Respected designer Warren Spector to receive Lifetime Achievement Award at GDCAs

warrenspector.jpgDeus Ex game director and producer, and Disney Epic Mickey creator Warren Spector will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 12th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCAs) for his contributions to the art and science of games. The Game Developers Choice Awards, held at GDC yearly, are the leading peer-based video game industry awards celebrating the industry’s top games and developers.
With a career in games spanning nearly 30 years, Warren Spector has earned a reputation in the industry as a seminal designer and a champion for the proper execution of ideas in video games.
His work on the career-defining Deus Ex took place while he was serving as a partner at development company Ion Storm and running their Austin-based office. Upon its release in 2000, Deus Ex received wide critical and industry acclaim and in 2009 was named “Best PC Game of All Time” among a list of 100 other titles in PC Gamer magazine.
In 2004 Spector left Ion Storm and the following year established Austin-based video game development firm Junction Point. Junction Point was acquired by Disney Interactive Studios in 2007. Immediately following, Spector began leading the design of Disney Epic Mickey, which released in 2010 and marked his first title as part of Disney Interactive Studios.
The game featured Spector’s hallmark style of choice and consequence gaming, which he refers to as “Playstyle Matters,” and was praised for its unique storyline, charming art design and tribute it paid to 80 years of rich Disney history.

Since beginning his gaming career at Steve Jackson Games in 1983, Spector has played a key role when it comes to redefining genres. As a producer and designer on titles like TSR, Inc.’s Top Secret/S.I. and Marvel Super Heroes, ORIGIN’s award-winning Ultima game series, including Ultima Worlds of Adventure: Martian Dreams, Ultima VII: Serpent Isle and Ultima Underworld, as well as Looking Glass Technologies’ critically-acclaimed System Shock, Spector demonstrated his ability to open up new avenues in the role-playing arena and provide players with a fresh gameplay experience.

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the career and achievements of a developer who has made an indelible impact on the craft of game development and games as a whole, and Warren Spector, who has earned a sterling reputation as an innovator able to merge the deep gameplay elements of multiple genres, stands as a shining example of those principles.

“Warren, whose rarified ‘big picture’ thinking and ideals have done a great deal for the games industry, exemplifies the exact qualities that a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient should possess,” said Meggan Scavio, general manager of GDC Events at UBM TechWeb. “In presenting him with this honor, we continue a tradition of highlighting individuals whose work stands as a benchmark for the next generation of developers.”

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GDC Awards honor Missile Command creator, First Amendment game lawyers

-.jpgThe 12th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCA), the peer-awarded highest honors in video game development, have revealed the recipients of two of its Special Awards — the Pioneer Award, given to developers for creating breakthrough video game genres or concepts, and the Ambassador Award, given to those who have helped the game industry advance to a better place.
This year’s Pioneer Award will be given to Dave Theurer, one of Atari Inc.’s legendary arcade game designers from the 1980s. Theurer created classic titles such as Missile Command, Tempest, and I, Robot, which helped create modern game genres and define the early days of gaming.
The Ambassador Award will celebrate Ken Doroshow and Paul M. Smith, the First Amendment lawyers in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Brown, et al., v. Entertainment Merchants Association, et al., for their support and their fight for game developer rights.
Given away at Game Developers Conference every year as part of the Game Developers Choice Awards, the Pioneer Award celebrates individuals responsible for developing a breakthrough technology, game concept, or gameplay design at a crucial juncture in video game history, paving the way for the many developers who followed them.
This year’s honoree, Dave Theurer, began his trailblazing career in the video game world in 1980 with the release of Missile Command, a seminal trackball-based shooter that was a milestone in early computer games.
Following on from this in 1981, Theurer created the iconic, vector-based tube shooter release Tempest, the original psychedelic shooter, which inspired a slew of other innovations in arcade video games and was an early title to use 3D perspective in gameplay.
As his final title in the game industry before moving to a successful career in enterprise software, Theurer then designed cult, groundbreaking arcade title I, Robot. This 1983 arcade game, not commercially successful at the time, is legendary for being the first commercial video game with filled 3D polygon graphics, as well as being the first video game to feature camera control options — and was years or even decades ahead of its time.
“It’s very difficult to find a game developer who doesn’t have a single memory of Missile Command or his other classic, Tempest,” said Meggan Scavio, general manager of the Game Developers Conference. “We’re delighted to honor Dave Theurer for his work as a designer which resulted in shaping so many developers’ creative drive in the genre.”
Also being honored at the 12th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards are the recipients of the Ambassador Award, which recognizes individuals who have helped the game industry advance to a better place, either through facilitating a better game community from within, or by reaching outside the industry to be advocates for video games to help further the art form.
This year, the Choice Awards Advisory Committee voted the First Amendment lawyers in the historic U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. EMA as recipients of the Ambassador Award. Ken Doroshow and Paul M. Smith led the legal team that convinced the Court that content-based restrictions on games are unconstitutional. The landmark ruling established First Amendment rights for those who create, develop, publish and sell video games, and is incredibly important to the past, present and future of video games as a creative medium.

