With the major awards announced, we often forget some of the other finer aspects that go into the development of a hit title. From the background score to the men and women behind our favourite characters, these categories may not need a page devoted to each of them, but they do deserve some attention.
Here’s a look at some of the games and persons who have earned their own rewards.
Playing a game is one thing, but in this modern age, we want to experience it with a character that we can relate to. This year, we took the reins of numerous avatars, plunging head-first into massive open areas and linear stages.
And the winner and puppy-rescuer of the year is…
Batman – Arkham City
A no-brainer this one, as the Dark Knight swooped in with more gadgets, muscles and character this year when compared to his first outing back in the asylum. With one extraordinarily bad night about to happen to the worlds greatest detective, players took control of him and unleashed an explosive combination of face-punching and detective work.
From the thrilling opening scenes to the shocking ending, the caped crusader stood tall, and with several defining moments that reinforced the strength of his conviction, Arkham City was the game in which the Dark Knight rose to the challenge.
Runner-up: Dominic Santiago
Anyone who played Gears of War 3 will know why, and I’m not spoiling it.
Easy enough to understand, we’re looking to find that one individual without a compassionate bone in their body. Someone who is really repulsive, and deserved that final quick-time event leading up their death.
And the most evil winner is…
General Serrano – Bulletstorm
In a game filled with unlikeable characters, Serrano was by far the worst. Hurling insults that ranged from nonsense and racist to just pure disgusting, Serrano was like the bastard child of legendary drill sergeant R Lee Ermey and a thesaurus of swearing.
Using any means necessary to achieve his goals, Serrano took the idea of a campy video game villain, shot it in the kneecaps and then dragged it away screaming before bashing its skull in with a lead pipe.
A foul-mouthed, well-resourced tornado of hate and evil, Serrano is our villain of the year.
Runner-up: The Joker – Batman Arkham City
There’s no denying that voice-actor Mark Hammil pulled out all the stops this year for his final performance as the fan favourite Batman villain, but the insane charm brought to the character made it kind of difficult to really hate him, and combined with his limited screen time in Arkham City, a character who only had a real impact on the events surrounding the game when the final curtain began to close.
There’s a lot that goes into a game, to make it truly great, but one of those elements that is absolutely necessary, is a stirring score that must know when to balance action-packed solos with mood-setting explorative cues.
And the winner of the soundtrack that got our feet tapping is…
Deus Ex Human Revolution Original soundtrack – By Michael McCann
The majority of gaming soundtracks this year have gone the Hollywood blockbuster route, featuring booming trumpets and screeching Latin lyrics, trading subtlety for an explosive track that is normally only found in trailers for upcoming films.
While such sounds aren’t necessarily bad, the effect of having several games use such musical themes means that the background noise becomes quite diluted in the end. Deus Ex Human Revolution was the exception to the rule however, blending a well-timed orchestra with subtle electronic sounds and notes, creating an audio renaissance which carried the main game itself superbly, enhancing the experience instead of distracting from it.
Runner-up: The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim – By Jeremy Soule
We’d be lying if we said that we didn’t enjoy the more epic moments of the mega-hit adventure-RPG, and when it came to epic orchestral scores, Skyrim did not disappoint. Utilising the created mythology of shouting and dragon-tongue, the score helped emphasise the heroic aspects of your character, fully immersing us in the role of a dragon-slaying saviour.
Best Voice Actor
It’s not enough to just push button X to do something inside of a game anymore. Gamers are smarter than that, and crave that immersive experience. One way of doing so is to create a character that grows and matures throughout the course of a title and franchise, creating an avatar that we can get behind and relate to.
And the winner of the voice that made us want to believe is…
Roger Craig Smith – Ezio Auditore
The Assassins Creed franchise has grown remarkably over the last three years, due to vastly improved gameplay, settings and a character that we really enjoyed. Crucial to that success, is the casting of Roger Craig Smith as the Italian Assassin, Ezio Auditore.
It wasn’t just a role that featured an angry man with blades running around in a blood-rage, but an intelligent portrayal of a character throughout his life, an entity that felt almost human. From his fledgling days in Assassins Creed 2, to his mature evolution in Brotherhood and Revelations, with the role ending in the short film Embers, Smith portrayed a character that was cold and calculating one moment, to passionate and driven the next.
When it came to believable persons in a digital environment, the Renaissance killer was one of the best this year.
Runner-up: Nolan North – For everybody else
It’s been a busy year for Mr North again, as he lent his vocal talents to numerous characters, such as Drake from Uncharted, Desmond Myles in Assassins Creed Revelations and even doing a rather nasty and impressive version of the Penguin in Arkham City.
And while his voice may have sounded slightly diluted after diluted after featuring in so many roles, it was still a familiar and welcoming experience to start a game and hear his seasoned voice guiding us whenever we started a new game.
Last Updated: December 22, 2011