Red Dead Redemption lassos Game Developers Choice Awards

GDC 2011: Rockstar San Diego's Western triumphs at Game Developers Conference's annual ceremony; Mass Effect 2, Limbo, Minecraft, also honored; full video inside.

Each year, the Game Developers Conference's crowning event is the Game Developers Choice Awards, one of the most prestigious ceremonies in gaming. Hosted once again by the comically gifted head of Double Fine Productions, Tim Schafer, the evening wasted no time in getting started, awarding the Best Audio trophy to Red Dead Redemption.

John Marston can put the GDCA GOTY trophy on his shelf.

After making a crack about his onetime legal foe Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, Schafer went on to introduce the Best Debut category, which was won by Independent Games Festival Grand Prize winner Minecraft from Mojang. Interactive Achievement Awards Game of the Year Mass Effect 2 picked up the trophy for Best Writing, often an augury for the GDCA's Game of the Year.

Moving on to Best Game Design, Red Dead Redemption rode off with the trophy, putting another notch in developer Rockstar San Diego's belt. Minecraft got another trophy for Best Downloadable Game, as well as the Innovation Award, leaving game cocreator Markus Persson virtually speechless.

Best Visual Arts went to Playdead's Xbox Live game Limbo, which was also the subject of one of the night's various skits by nerd-comedy troupe Mega64. Best Handheld Game was won by ZeptoLab's Cut the Rope.

The GDCAs also dole out honors in noncompetitive categories, and this year's Pioneer Award recipient was Yu Suzuki, who gave a presentation earlier in the day. The lifetime achievement award went to Peter Molyneux, the cofounder of Bullfrog Productions and Lionhead Studios, which created such games as Populous and Fable.

About halfway through the ceremony, the tide appeared to turn in Red Dead Redemption's favor, once it won the Best Technology award. And when it came time to hand out the night's grand prize--Game of the Year--Rockstar San Diego's crew once again took the stage to collect the top honor.

Game of the Year
WINNER: Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar San Diego)
Mass Effect 2 (BioWare)
Call of Duty: Black Ops (Treyarch)
Limbo (Playdead)
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft Montreal)

Best Game Design
Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Nintendo)
Mass Effect 2 (BioWare)
Limbo (Playdead)
WINNER: Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar San Diego)
God of War III (SCE Santa Monica)

Innovation
Heavy Rain (Quantic Dream)
Kirby's Epic Yarn (Good-Feel & HAL Laboratory)
WINNER: Minecraft (Mojang)
Limbo (Playdead)
Dance Central (Harmonix)

Best Technology
Starcraft II (Blizzard)
WINNER: Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar San Diego)
Heavy Rain (Quantic Dream)
Mass Effect 2 (BioWare)
God of War III (SCE Santa Monica)

Best Handheld Game
God of War: Ghost of Sparta (Ready At Dawn/SCE Santa Monica)
WINNER: Cut the Rope (ZeptoLab)
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (Kojima Productions)
Game Dev Story (Kairosoft)
Dragon Quest IX (Level 5)

Best Audio
Limbo (Playdead)
WINNER: Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar San Diego)
Halo: Reach (Bungie)
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (DICE)
Mass Effect 2 (BioWare)

Best Downloadable Game
Costume Quest (Double Fine)
Limbo (Playdead)
Super Meat Boy (Team Meat)
WINNER Minecraft (Mojang)
Monday Night Combat (Uber Entertainment)

Best Writing
Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar San Diego)
Heavy Rain (Quantic Dream)
WINNER: Mass Effect 2 (BioWare)
Costume Quest (Double Fine)
Fallout: New Vegas (Obsidian)

Best Debut Game
Limbo (Playdead)
Darksiders (Vigil Games)
WINNER: Minecraft (Mojang)
Monday Night Combat (Uber Entertainment)
Super Meat Boy (Team Meat)

Best Visual Arts
God of War III (SCE Santa Monica)
WINNER: Limbo (Playdead)
Call of Duty: Black Ops (Treyarch)
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft Montreal)
Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar San Diego)

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Discussion

198 comments
SciFiRPGfan
SciFiRPGfan

@Gelugon_baat Well, OK. then.

I'll try to think about it from your perspective (though I still find the absence of famous developers because of some kind of prohibition to be an even larger stretch of imagination than just mere lack of interest).

Just to ilustrate the way I used to think about it:

I found the most important awards to be the players' ones simply because of the fact that one, regardless of his/her position, can't go wrong with them:

If you are a player, the chance that you will like what other players liked is quite high. At least higher than in case of any other game (in theory).

