DICE's Battlefield 3 has been voted Game of the Show of Gamescom 2011 by nine Eurogamer Network sites.
The military shooter, which was also probably the most popular exhibit on the show floor in Cologne, topped our list of 10 nominees.
Game of the Show
- Battlefield 3 / Developer: DICE / Publisher: EA
- Batman: Arkham City / Developer: Rocksteady / Publisher: Warner Bros.
- BioShock Infinite / Developer: Irrational / Publisher: 2K
- Borderlands 2 / Developer: Gearbox / Publisher: 2K
- Diablo 3 / Developer & Publisher: Blizzard
- Dishonored / Developer: Arkane / Publisher: Bethesda
- The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim / Developer & Publisher: Bethesda
- FIFA 12 / Developer & Publisher: EA Sports
- Mass Effect 3 / Developer: BioWare / Publisher: EA
- Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception / Developer: Naughty Dog / Publisher: Sony
The nominees and winner were chosen via a voting process involving staff from the nine Eurogamer Network sites attending gamescom this year: Eurogamer.net in the UK and our friends in the Benelux countries, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. Each site had an equal vote.
Battlefield 3 has been selected by EA to spearhead its aggressive competition with Activision's dominant shooter series Call of Duty (the latest entry, Modern Warfare 3, just missed making our list of nominees by a whisker). So it's been granted an explosive single-player campaign and a gigantic marketing budget that certainly made it hard to ignore at Gamescom this year.
But those aren't the reasons it tops our awards, nor, we'd wager, why it struck such a chord with the thousands of game fans attending the show in Cologne.
The clues are in the game's title and the spectacular video above. Battlefield 3 is the full-fledged and long-awaited return of true Battlefield - a unique spin on the military shooter that none outside of Swedish developer DICE have been able (and few have even attempted) to replicate since 2005's Battlefield 2.
Thematic spin-offs such as 2142 and the Bad Company games, and slimmed-down online editions like Heroes and 1943, have been worthy bearers of the Battlefield name, but none have quite fulfilled its promise of cutting-edge first-person and vehicular multiplayer combat on the grandest scale.
It took one look at the Caspian Border trailer, showing the PC's 64-player multiplayer mode and sensational graphics, to realise that promise will finally be fulfilled when the game launches on 28th October this year.
It's both slightly frustrating and part of Battlefield 3's high-tech thrill that console gamers won't be able to taste quite the same experience; but all versions look thoroughly comprehensive, with co-op added to DICE's famous multiplayer and its increasingly confident single-player campaigns, which present military and physical realism through a thrilling cinematic filter.
But perhaps the best thing you can say about Battlefield 3 is that it has already swept away our ennui with a military shooter genre that Call of Duty's ubiquity and dominance, however well deserved, had threatened to render stale. Suddenly, playing soldiers seems exciting again.
Congratulations to DICE! We'll bring your surprisingly tasteful award to Stockholm as soon as we can.