The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild won Game of the Year at last night’s Game Developers Choice awards. Hosted at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, BOTW also won Best Design and Best Audio. For Game of the Year, BOTW beat PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Nier: Automata, Horizon: Zero Dawn and Super Mario Odyssey. This is the latest in a long string of accolades for Nintendo’s latest entry in the Zelda franchise, including multiple Game of the Year awards. However, the annual GDC is an exclusive conference for industry insiders and developers, making this a particularly prestigious award. The Game Developers Conference presented many awards in multiple categories. Here’s a full list of the winners.
- Game of the Year: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo)
- Best Design: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo)
- Best Audio: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo)
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Tim Schafer
- Ambassador of the Year Award: Rami Ismail
- Best Mobile Game: Gorogoa (Buried Signal)
- Innovation Award: Gorogoa (Buried Signal)
- Best VR/AR Game: Superhot VR (Superhot Team)
- Best Debut: Cuphead (Studio MDHR)
- Best Visual Art: Cuphead (Studio MDHR)
- Best Narrative: What Remains of Edith Finch (Giant Sparrow)
- Best Technology: Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games)
- Audience Award: Nier: Automata (Platinum Games)
The critical success of Breath of the Wild is a testament not only to Nintendo’s first-party developers but also to the Nintendo Switch. The critically acclaimed “killer-app” should serve as a lesson to Sony and Microsoft.
Nintendo Switch’s “Killer-App”
Every new console sits in a limbo during launch until that one significant release incentives gamers to upgrade. The original Xbox had Halo: CE, the Playstation 3 had Uncharted and Nintendo’s Gameboy had Pokemon Red and Blue. However, Gamers Classified wrote in an article how the PS4 and Xbox One never received that “must-have” game until well after launch. Nintendo clearly learnt from Sony and Microsoft’s mistake because BOTW launched along side the Nintendo Switch. While Zelda has always been one of Nintendo’s biggest properties, 2017 was the year it overtook Mario.
As Nintendo launched the series into the open world, the bold new direction saw immediate critical and commercial success. Breath of the Wild currently sits as the #8 highest ranked game of all time on Metacritic, with a score of 97. It was also a commercial success, selling 4.7 million copies in the 6 months after release, excluding Wii U sales. As the game was so critically and commercially successful, it no doubt played a part in the breakout success of the Nintendo Switch, which sold more units in its first year than the Wii U sold in its lifetime. Strong first-party releases is something that the PS4, and especially the Xbox One, have lacked. With even more accolades under Nintendo’s belt, surely the Sony and Microsoft will take notice and follow Nintendo’s lead.
What do you think of the Game Developers Choice Awards? Do you agree with their winners? With Nintendo’s comeback year in 2017, do you think good games are still a fundamental factor is a changing console industry? Let us know in the comments.