If you are a reviewer, the chance that you will like it as well is decent too, because a reviewer is player as well, though a special one.

If you are a developer, your game will have decent prospects of selling well too.

And if you are a producer, you can worry a little bit less.

No other group's award can give at least this level of certainty and if someone (let's media) really insists that it shouldn't be players' awards, than at least it should be the awards which are really big, famous and lot of people participate in them so the chance that they will be transparent and will take most of interests and opinions into account is high.

But like I said, I will think about your preference of actual knowledge over my preference of usefulness/aggregate opinion and maybe change my mind.So thanks for replies and see you in another debate

SciFiRPGfan
SciFiRPGfan

@Gelugon_baat Well, you are starting to convince me. :) But before I give up. :P

[QUOTE="you"]What developers think of games[/QUOTE]... and one of my issues is related to this. Based on my quick skim of winners, I see that sometimes they pick games (Katamari, Okami or even Limbo) the qualities or characteristics of which most of them do not even bother to follow or improve in their own games later.

I mean how many games like that will they make again? I bet most of them would again mimic or use mechanics/styles used in more popular/commercialy more successful games (i.e. the games which usually win various players' awards).

Don't they contradict themselves? I thought especially award like this, i.e. award from peers, should go to somebody who sets the best example to follow. Isn't it ironic than, that players' awards winners are probably better indicator of what the future games would look like?

[QUOTE="you"]deep passion for games[/QUOTE]But if GDCA is supposed to represent that passion, didn't it failed, if organizers could not even convince the "famous" developers (my previous post) to attend? How can I be sure that even developers themselves have the highest respect for these awards if they don't mind attending other events but not this one?

SciFiRPGfan
SciFiRPGfan

[QUOTE="Gelugon_baat"]but if you are considering an organization to be as prestigious as it is old (as your first response to me suggests)[/QUOTE]

Nope. Maybe I was not clear enough.

Out of these non public awards, I find the AIASA the most prestigious simply because most of medias said so. I do not feel competent to dispute such claim.

The 2nd indicator for me might be the positions of studios' representatives who attended the show. E.g. on AIAS the representatives of Mass Effect team were Bioware CEOs Greg Zeschuck and Ray Muzyka. On GDC on the other hand, it was some, for me as layman, unknown guy. The same applied for majority of studios, based on post awards interviews with famous developers or lack there of.

Moreover, if the current trend continues, I will probably consider the VGA awards more important than GDCA. I mean if developers themeselves (the famous representatives, usually CEOs) do not find it important enough to even attend the event (unlike AIAS or VGA), why should I care much about it. Not to mention the poor media coverage of the awards (not the conference) in medias other than GS.

SciFiRPGfan
SciFiRPGfan

@Gelugon_baat Well, I couldn't find credible source too, just one sentence on IGDA's website, which is some kind of partner organization.The rest were dead links.

As for my scenario, I purposefully exaggerated it in order to find out how would you react to such situation. :P

[QUOTE="Gelugon_baat"]...developers are the ones who make games, play them, promote them and provide support after release[/QUOTE]

Well, they have the best overal knowledge, that is for sure. OTOH, if all these activities are taken into account than result must be different from the process based solely on playing games.

However, playing games is all that matters for the players and even reviewers. And it is these two groups, who determine the success of games - future of developers. IMO very little of them would appreciate how difficult it is to make something available in a game. For them, far more important is whether it is enjoyable.

Than, from player/reviewer's perspective developer's assessment of game which should be based solely on assessment of enjoyability is also affected by additional assessment of quality of activities you mentioned. But that means developer's opinion is pretty unique and hardly can be used as general indicator, let alone the ultimate one.

SciFiRPGfan
SciFiRPGfan

@Gelugon_baat Wow thank you for a nice post.:) Just few remarks.

You mentioned that GDCC started in 1988, but were there any awards too? I am sorry to refer to wiki, but it says that even the predecessor of GDC Awards, the Spotlight Awards started in 1997 which is still one year later than AIASA, not that it matters anyway, I am just curious.:P

As for the readers' complaining - I have to agree with you. It would be better not to asses these awards. Maybe it's GS's that provokes so many people to express their opinions on everything. But I agree anyway.

What I still don't agree though, is the: [QUOTE="Gelugon_baat"]the votes of game developers themselves are the most valuable of all kinds of votes that go into award-giving events for video games.[/QUOTE]Just as I outlined the scenario in my previous post: What if there was a game which attracted many developers for whatever reason (originality, technical brilliance,...) but failed with players completely? Would it still be the best game -since it, according to you, has won the most valuable award? Should the players still remain quiet when somebody presented such game as the best (not just best according to devs) in front of them?

