GDC Awards 2017 Winners

In celebrating the games of 2016, another awards show took place shortly after the DICE awards were handed out, this time it was the Game Developers Choice awards. Unsurprisingly, many of the same games that were winners in previous awards have shown up again for the GDC awards.

IGN rolled out a list for the winners and their respective categories, which you can check out below.

Best Audio


_Best Debut _

Campo Santo - Firewatch

Best Design


Best Mobile/Handheld Game

Pokemon Go

Innovation Award

No Man's Sky

Best Narrative


Best Technology

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Best Visual Art


Best VR/AR Game

Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives

Audience Award

Battlefield 1

Game of the Year


Pioneer Award

Jordan Mechner - Prince of Persia creator

_Ambassador Award _

Mark DeLoura - formerly of Nintendo, Sony, THQ, and Ubisoft

_Lifetime Achievement Award _

Tim Sweeney - Epic Games founder

Some of those winners are quite baffling. Not to take anything away from Hello Games in what they managed to do with No Man's Sky, but there's no way that that game was more innovative than Planet Explorers, which was basically the same as No Man's Sky except it delivered on what it promised during its Kickstarter and managed to integrate a fully woven single-player narrative into its survival elements, in addition to featuring a fully fleshed out multiplayer component.

One of the main criticisms of No Man's Sky -- apart from the performance issues -- was that the game wasn't that innovative compared to all the other space survival games out there like Space Engineers or Star Made or Starbound or Planet Explorers. But even outside of the sci-fi genre, there were still games like Scrap Mechanic and Human Fall Flat that still seemed to push the boundaries of innovation. Heck, even the Soviet-themed The Tomorrow Children still managed to incorporate some interesting innovations on the emergent survival genre. Of all the games out there that came out in 2016, finished or otherwise, it just strikes me as odd that the most controversial game of the year would be considered the most innovative.

As is typical with the rest of the awards handed out, it's no surprise to see Overwatch taking home the best game of the year award. It's still baffling to me that despite all the awards its won and all the registered players who put in time with the game, we still have no idea how much the game actually sold.

It just seems like the word "baffling" is used a lot for some of the games on the list, but that's just how the dice fall. And speaking of dice... it is nice to see DICE receiving some recognition for their technical achievements with Battlefield 1. I'll be completely honest here: I didn't think they would be able to pull off getting the game to run above 30fps on the Xbox One and PS4. It's one of the best looking games this generation and the battlefields are absolutely mammoth, and there are a ton of physics calculations happening at every micro cycle, but the game manages to maintain a steady frame-rate, all while 60 players run around using vehicles and blowing stuff up. It's nice they won the Audience award but baffling DICE didn't get the award for their technical achievements or for best Design, the former of which went to Uncharted 4 and the latter of which was handed to Overwatch.

On the upside, at least Firewatch was recognized for its narrative. It would have been nice to see them win for audio as well since the audio direction in that game was literally pitch perfect, and the voice actors nailed their roles. Anyway, what do you think of the winners? Did the developers get it right?

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