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GDC: Game Developers Choice Awards Results (UPDATED)

The Game Developer’s Choice Awards are upon us. Each year at GDC, developers from around the world vote on the best games from the past year. 2015 was a huge year for games, with some amazing titles coming from both the indie scene and the AAA market. There is a lot to love, but nevertheless, we’ve made our own choices. Here are the nominees, our predictions, and the results for the 2016 Game Developers Choice Awards.

Game of the Year

Nominees

Fallout 4
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Bloodborne
Rocket League

Our Predictions

Michael Grimm: The Witcher 3
Jorge Albor: Bloodborne. This is  probably the most heated award category. As you can see from our choices, there isn’t a clear consensus here. All of these games are great for one reason or another. With that in mind, I have to go with my own favorite game from last year, the incomparable Bloodborne.
Matthew Allen: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Brett Bates: Fallout 4

Result: The Witcher 3

Innovation Award

Her Story
Super Mario Maker
Undertale
Splatoon
The Beginner’s Guide

Our Predictions

Michael Grimm: Super Mario Maker. 2015 proved that games with new, innovative ideas didn’t have to be niche cult faves, several of the candidates on this list were both critical AND commercial successes. That said, it’s hard to imagine Super Mario Maker not getting the nod, it was a radical gamble from Nintendo that managed to pay off, and its impact is likely to be felt across the industry for years.
Jorge Albor: Her Story
Matthew Allen: Her Story
Brett Bates: Super Mario Maker

Result: Her Story

Best Debut

Studio Wildcard (ARK: Survival Evolved)
Toby Fox (Undertale)
Moon Studios (Ori and the Blind Forest)
Moppin (Downwell)
Steel Crate Games (Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes)

Our Predictions

Michael Grimm: Undertale
Jorge Albor: Undertale
Matthew Allen: Undertale
Brett Bates: Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. I went with Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes because it’s a great iteration on asymmetrical co-op: One player has the instructions for a bomb manual, while the other has the wire cutter. Neither can see each other, so they have to rely on their communication skills to avoid blowing up. Bonus: Watching people play the game is even more fun than playing it.

Result: Ori and the Blind Forest

Best Design

Rocket League
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Bloodborne
Fallout 4
Splatoon

Our Predictions

Michael Grimm: Splatoon
Jorge Albor: Bloodborne
Matthew Allen: Splatoon. Design is a category that can encompass many things. In terms of pure gameplay mechanics, playability, and balancing, Rocket League and Metal Gear Solid V really shine. If you take into account level design, Bloodborne becomes a frontrunner, while the other two suffer due to lack of level variety. Only Splatoon stands out as best-in-class in all these things, with its tight mechanics, balanced weapons, and fun levels.
Brett Bates: Bloodborne

Result: Rocket League

Best Handheld/Mobile Game

Lara Croft: GO
Fallout Shelter
Downwell
Her Story
AlphaBear

Our Predictions

Michael Grimm: Downwell
Jorge Albor: Downwell
Matthew Allen: Lara Croft: GO
Brett Bates: Lara Croft: GO. Square Enix’s “Go” series is the premier example of how to properly translate your AAA franchise to mobile. Rather than attempting to slap on cumbersome virtual controls in a bargain-bin replica of their console consoles, these games (Hitman and Lara Croft so far) take the spirit of their parent franchise and apply it to something built from the ground up for touch screens. In Lara Croft: GO‘s case, that means raiding tombs in a turn-based puzzler that layers on new wrinkles at a satisfying pace.

Result: Her Story

Best Visual Art

Ori and the Blind Forest
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Star Wars Battlefront
Bloodborne
Splatoon

Our Predictions

Michael Grimm: Splatoon. Visual art is pretty broad, and the candidates here couldn’t be more diverse. While Battlefront and The Witcher 3 were stunningly hi-def, Bloodborne, Splatoon, and Ori and the Blind Forest all sported beautifully unique worlds. It’s close, but I see Splatoon edging out the competition here, as its bright, Jet Set Radio style characters and world are hard not to love.
Jorge Albor: Star Wars Battlefront
Matthew Allen: Star Wars Battlefront
Brett Bates: Star Wars Battlefront

Result: Ori and the Blind Forest

Best Narrative

Her Story
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Life is Strange
Undertale
The Beginner’s Guide

Our Predictions

Michael Grimm: Her Story
Jorge Albor: Her Story. All of the nominees this year are fantastic. Undertale provides a charming and surprisingly touching story and Life is Strange is one of the best coming-of-age tales told in video games. Even so, no other game on this list was as experimental or cleverly composed as Her Story.
Matthew Allen: Undertale
Brett Bates: Life is Strange

Result: Her Story

 

Best Audio

Star Wars Battlefront
Ori and the Blind Forest
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Crypt of the NecroDancer

Our Predictions

Michael Grimm: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Jorge Albor: Star Wars Battlefront
Matthew Allen: Crypt of the NecroDancer. This was a tough one for me. Battlefront is the clear winner in terms of technical audio design and orchestration, as the game perfectly recreates the sound FX and music of the Star Wars films to create an immersive experience that makes you feel like you are in one of the movies. However, I am going to go with a dark horse here, as this is my one chance to give Crypt of the Necrodancer the recognition it so richly deserves. The soundtrack in all of its variations is just amazing, and is a big reason I keep coming back to the game when I have a few extra minutes to spare.
Brett Bates: Star Wars Battlefront

Result: Crypt of the NecroDancer

Best Technology

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Star Wars Battlefront
Fallout 4

Just Cause 3

Our Predictions

Michael Grimm: Star Wars Battlefront
Jorge Albor: Star Wars Battlefront. The technology that shines here isn’t the physics or the shooting, it’s the seamless integration of Star Wars special effects with the game world. The moment you step onto the battlefield, blasters tossing up snow around you, X-wings soaring overhead, you feel like you’re really in the Star Wars universe. It’s special.
Matthew Allen: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Brett Bates: Star Wars Battlefront

Result: The Witcher 3

 

The awards will be held this Wednesday, at 6:30 pm PST. Be sure to come back here to see all the winners and how well we predicted the results!

 


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