TheRealLisaAnn
TheRealLisaAnn

@Gelugon_baat Wooooooww that is the longest quote i have ever seen on a news story on GameSpot.

razorfett147
razorfett147

The ppl who continue to spam that RDR is just GTA in the old west obviously have never spent any serious time with the game....and thus: should not be posting opinions about it. I played both ME2 and RDR, and RDR is the only one of the two I continue to put into my machine from time to time to revisit. Now, ME2 was an amazing game.....and an amazing experience. But it was a one or two playthough game for me......a great cinematic experience, but not one that encouraged me to experiment and experience every little detail. The story was amazing, but it glazed over the importance of the gameplay. RDR did something similar while keeping the gameplay at the forefront. THAT'S why I preferred it.

razorfett147
razorfett147

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

lilsukaass
lilsukaass

@cdoggmaximus973 just because it had the same controls and was a sandbox doesn't mean it was exactly alike just because its a sand box and they use controls that work and have won them many awards twice they should not be penalized for that and weather you like it or not it is the game of the year so the people at rockstar obviously made a good choice. and even if people keep believing its exactly like gta4 so what it works people love it and it will keep winning them awards

SciFiRPGfan
SciFiRPGfan

@Gelugon_baat 1. Well, what about AIAS(A)?

I admit, I do not know much about any of these awards so feel free to rebut what I say.

I was under the impression that they are very similar (members of both consists mostly from developers, publishers, producers etc.) only AIAS is older and more prestigious (I base my presumption on Ricardo Torres' claim that AIAS is equivalent of Oscars as well as on the fact, that on AIAS, the studious were represented by their CEOs unlike here - they did not even properly introduced those recipients on GDCA).

2. What are we as players supposed to do?

I mean, it's cool that developers have their picks. The players have their own too. And some of them decided to post them here.

Both groups have probably different standards and preferences so one should not compare the choices directly or try to draw some conclusions from such comparisons. E.g. game might be technically briliant peace of software and art but the gamers may still consider it very boring.Then what?

In the end, it is the game players for whom the games are made and game developers are those who are adapting to players' needs.

Agony_s
Agony_s

Go minecraft! Go minecraft! One of the most epics games and it only just entered alpha... I'm so looking forward to seeing it finished!

swmeek
swmeek

Now make a version for PC!

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

@keelo88 No. Just no. I've played both and no :p

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Well deserved result. And that's the end of it.

Heshertonfist
Heshertonfist

Red Dead deserves these wins, Minecraft too. But I think Minecraft has a far more important lesson for developers. Graphics should always be a distant second to gameplay.

method115
method115

@SciFiRPGfan I agree 100% that it should have went to ME. I'm a little biased though as I love ME and everything about it. ME1 was my favorite game until ME2 came out. In general I think RDR got more credit then it deserved. Then again I haven't played the game which is why i said I think. From the gameplay footage I've seen it looks like GTA 4 in the west. Not that it's a bad thing because GTA 4 was also one of my favorite games. Then again I guess a similar perspective could be used with ME1 and ME2 so what do I know.

burtonboy05
burtonboy05

@thewwwyzzerdd don't play them buddy it's that simple. I agree GTA4 was over rated and didn't warrant a ten but it was still a great game for a lot of reasons. I haven't touched it for over a year and recently started it again with my Astro A30's and its awesome. I'm picking up things I completely missed re: sound alone and those small details are what make rock* great. I didn't buy RDR until 6 months after release and was a bit sceptical re: the hype hence the delay in purchase but I can safely say it's one of the best games I've ever played period. It just covers so much territory. Story, character development, variety, graphics, sound, it does it all. Sure it gets a bit repetative but what game doesn't? I love the Assassins Creed series, probably the best new IP in a decade but, it still doens't have that polish or R*'s RDR. I'm not R* fan boy either - but they know how to creat worlds that I feel I'm a part of and most other games just don't do that.

thewwwyzzerdd
thewwwyzzerdd

god im so tired of these rockstar games sweeping award shows... they really arent that good. thats why a few months after they come out people stop talking about them. i mean gta 4 got straight 10s from almost every review site (which was a total joke) and who still plays or cares about that game? nobody.

XcoN_
XcoN_

koospetoors: Go.buy.a.damn.xbox360.or.a.damn.ps3. Sir/Ma'am.

razorfett147
razorfett147

Both games were outstanding, but the technical prowess of RDR's design and game engine is what landed it the award. But alas, the haters just don't get it. ME2 is a roller coaster....RDR is a whole amusement park. Take that analogy however you wish.

keelo88
keelo88

AC brotherhood is above red dead believe me who ever didnt play its one of the best games ever and ever !!!

