The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

All the Winners from the 2018 Game Developers Choice Awards

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The 18th annual Game Developers Choice Awards took place Wednesday, March 21, right in the middle of the Game Developers Conference. The awards honor the best game of the year, as selected by game developers.

The biggest winners of the evening were The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Game of the Year, Best Audio, Best Design), Gorogoa (Best Mobile Game, Innovation Award), and Cuphead (Best Debut, Vest Visual Art). See the full list of winners below, and watch the archived stream via Twitch.

GAME OF THE YEAR

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG Corporation)
Nier: Automata (PlatinumGames / Square Enix)
Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)

BEST AUDIO

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)
Cuphead (StudioMDHR)
Nier: Automata (PlatinumGames / Square Enix)
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (Ninja Theory)
Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)

BEST DEBUT

StudioMDHR (Cuphead)
Team Cherry (Hollow Knight)
Sidebar Games (Golf Story)
Infinite Fall (Night in the Woods)
Jason Roberts / Buried Signal (Gorogoa)

BEST DESIGN

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)
Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)
Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG Corporation)
Nier: Automata (PlatinumGames / Square Enix)

indie

BEST MOBILE GAME

Gorogoa (Jason Roberts / Buried Signal / Annapurna Interactive)
Reigns: Her Majesty (Nerial / Devolver Digital)
Hidden Folks (Adriaan de Jongh and Sylvain Tegroeg)
Monument Valley 2 (ustwo games)
Bury Me, My Love (The Pixel Hunt / Figs / ARTE France / Playdius)

INNOVATION AWARD

Gorogoa (Jason Roberts / Buried Signal / Annapurna Interactive)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)
What Remains of Edith Finch (Giant Sparrow / Annapurna Interactive)
Everything (David OReilly / Double Fine Productions)
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG Corporation)

BEST NARRATIVE

What Remains of Edith Finch (Giant Sparrow / Annapurna Interactive)
Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall / Finji)
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (Ninja Theory)
Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (MachineGames / Bethesda Softworks)

BEST TECHNOLOGY

Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Destiny 2 (Bungie / Activision)
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (Ninja Theory)
Assassin’s Creed: Origins (Ubisoft Montreal / Ubisoft)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)

BEST VISUAL ART

Cuphead (StudioMDHR)
Persona 5 (P-Studio / Atlus)
Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)
Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall / Finji)

BEST VR/AR GAME

Superhot VR (SUPERHOT Team)
Star Trek: Bridge Crew (Red Storm Entertainment / Ubisoft)
Lone Echo (Ready at Dawn / Oculus Studios)
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (Capcom)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks)

The award show also awarded the Audience Award, which is chosen via a public voting process, to NieR: Automata and PlatinumGames. Rami Ismail was awarded the Ambassador Award for his outreach to game developers around the world, while veteran game developer Tim Schafer was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Every year sees countless amazing games worthy of recognition, but this year in particular has seen some of the strongest titles to arrive this generation. The GDCAs give us an opportunity to reflect on and honor the games that provided us with endless joy,” said Katie Stern, General Manager of the Game Developers Conference. “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild helped us rediscover a childlike sense of adventure and discovery. Titles like Gorogoa and What Remains of Edith Finch offered us distinct creative visions that can only be experienced in games, and games like Cuphead and Horizon Zero Dawn crafted worlds we could lose ourselves in. Congratulations to all of tonight’s nominees and winners and thank you for your creativity and dedication.”

game of the year

Pixelkin’s 2017 Game of the Year

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Sometimes our favorite game of the year comes as a complete surprise. Not this year. We proudly declare The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as Pixelkin’s 2017 Game of the Year.

Breath of the Wild was one of the most anticipated games of the year. Not only was it the first 3D Zelda since 2011’s Skyward Sword on the Wii, but it was also a launch title for the Nintendo Switch, which has become a huge success for Nintendo.

The story reinforces themes of failure and redemption. Link wakes up to a bleak Hyrule where he was defeated a century ago, guided by the spirits and voices of the past. Monsters roam free, and a malevolent force, Ganon, swirls ominously around the ruins of Hyrule Castle. You could head there right after acquiring the glider and completing the wonderfully crafted opening hours atop the plateau, or strike off in any direction and explore.

