‘Inscryption’ wins game of the year at the 22nd Annual GDC Awards

Inscryption, the genre-bending, deckbuilding rogue-like game that consistently surprises the player, developed by Daniel Mullins Games, transcends expectations once again to win the Game of the Year Award at tonight’s 22nd annual Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCA) ceremony, as well as the Seumas McNally Grand Prize during tonight’s Independent Games Festival Awards (IGF Awards), making it the first game to ever do so. The IGF Awards is the sister awards show which was held immediately before the GDCAs on the same stage. The ceremony was part of the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2022, which returned in-person to the Moscone Center Center in San Francisco.

Inscryption’s unique blend of deck-building rogue-like, escape-room style puzzles and psychological horror is the first game to ever be honoured with the top prize at both the Game Developers Choice Awards and the Independent Games Festival Awards. Inscryption uniquely took top honours during the awards ceremony, leading an impressive lineup of some of the very best games of the year. Winners were selected by the Game Developers Choice Awards-specific International Choice Awards Network (ICAN), which is an invitation-only organisation, composed of leading game creators from all parts of the industry.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, the dimension-hopping latest adventure of the famous duo in the long-running series developed by Insomniac Games, won the Best Visual Art and Best Technology awards. The zen puzzle game about the familiar experience of pulling possessions out of boxes and fitting them into a new home, Unpacking by Witch Beam, received both the award for Best Audio and the Innovation Award. Iron Gate Studio won Best Debut for its work on Valheim, an exploration and survival game set in a mysterious procedurally generated world inspired by Norse mythology. Valheim also won the Audience Award, which was selected through a public vote.

The other big winners of the night include the quirky and cerebral platform game Psychonauts 2 developed by Double Fine Productions, which won the Best Narrative award. Hazelight Studios’ It Takes Two, the heartfelt cooperative action-adventure about a couple going through a divorce forced to work together, won the Best Design award. The Social Impact Award, which recognises a game that advances equality, justice, intersectionality, and/or sustainability, and works to positively impact lives in a meaningful way, went to the dungeon crawler-dating sim, Boyfriend Dungeon by Kitfox Games.

In addition to the best games of the last year, the GDCAs also honour the dedicated individuals who have helped further the art, science and craft of video games with special awards. The Ambassador Award, which is presented to someone who has helped video games advance to a better place through advocacy and action, was given to Steven Spohn. Spohn is a driving force for accessibility in games and Senior Director of Development of the AbleGamers charity. The Lifetime Achievement Award recipient was Yuji Horii, the creator of the legendary Dragon Quest series. Horii’s groundbreaking work has influenced and inspired role-playing game design since the release of Dragon Quest in 1986.

“It’s always wonderful to be able to honor these individuals, who have created some of the most innovative and entertaining games from the past year, but it’s been extra special to be able hold the awards ceremony in person again tonight. The return of the Game Developers Choice Awards and GDC to the Moscone made this a memorable evening that we were delighted to share with such talented people,” said Informa Tech VP of Entertainment Media Katie Stern, who oversees the GDC.

The Game Developers Choice Awards winners are:

Best Debut
Iron Gate Studio for Valheim

Best Visual Art
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Insomniac Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Best Audio
Unpacking (Witch Beam / Humble Games)

Best Narrative
Psychonauts 2 (Double Fine Productions / Xbox Game Studios)

Social Impact Award
Boyfriend Dungeon (Kitfox Games)

Innovation Award
Unpacking (Witch Beam / Humble Games)

Best Technology
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Insomniac Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Best Design
It Takes Two (Hazelight Studios / Electronic Arts)

Audience Award
Valheim (Iron Gate Studio / Coffee Stain Publishing)

Game of the Year
Inscryption (Daniel Mullins Games / Devolver Digital)

Ambassador Award
Steven Spohn

Lifetime Achievement Award
Yuji Horii

The awards were live-streamed on the official Twitch channel for the Game Developers Conference (GDC) at Twitch.tv/GDC and are archived both on Twitch and on the official GDC YouTube Channel.