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Epic’s Bleszinski, Monaco‘s Schatz to host GDC, IGF Awards

gdc12.jpgEpic Games’ Cliff Bleszinski (pictured), one of the key visionaries behind the Unreal and Gears of War games, will take the stage during the 2012 Game Developers Conference to host the 12th annual Game Developers Choice Awards.
In addition, Pocketwatch Games’ Andy Schatz, creator of 2010 Independent Games Festival Grand Prize winner Monaco will return for his fourth stint as host of the Independent Games Festival awards, now celebrating their 14th edition.
The two award ceremonies will take place at 6:30 PM on the evening of Wednesday, March 7th during GDC 2012 in San Francisco. For the third consecutive year, enthusiast video game site GameSpot will exclusively live stream both award shows via its official site, YouTube, and other streaming channels.
Once again, the Independent Games Festival will return to GDC to encourage the rise of independent game development and to recognize the best independent game titles. The 12th annual Game Developers Choice Awards recognizes the creativity, artistry and technical genius of leading industry professionals and games released in 2011.
As design director at Epic Games, Cliff Bleszinski has been a key visionary behind the award-winning, multimillion-selling Unreal series, as well as Gears of War, which has become a billion dollar franchise. The series’ original title received top honors at the 2007 Game Developers Choice Awards, and was crowned the winner of the Best Game, Best Technology and Best Visual Arts categories.

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Portal 2, Skyrim, Bastion lead finalists for 12th annual Game Developers Choice Awards

chaw10.jpgOrganizers have revealed the finalists for the 12th annual Game Developers Choice Awards, the leading peer-based video game industry event celebrating the industry’s top games and developers.

Nominations this year are led by three studios and their games, each of which received five Choice Award nods, including Bethesda Game Studios’ long awaited open-world fantasy RPG The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Valve’s cunning, charming sci-fi puzzle action title Portal 2.

Also nominated five times was newcomer Supergiant Games and its acclaimed downloadable action RPG Bastion, which saw nominations in four categories, plus one for the studio itself, for Best Debut.

Both Portal 2 and Skyrim were nominated for Game Of The Year as one of their nods. The other Game Of The Year nominees are Rocksteady Studios’s dark superhero game sequel Batman: Arkham City, From Software’s immersive hardcore RPG Dark Souls, and Eidos Montreal’s acclaimed franchise update Deus Ex: Human Revolution, also all multiple award-nominated.

Other titles with multiple nominations include Naughty Dog’s action adventure Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, and Team Bondi’s detective title L.A. Noire. A diverse set of overall nominees include titles with digital-physical crossover (Toys for Bob’s Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure – for Innovation), free-to-play elements to the fore (NimbleBit’s Tiny Tower – for Best Handheld/Mobile Game), and even no visual display at all (Die Gute Fabrik’s Johann Sebastian Joust – for Innovation).

Overall, the Game Developers Choice Awards are open to any video game, with no restrictions or payment for game submission, with open nominations from a plethora of game professionals helping to choose this year’s finalists. Winners will now be selected by the Game Developers Choice Awards-specific International Choice Awards Network (ICAN), which is an invitation-only group comprised of 500 leading game creators from all parts of the video game industry.

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Nominations Open For 12th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards

chaw10.jpgOrganizers of the Game Developers Conference 2012 have opened nominations for the 12th annual Game Developers Choice Awards through January 4, 2012, with all Gamasutra account-holding industry professionals able to nominate.

