GDC 2009: Fallout 3, LBP win big at GDCAs, Modern Warfare 2 teased

[UPDATE] Media Molecule walks away with the most Game Developers Choice Awards, but Bethesda's postapocalyptic RPG takes the top prize; Infinity Ward's next game due Nov. 10; full video coverage inside.

SAN FRANCISCO--The 2009 Game Developers Conference is now in full swing. Besides the opening of the show floor, the first full day of the event kicked off with a keynote address by Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. In it, the executive announced that the Wii had shipped 50 million units, and he outlined the thought process of its creator, Shigeru Miyamoto. Also unveiled was a revamped SD-card storage system for the console, as well as a new Legend of Zelda game for the DS.

Little Big Planet won a ton of hardware from other award shows, but how will it fare tonight?

Finally, after a day of illuminating sessions by various game-development glitterati, thousands of GDC attendees began gathering for the 9th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards. Held in the Moscone Center's cavernous Esplanade Hall, the awards will see some of the year's top developers vie for recognition from their peers.

Media Molecule's Little Big Planet received 10 nominations in all, with Bethesda Softworks' Fallout 3 and Valve's Left 4 Dead each getting four. Rockstar's money-minting Grand Theft Auto IV received three, including Game of the Year, with Lionhead Studios' Xbox 360-exclusive Fable II also in the running for the top honor.

In addition to the GDCAs, the evening will see the winners of the Independent Games Festival crowned by host Tim Schafer. Harmonix's Alex Rigopulos and Eran Egozy will receive pioneer awards, and Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima will be given a Lifetime Achievement Award.

[6:32] To the sounds of the blaring Justice song from GTAIV, the IGF kicks off.

[6:33] It was preceded by something like a small prison chow riot as journalists and attendees slipped into the VIP area in the front and threw elbows for plates of cold cuts and free drinks.

[6:34] Brief introduction features the mandatory corporate sponsor shout-outs. Mountain Dew is bankrolling indie gaming? It's garage gaming...to the extreme.

[6:35] Enter Andy Schatz of Pocket Watch Games, rocking a tuxedo.

[6:37] He's parodying Barack Obama now, saying "I have hope in the face of 90 percent piracy for World of Goo! I see hope in the face of GameStop selling used games without so much as a thank you!" A smattering of laughter greets the effort.

[6:38] First winner of the night is student showcase winner Tag: The Power of Paint.

[6:39] No genre mentioned, but the crowd goes bananas. The students thanked their game testers--that might be a first.

[6:40] Schatz is back, lamenting the fact that Rumble Massage didn't qualify. Next award up is for technical excellence.

[6:44] Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Cortex Command. No footage of the game, so those unfamiliar with it will have to take the IGF's word for it.

[6:45] Another fusillade of banging techno. Schatz is back, lamenting all the weirdos at the summit.

[6:46] Cue the first Mega64 clip of the night, this one being a music-video parody.

[6:48] Excellence in visual art next. That prize goes to Machinarium, a platformer with a Brothers Quay-esque visual style.

[6:49] Oh, they're Czech. So it's more like Jan Svankmajer.

[6:52] Musaic Box locks down the Excellence in Game Design award. Developer claims to be first Russian IGF winner. "In Soviet Russia, game designs you!"

[6:54] Mobile game awards next. Zen Bound takes top iPhone game, Field Runners best overall mobile game.

[6:57] Back to IGF now, with the audio prize going to BrainPipe. Man, PixelJunk Eden is shut out, going 0-for-3 on its nominations.

[6:57] One of the designers resembles a reanimated Jerry Garcia.

[6:58] Innovation award is next. "These are to games what punk is to pop," says Schatz.

[7:00] These games certainly do push the edge. Some of them make Noby Noby Boy look like Petz.

[7:01] Minimalist game Between wins the award.

[7:07] Audience award for 2009 goes to Cortex Command.

[7:09] Designer takes off his shirt after losing a bet--guy is ripped.

[7:10] Seamus McNally award is next--the main event of the IGF.

[7:13] Winner is Blueberry Garden, the designer of which looks like the skinnier, nerdier brother of the lead singer of Wolfmother. He screams for effect, temporarily overloading the microphone. Not quite "The Joker and the Thief," but A for effort.