SythisTaru
SythisTaru

@Egotte If you don't think Red Dead Redemption deserves the praise it's getting, I'm afraid you probably missed the point of the game.

paulliddell
paulliddell

the best prize for........for doing whatever. and the winner is.. not sony, just because it doesn't smell like micro$oft. my opinion

G-dorf11
G-dorf11

I've p[layed both ME2 and RDR, ME2 is miles better. I've played RDR, and it's pretty darn over rated.

Trogeton
Trogeton

GTA put into a western skin.. if it's by rockstar then it's promising to be a GREAT game, I loved it, thanks again rockstar

PcGamingRig
PcGamingRig

it would be even better if they released it for pc. ;)

DBZKING1234
DBZKING1234

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Alexrmf
Alexrmf

@The_Gaming_Baby: Mass Effect 2 is better... :))) kidding... I haven't played RDR because I don't own an Xbox, but instead I played every Bioware RPG and I know they'll always win the "Best Story" award. I hope RDR gets a PC version in order to get an objective opinion on the 2 games and finally decide which one is better.

cuchikapoor
cuchikapoor

no award for god of war 3. noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Dynamo11
Dynamo11

*Best Visual Arts* to game that's mostly black and white... I get the "arsty" side of it but shouldn't that award go to, oh I dunno a game that WAS visually outstanding ie:- AC: B or RDR

The_Gaming_Baby
The_Gaming_Baby

let me guess, people are going to say Mass Effect 2 is better?

mickey_mickey48
mickey_mickey48

RDR is Great game and totally not overrated. but I think ME2 deserves the game of the year more.

Theamazing55
Theamazing55

Bad Company 2 had indisputably better sound than Red Dead. Just sayin'.

bennie12
bennie12

I love Red Dead Redemption, not quite as much as Mass Effect 2 but I do think Red Dead deserves the award.

SciFiRPGfan
SciFiRPGfan

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

CerebralFatalis
CerebralFatalis

Comments below a perfect example of why many of you have NO business playing video games. Good thing you tools can't vote or we'd have crap for awards. Sit and cry on moms computer all day that your good but not great video game didn't get picked fan boys. This is not how gaming works kids. Your opinions don't make facts.

Evillordexdeath
Evillordexdeath

I disagree with most of these. Giving LIMBO the best visual arts award is a poor joke.

Bezee4u
Bezee4u

Red dead is a good game but again doesn't deserve some awards? I mean best tech? Over Heavy Rain, MS2 and GOW3? That can't be right. Disappointing award show.

vortex_gw
vortex_gw

@Nightrain50 Comments like yours always make me laugh. I'm glad I don't know you in person.

Nightrain50
Nightrain50

Congratulations to Yu Suzuki, please release Shenmue 1 and 2 with full analog support on PS3, then make Shenmue 3. Peter Molyneux, "If you build it, they will come" should be "if you lie they will buy" hate that guy.

XeonForce
XeonForce

So I guess no one at GDC played Amnesia huh? At least it received two awards at IGF; the same amount of awards as Minecraft. Aside from Red Dead receiving GOTY, the GDC awards are disappointing.

SciFiRPGfan
SciFiRPGfan

@Septagon7 Sir or madam, you have such a nice post but please, get your facts straight. Just check out the video at 0:17.

[url]http://www.gamespot.com/events/dice2011/video.html?sid=6298536&category=3&tag=latest-highlights%3Btitle%3B4[/url]

I have already written it here - please observe who received the awards on behalf of the teams here and compare it with the representatives who attended AIAS(A).

Do you really think that all those famous CEOs would have missed the equivalent of Oscars and attended different show instead?

That, of course, does not mean that I am trying to undermine the qualities of RDR. Especially not the artistic ones. Though, I am a fan of games like ME, I don't mind RDR receiving awards for the aspects you mentioned. Especially not if the games are assessed from developers' perspective.

However, I will oppose your claim that RDR received the most respected award in industry or in general. No, that award was GOTY by AIAS and the winner was Mass Effect 2.

(And rightfully IMO :P)

Nightrain50
Nightrain50

Red Dead deserved it. Mass Effect 2 is a dumbed down version of itself. I love Mass Effect 1, gave it a 10. ME2 is pathetic... much like Dragon Age 2 will be. I hate where Bioware is headed, once my favorite game developer.