The Develop:Star Awards 2022 recently took place, celebrating the achievements of developers and the success of games and creativity.
Held on July 12 in Brighton, United Kingdom, the awards ceremony was held as part of the Develop:Brighton conference and saw accolades presented across the across 20 categories.
One of the biggest winners at the event, PlayStation exclusive Horizon Forbidden West, an action-adventure title by Guerrilla Games which won two awards including Best Game, an accolade for “the game that stands out above all others in terms of gameplay, storytelling, art style, character development, creativity and overall player experience – across all genres and platforms”. It also won Best Visual Art.
Horizon Forbidden West is a sequel to 2017’s Horizon Zero Dawn, which, as described on the PlayStation website, sees the return of protagonist Aloy “as she braves the Forbidden West – a majestic but dangerous frontier that conceals mysterious new threats”.
In Forbidden West, players “explore distant lands, fight bigger and more awe-inspiring machines, and encounter astonishing new tribes as you return to the far-future, post-apocalyptic world of Horizon”.
Fellow PlayStation exclusive Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart was also among the winners, garnering the award for Best Technical Innovation. Rift Apart is an action-adventure platformer developed by Insomniac Games which sees intergalactic adventurers Ratchet and Clank go dimension-hopping as they take on an evil emperor from another reality.
The award for Best Original IP went to Deathloop, a first-person shooter developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. The game sees two rival assassins trapped in a mysterious time loop on the island of Blackreef, where the only chance for escape is to end the cycle by assassinating eight key targets before the day resets.
Best Narrative went to Life is Strange: True Colors. Developed by Deck Nine and published by Square Enix, this narrative adventure game is centred on a character named Alex Chen who has the ability to absorb the emotions of others. “When her brother dies in a so-called accident, Alex must embrace her power to find the truth.”
Another Square Enix title, Guardians of the Galaxy, took home the award for Best Audio. This third-person action adventure title developed by Eidos Montreal sees the player assume the role of Star-Lord, leading the unpredictable Guardians of the Galaxy “from one explosion of chaos to the next”.
The award for Best Extended Reality Game, which is for “an outstanding virtual, augmented or mixed reality game that offers the best overall player experience, including gameplay, immersion, innovation and originality” was won by Resident Evil 4 VR, an updated virtual reality (VR) version of the survival horror game originally released by Capcom in 2005.
Best Game Design went to Unpacking, which was developed by Witch Beam and published by Humble Bundle, and is described as “a zen puzzle game about unpacking a life”.
As the game’s website explains, “Unpacking is a game about the familiar experience of pulling possessions out of boxes and fitting them into a new home. Part block-fitting puzzle, part home decoration, you are invited to create a satisfying living space while learning clues about the life you’re unpacking. Over the course of eight house moves, you are given a chance to experience a sense of intimacy with a character you never see and a story you’re never told.”
Also presented was an award for Best Mobile Game, which went to LEGO Star Wars Battles by TT Games. This action game sees players lead LEGO Star Wars characters “into real-time, multiplayer PvP (player versus player) battles in arenas inspired by iconic locations from throughout the galaxy”.
Meanwhile, the Tomorrow’s Star award, which recognises the achievements of new talent in the games industry, went to Charmie Kim from Space Ape Games, while the award for Diversity Star, which celebrates an individual who has shown a commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity within the games industry, was won by Charu Desodt from Interior Night.
The award for Best Studio was won by Sumo Digital, while Acid Nerve won the Best Micro Studio accolade.
Media Molecule Live Services Team won the Marketing Star award, Curve Games won Publishing Star and Sumo Group won Recruitment Star. The award for Best Creative Provider went to d3t, Best QA & Localisation Provider; was won by Keywords Studios and the Best Technology Provider award was won by Unreal Engine.
In addition, Studio and Co-Creative Director at Arkane Lyon Dinga Bakaba received the Develop Star Award, which honours “an extraordinary game developer for outstanding achievement and contribution to the industry”.
Bakaba was announced by organisers Tandem Events as the recipient of the Develop Star Award back in March in the lead up to the awards ceremony.
In a press statement, Bakaba said, “I am humbled to receive this beautiful award. I hope it can inspire new and aspiring developers, and it certainly motivates me to continue giving my best with the incredible team at Arkane Lyon to surprise and delight players!”