[7:15] That's it for the IGF! The lights go down, and up comes the Double Fine logo. And the crowd goes wild.

[7:16] Tim Schafer's host minigame is played on the screen. His primitive avatar searches a room vainly for jokes.

[7:17] "Leave room with 1 joke?" OK. "You found 1 joke out of 22."

[7:21] Now the GDCAs begin in earnest, with GDC event director Megan Scavio and Game Developer editor Simon Carless introducing...what's this? A sneak peak at Infinity Ward's next game at the end of the show?

[7:21] Enter the Schafer!

[7:21] Schafer jokes about how he got the gig--he was drugged by Jason Rubin, who also took a kidney for a souvenir.

[7:22] No muss, no fuss--the awards start coming ASAP. First up is the best debut game.

[7:22] The minute "Braid" is spoken, the crowd goes ballistic.

[7:22] ...until Little Big Planet comes up, anyway.

[7:23] World of Goo and Sins of a Solar Empire also nominated, both get solid applause.

[7:24] Soul Bubbles also nominated--the crowd seemed a bit confused on that one.

[7:24] LBP FTW! Mark Healey takes the stage and immediately curses out the jury. "Best debut game?! I've been doing this s*** for 20 years!"

[7:25] First nominee for GOTY: Fable II from Lionhead, published by Microsoft. Sadly, no pub games are shown.

[7:27] Schafer rematerializes. "The other day I was swimming, and a man waved at me and yelled but I couldn't hear him. And then a shark came and bit off my arm. That's when I learned the importance of audio."

[7:28] Noms are: Dead Space, LBP, MGS4, Left 4 Dead, and Gears of War 2. All get solid applause, but Dead Space appears to be the audience favorite.

[7:28] And it is! Dead Space takes the audio prize.

[7:30] "This was truly an audio designer's dream game," says the game's audio designer. Another thanks the designers in the audience for all of the great games in 2008.

[7:31] Schafer: "Today we call them game designers. In days of yore, we would have called them wizards, who would've been promptly stoned to death by the local programmers."

[7:32] Nominees: Far Cry 2, Braid, Fallout 3, Left 4 Dead, and Little Big Planet.

[7:33] To the victor go the spoils. And at this point, I would already call Little Big Planet a little spoiled. Healey retakes the stage to get his second prize of the night.

[7:34] Schafer returns: "Downloadable games come into your house through the walls, just like ghosts. They entertain you but you can't touch them, much like strippers. And when they're smaller games, they must be more creative, like short strippers."

[7:36] Best downloadable game time: Castle Crashers, Braid, World of Goo, N+, PixelJunk Eden are all up for the prize.

[7:36] World of Goo takes it, after being the surprise winner at last month's D.I.C.E. Summit.

[7:37] 2D Boy crew takes the stage. "We got to live the indie dream this year, thank you!" "Take your shirt off!" yells a male voice from the crowd.

[7:41] Schafer takes the stage again and introduces another Mega64 clip. One of the male members vaults park benches and cafe tables, mortifying passers-by.

[7:41] Best Handheld Games is the next category. And what a category: Patapon, Advance Wars 2, God of War: Chains of Olympus, Echochrome, and The World Ends With You.

[7:42] Kratos just got a little less angry--Chains of Olympus takes it. Next stop: Spartan anger management.

[7:43] Developers thank Sony effusively--could they be making up for dissing the PSP last year?

[7:44] Next GOTY contender is Little Big Planet. An usher makes an attendee put away a video camera. What, like nobody's seen Sackboy before?

[7:44] Acclaim's chief creative officer David Perry--who recently bragged of knowledge of the PSP 2--takes the stage to hand out the Ambassador Award to Tommy Tallarico.

[7:46] He recalls his skepticism when Tallarico suggested that people might want to pay to see video game music performed by orchestras. Now, Video Games Live concerts draw tens of thousands.

[7:48] Tallarico--who's about two full feet taller shorter than Perry--takes the stage. Says he created Video Games Live to show the world how important games have become to our culture.

[7:52] Schafer is back. The phrase, "Imagination is so important to those of us who can't or won't read," cues the Best Writing Nominees: Far Cry 2, Fallout 3, Braid, Grand Theft Auto "Fourteen" [sic], and Metal Gear Solid 4.

