BRIGHTON, UK--The European arm of software giant and PlayStation 3 maker Sony has picked up the main award at the Develop Industry Excellence Awards, which took place this evening at the Hilton Metropole hotel on the UK's south coast before a crowd of 500 games industry executives. SCEE picked up the Grand Prix award for "capping 12 months which have seen the firm deliver a new hardware format that has inspired developers around the world to make cutting-edge next generation games."
Other notable winners of the evening included Sega (crowned the industry's Publishing Hero), Ubisoft France (In-House Developer), and Traveller's Tales, which won the Independent Developer honor and Best Use of a License for Lego Star Wars II. Evolution Studios/SCEE title MotorStorm won New Console IP accolades, whereas recently rebranded Zoë Mode and its PlayStation Portable game Crush were recognized for New Handheld IP.
Other winners were Realtime Worlds with the Innovation Award for the "thrillingly original" Crackdown, Eden Studios for Best Use of Online for Test Drive Unlimited, and Rare's Viva Pinata taking top of the class in Visual Arts. Realtime Worlds was also awarded the UK Studio accolade.
Freestyle's B-Boy mopped up in the Audio Accomplishment category, Havok was singled out in the Tools Provider category, Rockstar Leeds got the nod for Handheld Studio, and Blitz picked up the trophy for Business Development.
Ian Hetherington was named as a Development Legend. The industry veteran was the cofounder of the '80s publisher Psygnosis and is currently chairman of Evolution Studios and Realtime Worlds. The Guest of Honour was NCsoft's Richard Garriott, who also gave a talk this morning about the current state of the online gaming industry and his upcoming title Tabula Rasa.
The Develop Awards are focused on UK and European companies and are judged by close to 100 industry experts. This year marked the fifth such show, and was held in conjunction with the currently underway Develop Conference.