Skyrim takes top honors at GDC Awards

The Elder Scrolls V fends off multiple award winner Portal 2 to take home Game of the Year as Fez wins top prize in Independent Games Festival.

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After warming up with a handful of special events and focused summits, the 2012 Game Developers Conference officially kicked off Wednesday with the first assortment of sessions and the 12th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards, hosted by Epic Games' Cliff Bleszinski.

Skyrim is the Game Developers Choice Awards Game of the Year.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim took home Game of the Year honors, just as it did last month at the Interactive Achievement Awards. Todd Howard accepted the award with a chunk of the development team on stage, emphasizing that creating a title like Skyrim is a group effort that depends on a multitude of talented people working together.

Skyrim wasn't the only big winner of the evening. Portal 2 won the game design, audio, and narrative categories, while Supergiant Games took home Best Downloadable Game and Best Debut for its first effort, the Xbox 360 and PC game Bastion. The GDC also doled out special awards for developer Dave Theurer (Missile Command, Tempest), Junction Point Studios founder Warren Spector (Epic Mickey, Deus Ex), and Ken Doroshow and Paul M. Smith, the two lawyers who successfully argued on the game industry's behalf before the Supreme Court.

The GDC Awards were preceded by the 14th Annual Independent Games Festival Awards, created "to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize the best independent game developers." Although it only won one of the two categories for which it was nominated, Fez loomed large over the ceremony by winning the Seumas McNally Grand Prize Award. Designer Phil Fish, who had stirred controversy at a Monday screening of Indie Game: The Movie by saying modern Japanese games suck, appeared overwhelmed at winning, only able to offer a blanket "thank you" as an acceptance speech.

An archived version of GameSpot's live video stream of the event should be available later tonight.

A full list of the night's nominees with winners in italics follows below.

GAME DEVELOPERS CHOICE AWARDS

Game of the Year
Batman: Arkham City (Rocksteady Studios)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)
Portal 2 (Valve)
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Eidos Montreal)
Dark Souls (FromSoftware)

Best Game Design
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Nintendo)
Portal 2 (Valve)
Batman: Arkham City (Rocksteady Studios)
Dark Souls (FromSoftware)

Innovation
Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure (Toys For Bob)
Portal 2 (Valve)
Bastion (Supergiant Games)
Johann Sebastian Joust (Die Gute Fabrik)
L.A. Noire (Team Bondi)

Best Technology
Battlefield 3 (DICE)
L.A. Noire (Team Bondi)
Crysis 2 (Crytek Frankfurt/UK)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (Naughty Dog)

Best Handheld/Mobile Game
Tiny Tower (NimbleBit)
Super Mario 3D Land (Nintendo)
Jetpack Joyride (Halfbrick)
Infinity Blade II (Chair Entertainment)
Superbrothers: Sword & Sorcery EP (Capy Games/Superbrothers)

Best Audio
Bastion (Supergiant Games)
Little Big Planet 2 (Media Molecule)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)
Dead Space 2 (Visceral Games)
Portal 2 (Valve)

Best Downloadable Game
Stacking (Double Fine)
From Dust (Ubisoft Montpellier)
Bastion (Supergiant Games)
Outland (Housemarque)
Frozen Synapse (Mode 7)

Best Narrative
Portal 2 (Valve)
The Witcher 2 (CD Projekt RED)
Bastion (Supergiant Games)
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (Naughty Dog)
Saints Row: The Third (Volition)

Best Debut
Supergiant Games (Bastion)
Team Bondi (L.A. Noire)
Re-Logic (Terraria)
BioWare Austin (Star Wars: The Old Republic)
Eidos Montreal (Deus Ex: Human Revolution)

Best Visual Arts
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (Naughty Dog)
Rayman Origins (Ubisoft Montpellier)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron (Ignition Japan)
Battlefield 3 (DICE)

Pioneer Award
Dave Theurer, creator of Missile Command; Tempest; and I, Robot

Ambassador Award
Ken Doroshow and Paul M. Smith, game industry lawyers for the Supreme Court case against California

Lifetime Achievement Award
Warren Spector, founder Junction Point Studios

INDEPENDENT GAMES FESTIVAL AWARDS

Seumas McNally Grand Prize
Dear Esther (thechineseroom)
Fez (Polytron)
Frozen Synapse (Mode 7 Games)
Johann Sebastian Joust (Die Gute Fabrik)
Spelunky (Mossmouth)

Technical Excellence
Antichamber (Demruth)
Fez (Polytron)
Prom Week (Expressive Intelligence Studio, UC Santa Cruz)
Realm of the Mad God (Wild Shadow Studios & Spry Fox)
Spelunky (Mossmouth)

Excellence in Visual Art
Botanicula (Amanita Design)
Dear Esther (thechineseroom)
Lume (State of Play Games)
Mirage (Mario von Rickenbach)
Wonderputt (Damp Gnat)

Excellence in Design
Atom Zombie Smasher (Blendo Games)
English Country Tune (Stephen Lavelle)
Frozen Synapse (Mode 7 Games)
Gunpoint (Tom Francis, John Roberts, and Fabian van Dommelen)
Spelunky (Mossmouth)

Excellence in Audio
Botanicula (Amanita Design)
Dear Esther (thechineseroom)
Pugs Luv Beats (Lucky Frame)
To the Moon (Freebird Games)
Waking Mars (Tiger Style)

Best Mobile Game
ASYNC Corp (Powerhead Games)
Beat Sneak Bandit (Simogo)
Faraway (Steph Thirion)
Ridiculous Fishing (Vlambeer)
Waking Mars (Tiger Style)

Nuovo Award
(Designed "to honor abstract, short form, and unconventional game development.")
At a Distance (Terry Cavanagh)
Dear Esther (thechineseroom)
Fingle (Game Oven Studios)
GIRP (Bennett Foddy)
Proteus (Ed Key and David Kanaga)
Johann Sebastian Joust (Die Gute Fabrik)
Storyteller (Daniel Benmergui)
Way (CoCo & Co.)

Best Student Game
The Bridge (Case Western Reserve University)
Dust (Art Institute of Phoenix)
The Floor Is Jelly (Kansas City Art Institute)
Nous (DigiPen Institute of Technology)
One and One Story (Liceo Scientifico G.B. Morgagni)
Pixi (DigiPen Institute of Technology - Singapore)
The Snowfield (Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab)
Way (Carnegie Mellon University)

Audience Award
Frozen Synapse (Mode 7 Games)

XBLA Award
Super Time Force (Capybara Games)

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