[7:53] Fallout 3 takes its first prize of the night, and Emil Pagliarulo gets on stage. He dedicates the award to "All the nerds in South Boston. ... Don't play hockey, play D&D."

[7:54] Best technology next. Nominees are Spore, GTAIV and the "Grand Theft Auto IV Team" (not "teen"), Left 4 Dead, Gears of War, and something about a Planet of conflicted size.

[7:54] Is there an echo in here? Little Big Planet triumphs again.

[7:55] Alex Evans bounds onto stage, thanks the "lunatics who made the PS3...and let us make this crazy game."

[7:57] Another Mega64 clip, parodying Shadow of the Colossus. Problem is this colossus is normal size, so he doesn't so much scare as perplex the families in the park where the clip was shot. Big finish--terrorizing some small children.

[7:57] "Art is like fine wine...actually, it's not, since wine really hurts when you pour it in your eyes," says Schafer.

[7:58] Visual Art trophy is the next to get doled out. One of these five will win: Prince of Persia, Fallout 3, MGS4, Gears of War 2, and Small Large Planetoid.

[7:59] Genuine surprise here--Prince of Persia takes it.

[8:00] Ubisoft's Ben Mattes takes the stage to accept his award for the art director, who couldn't make it.

[8:04] Masaya Matsuura gets on stage to hand out two well-deserved pioneer awards to Harmonix's Alex Rigopulos and Eran Egozy.

[8:05] To the strings of "We Will Rock You," the pair takes the stage. Rigopulos thanks the crowd and recalls when he first came to GDC to show off an early version of Frequency. Many people at the event went back to their hotel room to give them feedback. "The 300 people who bought Frequency are all probably here tonight," he jokes.

[8:08] Rigopulos, in turn, thanks Matsuura for creating Parappa the Rapper, which he said inspired his efforts at Harmonix. He said that he hopes Rock Band will do the same for new music-game developers.

[8:08] Egozy also emphasizes that the "pioneering is not over" and says that Harmonix has some "crazy" tech in the pipe.

[8:09] Next GOTY nominee: Fallout 3.

[8:09] Schafer jokes about "thinking outside his car trunk" when introducing this year's Innovation Award.

[8:10] Nominees are: Spore, World of Goo, Boom Blox, Braid, and Miniscule Monstrous Mass.

[8:10] Aka Little Big Planet, aka the winner...again.

[8:11] Evans humbly thanks all of his fellow nominees once more.

[8:12] Last Mega64 clip rolls--It's a parody of MGS4.

[8:14] Mega64 guy dressed as Solid Snake runs amok--and runs into Hideo Kojima. Kojima glares at the comedian, picks up his phone and says "cancel all my appointments." The two start running around together.

[8:14] Last GOTY nominee: Left 4 Dead.

[8:15] Speaking of Kojima, it's time for the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Mike Cerny.

[8:15] Fun fact: After joining Konami in 1986, he was almost fired because he was taking too long with his first project.

[8:17] Kojima takes the stage, and says he wanted to give his speech in English without notes, "but it would be up on YouTube for a century."

[8:18] He rules out any chance of him retiring. "I'll be making games until the day I die," he says before ending a short speech.

[8:19] (He also mentioned his desire to direct a movie. Judging by the length of MGS4's cutscenes, some would say he already has.)

[8:19] Last prize of the night, kids. A GTAIV clip precludes a quick montage of all five nominees.

[8:20] And the GOTY GDCA goes to...FALLOUT 3!

[8:20] Genuine shock and genuine applause follow. Most people thought LBP was going to take this.

[8:20] Todd Howard takes the stage--he seems a bit shocked himself.

[8:21] "I think video games is the greatest form of entertainment in the world," he says, before thanking virtually everyone at Bethesda and its corporate overlord, ZeniMax.

[8:23] He particularly thanks every game designer's family, recalling what his wife said as she left on another vacation without him: "This game better be good."

[8:24] Schafer wraps up, thanking everyone and cuing....the award-show credits.

[8:24] Up comes the Infinity Ward logo to hoots and hollers from the crowd.

