears

King9999
King9999

Pajitnov got robbed when he made Tetris. He would've been a millionaire many times over.

cosmothehound
cosmothehound

oblivion does not win, because scaled leveling ruined the game. still fun though.

m4st3r_link
m4st3r_link

I really apreciated what the GoW developers said when they received the Game of The Year Award (by the way, congratulations), there are many great games out there but we cannot forget the old ones that inspired new games!! Congrats to all developers and games!!!!!!!!

Homes225
Homes225

Oblivion is a masterpiece in its own way. Congrats to all the games that won awards :)

Superzone
Superzone

Twilight Princess wins best writing! YAY! Congrats to Gears of War, too.

MDDichard07
MDDichard07

how does oblivion not win any awards? makes no sense

taz9024
taz9024

Its just sad that okami hasn't really gotten the reconition that it deserved. It really is a good game that everyone should play. But at least now its getting some atention.

JustQuest
JustQuest

I know that DreamFall is my Favorite I really enjoyed that game I wonder what happen.

Eararaldor
Eararaldor

I'm surprised that Okami was mentioned. It was in Japan years ago so should had been given an award years ago.....

juangomezhijo
juangomezhijo

it's impressive to watch the ps2 with nominations and awards even with next gen consoles already launched. But i'm disappointed about the ps3 not even a game sony really needs to recover because that okami , FF12 and gutar horoes were better game that resistance and the rest of the ps3 games that's not suppose to happen

ibiko
ibiko

well, I haven't played some of these games, but Okami deserves the Character design awards...

sugreev2005-06
sugreev2005-06

Have these guys really played Bully or Okami...?

houtx1836
houtx1836

everytime I turn around there's a reward show for something - don't people ever get tired of giving themselves awards ? :P

SpecterX3
SpecterX3

I was looking through here and I noticed something odd. Loco Roco for character design? Aren't they just different colored blobs? What's up with that.

wormsrox
wormsrox

Dreamfall is better than most of the games that won, great Story! I can't wait for the 3rd part. GOW Great Graphics. Oblivion deserves more but at least it was nominated on every category.. Viva Piñata??? Sometimes i just don't understand

gamecube120
gamecube120

"I bet 50% of the voters didn't even play Dreamfall." That's exactly why games like Gears of War get so many votes.

Armalite1016
Armalite1016

looking at these awards reminds me of peoples choice awards (yes, my IQ did in fact drop after watching that show, just in case you are wondering) they remind me of that show in that they give all the awards to games that are either A. Over rated, or B. Over rated. Proof of this lies in the fact of how many awards Gears of War recieved.

Armalite1016
Armalite1016

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

manada
manada

True to dat man, Dreamfall is a brilliant game.

Yazu13
Yazu13

I really don't think Gears of War deserved Game of the Year.

ssh83
ssh83

LOL Zelda won over Dreamfall for best writing. HAHAHAHAHAHA. I bet 50% of the voters didn't even play Dreamfall.

gmayronne
gmayronne

okay i love gears of war, but enough is enough, there ARE better games out there and this one seems to get over-glorified in almost every way. gears is a great game but give credit where credit is due (not saying gears dosent deserve alot, but come on, oblivion and ff12 are easily some of the best games this year)

johnnyb47
johnnyb47

I won't feel bad for Oblivion, since it's been pretty much of a letdown for me, but I still don't understand how Gears of War can get away with a Game of the Year award, since this game is kind of like real life: the plot sucks, but the graphics are awesome. Not to mention that it's a rail shooter.

The_AI
The_AI

*Sigh* Oblivion AND FFXII, two of the best games of last year, walk away WITH ABSOLUTELY NO AWARD. Oblivion lost to ZELDA (I love Zelda, but there are better stories in a game) in writing and FFXII didn't get a nom in that category. FFXII didn't even get a GOTY nom, which it deserved more than freaking Wii Sports. Oh well, it's GDC. RE4 didn't get a nom last year and God of War lost to Shadow of the Colossus.