SAN FRANCISCO - "Journey" arrived on top at the Game Developers Choice Awards.
The artsy video game developed by thatgamecompany swept the 13th annual ceremony Wednesday with six wins, including game of the year and the innovation award. "Journey" was also honored for best audio, game design, visual arts and as best downloadable game.
"I really think the success of `Journey' is because we're standing on the shoulder of the giants," said "Journey" designer and thatgamecompany co-founder Jenova Chen.
The wordless but emotional downloadable PlayStation 3 game casts players as a mysterious scarfed figure that must trek across a desert, through temples and toward a towering mountain. Other players appear online in the game, but they aren't able to communicate with words or sound.
"If you've played the game, you can imagine how difficult it was for the team to go through it," said Chen. "Particularly at the mountain, right before the end. It was very, very stressful. I actually had to go see a psychiatrist."
Selected by a jury of game creators, the Game Developers Choice Awards honor the best games of the past year.
Other winners at the Moscone Convention Center ceremony included Ubisoft's island shoot-'em-up "Far Cry 3" for best technology, Telltale Games' interactive zombie drama "The Walking Dead" for best narrative, Fireproof Studios' puzzler "The Room" for best handheld/mobile game. Arkane Studios' stealthy revenge tale "Dishonored" won the inaugural audience award, which was chosen by online votes.
Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, masterminds of such seminal role-playing games as "Baldur's Gate," "Knights of the Old Republic" and "Mass Effect," were honored with the lifetime achievement award.
"Spacewar!" developer Steve "Slug" Russell received the pioneer award for his contribution to video games. Russell's "Spacewar!" was created in 1962 and is considered to be among the first digital computer games.
Chris Melissinos, creator of the Smithsonian American Art Museum's "The Art of Video Games" exhibit, was presented with the ambassador award, which recognizes individuals who have helped advanced the gaming industry.
"Thank you to all the game creators who have provided me with a lifetime of inspiration," Melissinos said while accepting his trophy. "You've had a much larger impact on the world than you may believe."