[8:27] Green sine wave fills the screen. Stylish visuals appear to show terrorist team loading guns in elevator. Green montage of combat follows.

[8:27] Very stylish teaser trailer ends with "Modern Warfare 2: 11 10 09"

[8:28] Lights go up, crowd takes off. Bloggers power down.

[8:30] Be sure to check back with GameSpot throughout the week for more from the 2009 Game Developers Conference.

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Discussion

250 comments
TheRealUser101
TheRealUser101

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (abbreviated as Call of Duty: MW3 or simply MW3) is a sequel to Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. MW3 will immediately follow the events of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, where the Russians continue their invasion of the USA.

EchoEcho
EchoEcho

"InnocentThief: "Rockstar's money-minting Grand Theft Auto IV received three, including Game of the Year." Didn't Fallout 3 get GOTY? Confused....." They're referring to nominations when they say that, not the actual winners.

kevinsyel
kevinsyel

oh yeah, one more thing. Todd Howard was told by his wife: "This game better be worth it!" of Fallout 3. i guess he showed her.

kevinsyel
kevinsyel

wow, this pretty much sums it up, with ALL Schafers jokes in tact. good job GSpot. I was there at the awards, and when Cortex Commnad guy took off his shirt, he was pretty drunk. best line though, when LBP won best Debut game, Healey states "Best Debut Game!? i've been doing this S### for 20 years!"

cubanref
cubanref

Anybody who has played all the other MGS's knows that MGS4 is the best game of all time. Anybody who hasn't played the other ones cannot and will not understand that until they do.

Glade_Gnarr
Glade_Gnarr

WTF? they nominate Fable and not MGS, that is BS!

InnocentThief
InnocentThief

"Rockstar's money-minting Grand Theft Auto IV received three, including Game of the Year." Didn't Fallout 3 get GOTY? Confused.....

noclue_27
noclue_27

Odd that MGS4 didn't win anything. Grats to LBP ^^ and grats to Prince of Persia, that was surprising O.o To bad TWEWY didn't win handheld =P Awesome that it got nominated though, along with AW: DoR Oh ya, Oblivion > Fallout 3 P.S. GTAIV sucks

Godien
Godien

Awesome, Fallout 3 was definitely my most favourite game from last year, and the DLC for 2009's what I'm looking forward to the most.

poorisaac
poorisaac

Fallout 3 FTW I expected nothing less!

Gamer4Iife
Gamer4Iife

Go LBP! :o Go Media Molecule! :o

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

shocking that gta has not won any awards

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

COD barly changes its just point and shoot but in a different level

calvinsora
calvinsora

I kind of missed MGS4 on the lists but LBP sure held its own against other games. Personally, Fallout 3 got a boring pretty fast, to me, it's Oblivion with guns. The environment was also surprisingly bland at most parts for me.

CageFury
CageFury

"CoD4 (as well as World at War) goes so much beyond other shooters in all aspects" Explain to me how that is even remotely true. Other then their top-notch presentation, all of the COD games are simply point, shoot, lob a grenade. Seriously, I want to know, in terms of the gameplay mechanics, what makes COD so great?

sean0883
sean0883

Taylormadederek: There were plenty of PS3s sold to make MGS a contender. The number of PS3s capable of playing MGS is equal to the number of PS3s capable of playing LBP.

XBD247
XBD247

nice for people to get recognized for the hard work they put in.

Xerogravitation
Xerogravitation

Wow, suprise MGS4 didn't win- that was THE BEST GAME EVER. Oh, well. Good job LBP and Fallout- fantastic game also.

Lopur94
Lopur94

Haha the Mega64 video on MGS4 was great! And congrats Fallout 3! Finally some recognition, although all the games mentioned were great games!

D1G1T4L-F34R
D1G1T4L-F34R

People keep going on and on about how the COD modern warfare two trailer sucked. It was a teaser, not a trailer. And sometimes I think we forget just how awesome cod4 was when it came out, then got jaded because cod WAW wasnt that great. Infinity Ward is making this people, they have a history of evolving and innovating. Plus, cod4 was so good, they dont really have anywhere to go but up. Have faith.