Most open world games feature post-apocalyptic hellscapes, mature writing, and violent action. But this is Nintendo. Breath of the Wild features tropical beaches, staggering cliffs, dense jungles, and dangerous volcanoes. The world still feels like Hyrule, yet it reaches that perfect compromise between expansive and densely packed with hidden secrets and treasures.

Breath of the Wild boldly breaks many of the standard Zelda conventions, most notably the dungeon design. Instead of a steady progression of marquee dungeon crawls, Link can find over 100 shrines scattered around the world. These shrines cleverly employ challenging physics-based puzzles akin to levels in Portal using the several excellent tools you have at your disposal, such as magnetizing blocks and freezing water.

Completing shrines unlocks additional health and stamina, making it an important and fun side activity and a great excuse to explore a world stuffed with things to do. Shield surf down cliffs, hunt gigantic dragons, search for ingredients to upgrade your gear, discover hundreds (!) of Korok seeds to expand your inventory, take selfies in front of shooting stars, and tackle the mini-dungeons within the four Divine Beasts to weaken Ganon’s hold.

Nintendo Switch

Breath of the Wild was the vanguard for one of Nintendo’s best years in recent memory. It’s not every year we get a new Nintendo console, new Mario, and new Zelda, not to mention well-received sequels for Splatoon and Xenoblade Chronicles.

After some very lackluster console cycles in the Wii and Wii U, Nintendo has come roaring back, and that’s good for gaming, and especially gaming families. Breath of the Wild is single-player only, but remains a wonderfully enjoyable game for the family to gather around, between the cartoony art and creature designs, the physical combat system, and the story of courage and perseverance. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is destined to enter the pantheon of all-time greatest games, and easily warrants our Game of the Year for 2017.

Nintendo Details Master Trials DLC for Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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The first DLC pack for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is called The Master Trials, and it’s launching this Summer. Nintendo has provided a detailed breakdown of what all is included in the DLC.

Trial of the Sword is the new name for what was previously called “Cave of Trials.” It’s a special location where Link starts without any armor and weapons, and must defeat enemies room-to-room like a Survival/Horde mode. The Trial of the Sword will include around 45 total rooms. Upon completion the Master Sword will receive an upgrade – permanent powered-up mode!

Hard Mode should be self-explanatory. Breath of the Wild is already one of the most challenging Zelda games ever designed. But for those looking for additional challenge, here’s your Hard Mode. All enemies receive a rank upgrade (red bokoblins to blue) and regenerate health, forcing you to defeat them quickly. Sneaking up on enemies will also be more difficult. Finally, floating planks will appear around Hyrule. If you can reach them, you can battle additional enemies and collect treasure.

The Hero’s Path Mode will augment your map, showing every step you’ve taken in the world. The new green-colored route on your map will track up to 200 hours of play time. It even works retroactively. This should help in remembering where you’ve been, and where you still need to go to find all the shrines.

A new treasure chest in the world will contain the Travel Medallion. This unique item allows Link to create a new fast-travel point anywhere in the world. You can only register one travel point at a time.

A new Korok Mask helmet will act like the Shrine Sensor for Korok Seeds. When equipped the mask will shake, indicating a nearby Korok.

Finally, the DLC adds eight new pieces of equipment inspired by previous Zelda games, such as Majora’s Mask.

The Master Trials DLC is not being sold separately. You’ll need to purchase the Season Pass for $19.99. The Season Pass will also include the second DLC, which is due out this Holiday. Details about what’s included in that DLC are still forthcoming. No specific date other than Summer has been announced for the Master Trials DLC.

 

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review: A New Frontier

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Available On: Switch, Wii U

I was incredibly fortunate to play The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time when it launched for the Nintendo 64 around Thanksgiving 1998. While most game developers were struggling to make the awkward transition into 3D graphics, Nintendo blew everyone away with a fully 3D Hyrule to explore and adventure in.

While Ocarina of Time could be considered the prototype for open-world adventures, the genre really didn’t take off until MMORPGs and RPGs like Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls series embraced giant 3D worlds. These days nearly every big game is an open world adventure, and it’s become more of a rote expectation.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild redefines what it means to be an open-world adventure, creating a vast frontier of possibility. Ocarina of Time remains one of my all time favorite games, and I’m here to tell you that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the best 3D Zelda game ever made.
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