Top medal goes to 'Gears'

Microsoft’s “Gears of War” took top honors Wednesday at the Game Developers Choice Awards, the only vidgame industry kudofest to consider all major releases.

Tenth annual GDC awards were presented by the Intl. Game Developers Assn. and hosted by the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, where they were given out Wednesday night.

“Gears,” published by Microsoft and developed by Epic Games, won for overall best game, technology and visual arts.

“Gears of War” was also a big hit with the public. It has sold more than 3 million units since its November debut and became an instant franchise for Microsoft.

Other multiple award winners were Capcom’s “Okami,” developed by Clover Studios, and the Nintendo-published and developed “Wii Sports.”

“Okami,” a widely acclaimed but weak-selling Japanese game inspired by waterbrush art, took the prize for character design and was one of three titles to draw an innovation nod.

“Wii Sports,” which shipped for free with Nintendo’s Wii console and was widely celebrated as a fun social game to show off the Wii’s motion-sensing capabilities, took the game design prize and another innovation nod.

RedOctane’s “Guitar Hero II,” developed by Harmonix, won for audio, and “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess,” published and developed by Nintendo, took the GDC gong for writing.

Third innovation nod went to “Line Rider,” a hugely popular online game developed by Slovenian university student Bostjan Cadez.

Lifetime achievement prize went to Nintendo’s Shigero Miyamoto, creator of “Super Mario,” “Donkey Kong” and other franchises.

“Gears” was also the big winner at last month’s Interactive Achievement Awards, the other major vidgame kudofest. IAA has come under criticism, however, for excluding games that don’t come from paying members, such as Capcom, whose “Okami” didn’t take any IAA prizes.

Best Game
Gears of War (Developer: Epic Games / Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios) – Cliff Bleszinski, Michael Capps, Rod Fergusson

Audio
Guitar Hero II (Developer: Harmonix Music Systems / Publisher: RedOctane) – Jeff Allen, Eric Brosius, Izzy Maxwell

Character Design
kami (Developer: Clover Studio / Publisher: Capcom Entertainment) – Mari Shimazaki, Sawaki Takeyasu, Kenichirou Yoshimura

Game Design
Wii Sports (Nintendo) – Keizo Ohta, Takayuki Shimamura, Yoshiaki Yamashita

Technology
Gears of War (Developer: Epic Games / Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios) – Michael Capps, Ray Davis, Tim Sweeney, Daniel Vogel

Visual Arts
Gears of War (Developer: Epic Games / Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios) – Jerry O’Flaherty, Chris Perna

Writing
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Developer: Nintendo EAD / Publisher: Nintendo) – Kyogoku Aya, Nate Bihldorff, Mitsuhiro Takano

New Studio
Iron Lore Entertainment (Titan Quest) – Paul Chieffo, Jeff Goodsill, Brian Sullivan

Innovation
Line Rider – Bostjan Cadez
Okami (Clover Studio / Capcom Entertainment) -Atsushi Inaba, Hideki Kamiya
Wii Sports (Nintendo)

- Keizo Ohta, Takayuki Shimamura, Yoshiaki Yamashita

Lifetime Achievement
Shigeru Miyamoto

First Penguin
Alexey Pajitnov

Maverick
Greg Costikyan

Community Contribution
George “The Fat Man” Sanger

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