Taking place the evening of March 7, during GDC 2012 in San Francisco, these awards will encompass 13 categories for games that launched to retail or debuted online during the 2011 calendar year, and will honor the creativity, artistry and technical genius of leading industry professionals.

The ceremony will also include three special awards — Lifetime Achievement, the Pioneer Award and the Ambassador Award — which are open to anyone not previously recognized. Previous winners include luminaries such as Peter Molyneux, Yu Suzuki, Richard Garriott, John Carmack, and many more.

Nominations can now be submitted by any worldwide game professional registered with a Gamasutra account, simply by voting via the Game Developers Choice Awards website.

Winners will be selected by the Game Developers Choice Awards’ International Choice Awards Network (ICAN), which is a handpicked group comprised of 500 leading game creators from across of the video game industry.

Special Award winners are selected by the Game Developers Choice Awards Advisory Committee, which includes notable industry veterans from Valve, PopCap, ngmoco, BioWare, Zynga and more.

The award categories open for nominations until January 4th are as follows:

Regular Awards

– Best Audio
– Best Debut Game
– Best Downloadable Game
– Best Handheld/Mobile Game
– Best Game Design
– Best Narrative
– Best Technology
– Best Visual Arts
– Innovation Award
– Game of the Year

Special Awards

– Lifetime Achievement
– Pioneer Award
– Ambassador Award

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Red Dead Redemption, Minecraft Big Winners At 11th Annual Choice Awards

Rockstar San Diego’s critically-acclaimed Wild West adventure title Red Dead Redemption was the big winner at the 11th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards in San Francisco yesterday evening.

The awards were presented at a ceremony at UBM TechWeb Game Network’s historic 25th Game Developers Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, with Red Dead Redemption receiving a total of four awards, including Best Game Design and the coveted Game of the Year award.

Another award stand-out, Swedish developer Mojang’s 3D sandbox title Minecraft, received awards for Best Debut Game, Best Downloadable Game, and the Innovation Award. The game was also awarded the Seumas McNally Grand Prize earlier in the evening at the 11th Annual Independent Games Festival Awards, making this the first year a game has been recognized by both the GDCA and the IGF during the same year.

Other Choice Awards winners include BioWare’s emotionally-charged science fiction adventure Mass Effect 2, which won the award for Best Writing, and ZeptoLab’s iOS hit Cut the Rope, which took home the prize for Best Handheld Game.

Finally, the Best Visual Arts Award went to indie developer Playdead’s Xbox Live Arcade hit Limbo. The evocative monochrome puzzle platformer won last year’s Independent Game Festival Awards for Visual Art and Technical Excellence.

The Game Developers Choice Awards, which honor the very best games of the year, was created for and voted on by developers. The finalists were chosen via a combination of open game industry nominations and the votes of the leading creators in the Choice Awards Advisory Committee.

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Game Developers Choice Awards Honor Yu Suzuki, Brengle/MacKenzie

This March’s 11th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards, the peer-awarded highest honors in video game development, have revealed the recipients of its two final Special Awards – the Pioneer Award, for creating breakthrough video game genres or concepts, and the Ambassador Award, for those who “helped the game industry advance to a better place”.
This year’s Pioneer Award will be given to Sega Corporation veteran and game design legend Yu Suzuki, honoring his amazing work over the last three decades, inventing entire game genres and making seminal titles spanning Hang On through Virtua Fighter to Out Run, After Burner and Shenmue – and beyond.
In addition, the Ambassador Award, also picked by the prestigious Game Developers Choice Awards Committee, will celebrate the managers of the Game Developers Conference Associates (CA) program, Tim Brengle and Ian MacKenzie.
Yu Suzuki
Sega veteran Yu Suzuki will be making a rare Western appearance to accept his award in person on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at the San Francisco Moscone Center during Game Developers Conference 2011, where he will also be presenting a special one-off game design lecture.
Suzuki himself first joined Sega Corporation in 1983 and is well known for his many industry firsts and genre-originating titles. In 1985, Suzuki created innovative arcade game Hang On, one of the first ever titles where the player’s movement on a motorcycle facsimile was copied by the onscreen avatar.
From there, Suzuki’s output defined a ‘golden age’ of Sega arcade games, including all time classics such as Out Run, Space Harrier, After Burner, Power Drift, and Virtua Racing. Following this, his pioneering work in 1993 created Virtua Fighter, which spawned the 3D fighting game genre, and has been recognized for its contribution in the fields of Art & Entertainment by the Smithsonian Institution.

