The most astoundingly creative men and women in games development helped make the 2011 Develop Awards a vintage year for the event.
And, reflecting an industry at a crossroads, it was the indies who took over.
Crytek, Mojang, Valve, Somethin’ Else, Playdead, Ninja Theory, Epic Games and Mind Candy are just some of the winning indies who are today shaping the modern games business.
Scroll below for pictures that capture some of the best moments on the night.
IN PICTURES: THE 2011 DEVELOP AWARDS
Iain Lee gets the event going by reading video games jokes sourced from Twitter. 8/10
Tom Wrigglesworth picks things up with his act...
...though he's clearly met his match with a drunken Martyn Brown, who never gave up on heckling
The Ninja Theory Team are the first winners of the night, picking up the award for New IP. The studio’s Mike Ball went on stage to thank “our passionate partners, our publisher, Namco Bandai, who believed in the passion and our team that oozes passion constantly”.
Markus Persson picks up the award for New Download IP. He says to Martyn Brown “are you Chris HECKLER”? Thank god he focuses his talents on game design…
The Codemasters Birmingham team score big with the award for Use of a Licence or IP. The studio’s Alex McLean said the award “goes a long way to helping everyone who made the game”.
A delighted Dino Patti takes stage after Limbo creators Playdead win the visual accomplishment award, in a category featuring the likes of Bulletstorm, Crysis 2, Enslaved and Killzone 3.
A shocked Adam Hoyle accepts the award for Audio Accomplishment. “We really didn’t think we were going to get this,” he said. His studio, Somethin’ Else, won with the iOS title Papa Sangre. “As it’s an art game it’s great to see that the games industry has recognised it,” Hoyle added.
Valve’s Gabe Newell sends a special message from his Bellevue, Washington HQ, after picking up the award for Publishing Hero.
Kinect scoops the Technical Innovation award for building Kinect. Microsoft’s Mike Froggatt said the Develop Awards were “the Nobel Prize of the games industry”, before thanking the team at Microsoft Cambridge.
A delighted Andy Emery of Side UK accepts the award for Audio Outsourcer. “Every project we work on is a team effort, so thanks to our staff, and thanks to everyone here,” he said.
Who’d have guessed that the team that created the Dead Island trailer would’ve won visual outsourcer?!
Axis Animation add another gong to the trophy cabinet.
A modest speech by Mick Morris at Audiomotion, who’s fantastic team edged ahead of the likes of Babel Media and Testology to receive the Services Award.
An emotional moment for Andy Campbell at Specialmove, who dedicated the Recruitment award to his father who passed away earlier this year.
Industry giants Autodesk receive the award for Tolls Provider
“Wow, three years in a row,” said Epic Games’ Mark Rein, who now claims a triumvirate of Best Engine awards.
Mojang began to dominate the proceedings, picking up the award for both New Studio and New Micro Studio. “This is slightly overwhelming and very cool,” Markus Persson said. “It's been an amazing 12 months. I was working on it on my own as a sole proprietorship, and then we decide to start the studio, and apparently people like the game. Even I like the game.”
Rovio Mobile’s Ville Heijari shakes the hand of Develop’s Will Freeman, having won the award for Handheld Studio. “This is a really, really humbling experience,” Heijari said.
Mind Candy founder Michael Acton-Smith kisses his award for Business Development. Bizarrely, it is the group’s first Develop Award.
Crowd-pleasers Media Molecule pick up the prize for in-house studio.
Crytek are cheered on stage for winning Independent Developer award.
An emotional Ian Livingstone watches on as a packed room give him a standing ovation for over two minutes.
“What’s really gratifying about this is that it has been given to me by my piers within the industry. I value that so much more than some of the other things I’ve received in my life. It’s really nice that people have enjoyed what we’ve done”
But it was Rovio Mobile, and the scene that the studio represents that stole the show. Ville Heijari accepts the Grand Prix Award, the biggest studio accolade of the night.