Developers’ big night

500 games development executives packed into the Metropole Hotel in Brighton last night to see their contemporaries honoured in the fifth annual Develop Industry Excellence Awards.

Sony was a key winner, picking up the Grand Prix award, but it was just one of 17 different winners – proving that next-gen has spurred a truly diverse industry of creative talent.

Games like Evolution’s MotorStorm (PS3) and Zoe Mode’s Crush (PSP) took home prizes for best new IP, with Rare awarded a Visual Arts prize for its game Viva Piata and technology firm Havok named as best tools provider.

Stalwarts and newcomers alike were awarded double-whammies; Traveller’s Tales won the best independent developer award for the third year running and scored best use of a licence for Lego Star Wars II – Realtime Worlds meanwhile was awarded best new studio and the innovation prize for debut game Crackdown.

Other big winners were Sega – named as the development sector’s publishing hero – and Ubisoft’s network of studios in France, named as best in-house developer.

Rockstar Leeds scored the best handheld studio prize for the second year running.

Ian Hetherington, co-founder of the ‘80s publishing powerhouse Psygnosis, was crowned Development Legend. He is currently chairman of Evolution Studios and Real Time Worlds – two of the evening’s winners – and is ex-managing director of Grand Prix-winner Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.

All of which illustrates the contribution he has made – and continues to make – to the industry, and the overall wide range of prize winners at the fifth-annual Develop Awards.

The fact that no one company dominated the awards this year shows what a diverse range of talent this industry boasts,” said Michael French, editor, Develop Magazine.

It’s been a brilliant year for games, with new hardware allowing developers to really stretch their imagination – so competition for these prestigious awards has been fiercer than ever. Whilst the winners and the finalists will undoubtedly grab the headlines, everyone involved in games development should be applauded for continuing to broaden the market and those playing our games.”

The full list of winners is as follows:

New Console/PC IP
MotorStorm (Evolution/SCEE External Development)

New Handheld IP
Crush (Zoe Mode)

Best Use of a Licence
Lego Star Wars II (Traveller’s Tales)

Visual Arts
Rare (Viva Pinata)

Audio Accomplishment
FreeStyle (B-Boy)

Publishing Hero

Real Time Worlds (Crackdown)

Tools Provider

Best Use of Online
Eden Studios (Test Drive Unlimited)

Services & Outsourcing
Babel Media

Recruitment Company

New UK Studio
Realtime Worlds

Best Handheld Studio
Rockstar Leeds

Business Development

Independent Developer
Traveller’s Tales

In-House Developer
Ubisoft France

Development Legend
Ian Hetherington

Grand Prix
Sony Computer Entertainment

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