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Limbo, Red Dead, Mass Effect 2 Lead 11th Annual Choice Awards Nominees

Organizers have revealed the finalists for the 11th annual Game Developers Choice Awards, the leading peer-based video game industry event celebrating the industry’s top games and developers.

Nominations for games released in 2010 are led by indie developer Playdead’s Xbox Live Arcade hit Limbo. The evocative monochrome puzzle platformer, which was winner of last year’s Independent Game Festival Awards for Visual Art and Technical Excellence, received seven Choice Awards nominations in all, including one for Game of the Year.

The indie stand-out is closely followed by two other Game of the Year nominees, Rockstar San Diego’s western-themed open-world adventure game, Red Dead Redemption, with six nominations in total, and BioWare’s emotionally-charged science fiction adventure Mass Effect 2, with five nominations.

Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops and Ubisoft Montreal’s Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood also received multiple nominations, including one each for Game of the Year.

And, showcasing the diversity of the ‘for developers, by developers’ awards, other retail and digital games receiving multiple nominations include Double Fine’s Costume Quest, SCE Santa Monica’s God of War III¸ Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain, Uber Entertainment’s Monday Night Combat and Team Meat’s Super Meat Boy.

Swedish developer Mojang’s Minecraft was also a multiple nominee, receiving three Game Developers Choice nominations, particularly notable because of a concurrent-year first: the game is also a finalist for this year’s Independent Games Festival, where it also received three nominations.

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11th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards Opens Nominations

Organizers have announced that the 11th annual Game Developers Choice Awards, the most prestigious honors in the world of video game development, are now open for nominations through Jan. 4, 2011.

In its eleventh year of honoring the best games and developers, the Game Developers Choice Awards — the leading awards voted on by developers, and created for developers — has adopted a new voting methodology.

Nominations – as always – are selected by any game professional worldwide, simply by submitting ballots via the Game Developers Choice Awards website. (Submitters are required to log in with a Gamasutra.com username and password so professional developer status can subsequently be verified.)

Category finalists and Special Award winners are selected by the 20 person-strong Game Developers Choice Awards Advisory Committee, including notable industry veterans from Harmonix, Valve, PopCap, Ubisoft, BioWare, and more.

In addition, winners are now being selected by the Game Developers Choice Awards-specific International Choice Awards Network (ICAN), which is a new invitation-only group comprised of 500 leading game creators from all parts of the video game industry.

Choice Awards organizers believe that, in tandem with their goal of having the most focused, impartial awards in the game industry, this additional voting transparency will further boost the awards’ reputation.

The 2010 award categories are open for nominations to any member of the video game community until January 4th, combining both Regular and Special Award nominations, are:

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2010 Game Developers Choice Online Awards Opens Audience Award

Game Developers Choice Online Awards organizers have announced the opening of the Audience Award, encouraging online game fans worldwide to vote for their favorite persistent online game from now until September 24th.

The winner of the Audience Award will be revealed at the Choice Online Awards ceremony, to be held on the evening of October 7, 2010 as part of the 2010 Game Developers Conference Online (GDC Online), which is taking place at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas October 5-8.

The first-ever Game Developers Choice Online Awards – a sister event to GDC’s notable annual Game Developers Choice Awards in San Francisco – is the first award ceremony honoring the accomplishments of the creators and operators of online games.

Those voting for the Audience Award simply have to enter the name of the game and a valid email address to receive an email and confirm their vote. They may pick from any currently-operating persistent online game, whether it be a subscription MMO, free-to-play web game title, social network game, or anything else.

A good starting point to consider picks might be recently announced nominees of the Game Developer Choice Online Awards, which run the gamut of online titles. These developer-nominated titles span from expansive and hugely popular MMOs such as Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, through addictive social network-based titles like Farmville by Zynga, to breakout titles like Riot Games’ critically acclaimed League of Legends.

More information about the Game Developers Choice Online Awards is available at the official website for the awards. GDC Online — part of UBM TechWeb, as is this website — takes place in Austin, Texas from October 5-8, 2010. Information about sessions and still-open registration for the show is available at the GDC Online website.