SethSOMT
SethSOMT

@ExplosiveChorro CoD4 (as well as World at War) goes so much beyond other shooters in all aspects. The single players are beyond memorable (i.e. playing as the to-be-assassinated president at the start of CoD4), and the depth of the multilayer modes are unparalleled. There is good reason to be excited for 'another shooter'.

canana
canana

It seems that LBP was the big winner.

Storm82
Storm82

Fallout 3 didn't win GOTY: VATS!! won GOTY

Taegre
Taegre

Glad to see Fallout 3 get some quality recognition. I know a lot of people get mad when LBP gets left behind, but I've noticed a lot of its appeal is just the charm of the art style and how much the game lauds it. Charm is nice and all, but it's like bad language in standup comedy: it's almost cheating.

taylormadederek
taylormadederek

Weird???? Why no Metal Gear? That is best game of "ever". But Fallout 3 is still amazing. LBP is also very good but I would like more content from MM and not random people. Still very sad :( , no MGS but I guess it isn't for everyone. Ha just thought....not enough PS3's sold to make it big enough ;) .

SSBFan12
SSBFan12

I think it deserved to win to tell you the truth the game was really amazing.

sackboy15
sackboy15

what fallout3 i am shocked how did it win i got bored of it after a while

couly
couly

18:00 jebus get off the stage already

Gubitz
Gubitz

ddue mgs4? same old same old? lmao yeh right. have u played any other mgs game besides 4? ull see its much different then the others. fallout 3 was a good game. i ahve eevry achievment for it but i still think mgs4 is teh bets game ive ever played in my life.

BenBenBen93
BenBenBen93

mgs4 same old same old just with good graphics. fallout 3 = very diffrent and again diffrent everytime thats why it wins mgs for me

rougewarrior198
rougewarrior198

In my opinion Fallout 3 deserves this award. it is my favorite game of 2008. LBP was innovative, but I got sick of it after awhile.

killa4lyfe
killa4lyfe

not sure fallout 3 derseved this tbh. I dont even know how L4D made it to this, its a 8.5 at best. I was guessing they would go with GTA or LBP. I personally would have put mgs4 in their and given to either mgs 4 or LBP. and the moder warfare trailer suked.:( i was acctually i hyped for that game.

Yuck_Too
Yuck_Too

dreadnought666 Posted Mar 26, 2009 9:28 am PT @Yuck Too Your comment is negative in nature towards the game... After all it's not like you said, "Best game every body talks about and more people should buy". ~~~~ Ummm...actually that is what I said...but rant away against whatever perceived offensive you've suffered.

assassinX01
assassinX01

I loved Fallout 3, but it wasn't really on par with LittleBigPlanet when it's all said and done. Not exactly sure how they arrived at the conclusion that it was better . . . .

nate1222
nate1222

Fallout 3 has definately earned. I own it on PC and my brother has it on 360. Anyone with a PS3, 360 or capable PC should experience it. Little Big Planet? I can't say. I don't know that many PS3 owners. But from what I've heard LBP is pretty cool.

dylan417
dylan417

kind of confused they never said call of duty on modern warfare.... o well it still was awesome, IM SO PUMPED!!!!!

Killingspree303
Killingspree303

Like all the others have said: Fallout 3 deserved it.

Caligua_65
Caligua_65

LOL... Now I just wish there was a way to play LBP (now that I know about it) without having to shell out for a PS3. If a game is deserving of that many nominations and category wins, would be nice to check it out. (shrugs) Just going to be one of the good games I'll miss....

dreadnought666
dreadnought666

@Caligua 65 You are awesome. No one does what you just did on this website. PS....PS3 for life!!!!........JK!

Caligua_65
Caligua_65

OK dreadedchaos and dreadnought666 - you both make good points and I stand corrected. It would be like saying "Slumdog Millionaire" shouldn't be nominated for Best Picture Academy Award because it was a foreign film. I withdraw my suggestion of only multi-platform nominees for "Game of the Year" considerations.

dreadedchaos
dreadedchaos

Caligua, to require that the game of the year be given to a multiplatform release would be to restrict smaller studios that simply lack the manpower or funds to develop multiplatform releases from being congratulated for their efforts. Surely you wouldn't want studios such as EA or Activision to hold a monopoly on awards. Such actions would further trivialize awards as well.