The 32nd Golden Joysticks awards was an extremely triumphant day and one that stands as an ever increasing landmark of the popularity of both the awards and the gaming industry in general. There were deserved winners and some close runners up all presented excellently by Ed Byrne who lent flare, comedy and knowledge to the proceedings.
Ubisoft Montreal scooped up the award for studio of the year whose work was further reinforced as Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag claimed two awards for best audio and best visual design. It stood as a great testament to their hard work over the years on the franchise and has given them the platform to keep developing it into a great mainstay of modern gaming as one of the modern greats.
Oculus Rift DK2 retained it’s award from last year bagging the award of Best Innovation and it’s without a doubt one of gaming’s most exciting prospects in years to come. In year’s past virtual reality gaming on a realistic, viable basis has seemed out of reach but since Oculus Rift has come onto the scene it’s made that possibility a very real thing. With their recent financial backers in the form of Facebook it’s clear that very soon it has big potential to be a household name.
DayZ picked up two awards for Best Original Game and Best Indie Game. This game started out simply as a mod for Arma 2 but with the hard work that the creator Dean Hall put into it he was taken on by Bohemia Studios to make it into a standalone game. An inspiration for aspiring developers and modders that goes to show how far you can end up going if you get things right and create something great. The award for Gaming Platform Of The Year went to Steam of which DayZ is available through which has no doubt been a big help to it alongside the many fantastic features of Steam and the rich landscape of PC gaming would no doubt be nowhere near as rich without it.
Rust picked up the award for Playfire Most Played Of The Year. Another mod turned standalone game which started out in similar fashion to DayZ, another inspirational story. It’s alpha version released early this year sold 150,000 copees in it’s first two weeks of early access release and as new version have been released it has only gathered momentum culminating in this, an outstanding triumph.
The award for Best Multiplayer was awarded to Battlefield 4, in recent years Battlefield has been slowly building momentum which Battlefield 3 really started to capitalise on and with Battlefield 4 EA are starting to get on top of things and push it further. Pokémon X & Y was awarded Best Handheld game and for years the franchise has been at the forefront of Nintendo’s handheld game repertoire, a great win for both Game Freak and Nintendo.
Two awards were claimed by Hearthstone: Heroes Of Warcraft for Best Online Game and Best Mobile Game. Blizzard’s seemingly simple online card game gained itself following and great critical acclaim since it’s release and has already had global tournaments held for it since release. It goes to show a well executed simple idea can be as effective if not more effective as a complex one.
Gaming Personality Of The Year was awarded to none other than Pewdie Pie. Since the young Swede’s beginnings as a gaming commentator on Youtube he’s had a meteoric rise and in the past year his channel has surpassed Rihanna’s channel to become the most popular of all time. In total his channel has had over 6.2 billion views and has been part of fundraising for various charities making him a very worthy winner of this award. He could not be at the awards himself but sent in a heartfelt video expressing his joy at winning the award.
The Last Of Us: Left Behind picked up two awards for Best Storytelling and Best Gaming Moment for ‘The Kiss’ scene. A truly great game and a great DLC which has lead to it picking up two very impressive awards which are made even more impressive for the fact they’ve been awarded to a piece of additional content as opposed to a main game. You cannot take anything away from it though, Left Behind is a truly heart-warming and heart breaking story that is fully worth your time.
Part of the way through the awards show we were treated to the airing of trailer for The Witcher III:Wild Hunt. It looks like an incredibly impressive, sinister and moving as the trailer impressed upon us all. The expectations are high for it as it as it received the award for Most Wanted, after the intricate and cerebral experience of The Witcher 2 it’s only natural for there to be so much expected of the follow up. With how well thought out it’s predecessor was there’s little doubt that the follow up will improve and exceed it.
The award for Lifetime Achievement was presented to Hideo Kojima, the mastermind behind the Metal Gear series. A fitting award for a very deserving candidate who has either written, directed or produced every Metal Gear game to date and has spent half of his life working on them since the first Metal Gear back in 1987! Recently he has confirmed he’s working on the upcoming Silent Hills game, the next in the Silent Hill franchise which will also feature Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead in character and voice and is also receiving directing assistance from Guillermo del Toro. It’s an incredibly exciting prospect, one of which I cannot wait to get my hands on.
That brings us to the final award, Game Of The Year. I had no idea of which game would receive this award as the shortlist was extremely formidable. However, Dark Souls II came out on top and beat all of the opposition. A game born out of desire from the developers of not to hold the player’s hand and offers no in depth tutorials, instead it leaves them to work things out for themselves. It may seem unfair but if you approach it carefully, think about it and persevere the sense of reward you get from it is absolutely excellent. It harks back to the early days of gaming where the only way to beat games was through rational thinking and patience and it is being recognised for presenting gamers with a satisfying, substantial and rewarding experience on the basis of this win. A great win for From Software and Bandai Namco Games, congratulations to them both!
And there we have it, so wraps up my highlights of the 32nd Golden Joysticks Awards. A huge special mention to Computer And Video Games magazine for keeping it going this long and long may it continue!