Video gaming has come a long way since Pong and Pac-Man, perhaps none as far as the visceral post-apocalyptic action title The Last of Us, which took home the title of Game of the Year at the recent Game Developers Choice Awards.
Held during the annual Game Developers Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, the game also won the Best Design and Best Narrative categories.
The zombie thriller also stole the show at February's DICE Awards in Las Vegas, taking home the coveted Game of the Year award, and nine other accolades, including Outstanding Achievement in Story, Outstanding Innovation in Gaming, Adventure Game of the Year, and Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction.
Irrational Games' steampunk-heavy BioShock Infinite — the highly anticipated followup to 2007's BioShock — also fared well, capturing awards for Best Audio and Best Visual Art, further bolstering the title's place in history as one of the most acclaimed first-person shooter series.
All honours were created for and voted on by developers; winners are selected by the Game Developers Choice Awards-specific, invitation-only International Choice Awards Network (ICAN), made up of more than 2,200 leading game creators.
"All the GDCA winners and nominees took risks that paid off in brilliant gameplay and unforgettable moments," GDC general manager Meggan Scavio said in a statement. "It's an amazing time for gaming, and we're proud to recognise titles with mature narratives and innovative gameplay that are truly pushing the medium forward."
Some of the faces behind the games were also recognised for their contribution to the art, science, and craft of video games. This year's Pioneer Award went to Riot Games co-founders Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill, who built the player-focused company that created League of Legends.
For her work advancing video games "to a better place" through advocacy, media critic Anita Sarkeesian, creator of Feminist Frequency, took home the Ambassador Award. Sarkeesian's video game series, which was born through a successful Kickstarter campaign, explores women in game and pop culture narratives.
The night's greatest honour — the Lifetime Achievement award — was given to Ken Kutaragi, the "Father of the PlayStation," who helped create the original PlayStation hardware platform.
A full list of recipients for the 14th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards:
- Best Downloadable Game: Papers, Please (Lucas Pope)
- Best Narrative: The Last of Us (Naughty Dog/Sony)
- Best Visual Art: BioShock Infinite (Irrational Games/2K Games)
- Ambassador Award: Anita Sarkeesian
- Best Technology: Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar North/Rockstar Games)
- Best Game Design: The Last of Us
- Best Handheld/Mobile Game: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (Nintendo EAD/Nintendo)
- Best Audio: BioShock Infinite
- Pioneer Award: Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill of Riot Games
- Best Debut: The Fullbright Company (Gone Home)
- Innovation Award: Papers, Please
- Audience Choice Award: Kerbal Space Program (Squad)
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Ken Kutaragi
- Game of the Year: The Last of Us