Unusual ‘Journey’ videogame tops with game makers

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SAN FRANCISCO–A videogame centered on a wordless walk across a picturesque desert walked away with top honors Thursday at the major Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

‘Journey’ created by Thatgamecompany and released last year as a download to Sony PlayStation 3 consoles claimed six Game Developers Choice Awards, including Game of the Year.

Players guide a robed character on a desert trek toward a distant mountain. Characters in the game occasionally come upon other travelers with whom they can wordlessly share bits of the walk.

Thatgamecompany describes ‘Journey’ as “an interactive parable, an anonymous online adventure to experience a person’s life passage and their intersections with others.”

The winner of a new audience award category was ‘Dishonored’ by Arkane Studios.

Publisher Bethesda Softworks defied the trend to play it safe with sequels to blockbuster franchises and enlisted Arkane to craft a captivating new title in which outwitting adversaries can trump besting them in battle.

Swashbucklers can slash and shoot their ways to victory, but violent tactics darken the city and increased chaos on the streets changes how the story goes.

“The player can play the game in the way he really wants,” lead programmer Sylvain Praloix said when the game launched. “He can play the entire game without killing anybody or be a wild beast and attack everybody.”

Players take on the role of the bodyguard of a caring empress desperate to save her city from the plague. The empress is killed, with her bodyguard framed for the crime.

He becomes a supernatural assassin, using wits, weapons and powers such as controlling wind and conducting rats to unravel the plot and exact revenge.

The open design of the fictional city leaves strategies to players, allowing options such as sneaking over buildings, creeping through tunnels, swimming underwater or wiping out everyone in the way.

The award for best narrative went to Telltale Games zombie shooter title ‘The Walking Dead’ while ‘Far Cry 3′ by French videogame maker Ubisoft won in a Best Technical category.

Game Developers Choice Award winners are selected by an invitation-only group of 700 leading members of the videogame industry, according to GDC.

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