For the last few weeks EuroGamer has been running its second annual Gaming Globe Awards, recognising excellence across the entire spectrum of game design, from storylines and soundtracks to visual effects and artwork. Having invited our readers to nominate their own favourite games, developers and characters for the fifteen categories that make up the Gaming Globes, our team of experts here at EuroGamer put together a final short list of five nominees for each category.
Public voting on which of those five nominees would win each award ended last week, and now we are happy to announce the final results of the 2001 Gaming Globe Awards!
John "Gestalt" Bye
The nominees for the "Best Game" award for the best overall game of the year 2000 on any platform, were -
And the winner is... Baldur's Gate II
Once again the big winner in the Gaming Globe awards is a role-playing game from Interplay's Black Isle Studios division. Last year it was their own Planescape Torment which picked up several awards, while this year Bioware's Baldur's Gate II has collected the all-important Best Game trophy. The Baldur's Gate series and its various spin-offs have helped to pump new life into the twisted corpse of the role-playing genre, and with more Baldur's Gate on the way (this time on console), as well as Bioware's innovative online game Neverwinter Nights, it looks like the companies might just be on a roll...
Bioware co-founders Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka had this to say about their success in this year's awards -
The nominees for the "Designer" award, for the lead designer of the game with the best original concept, design and implementation, were -
And the winner is... Warren Spector
A veteran of both the role-playing and computer game industries, Warren has worked on some seminal titles over the years, from his early days with Steve Jackson Games and TSR back in the 1980s to time spent with Origin and Looking Glass. He has contributed to a whole host of classic games ranging from Ultima Underworld and System Shock to Wing Commander and Wings of Glory. His latest game, Deus Ex, is an innovative mixture of action, stealth and conspiracy laden role-playing elements. One of the biggest critical hits of last year, it also topped the charts here in the UK and other European countries.
Foreign Language Game
The nominees for the "Foreign Language Game" award, for the best game originally developed and released in a language other than English, were -
And the winner is... Final Fantasy IX
Dark times have spread over the world of Gaia, with the four governing nations fighting a patchy war of atrocity and subterfuge. Of the four, only the honourable and trustworthy Regent Cid has his people's interests at heart, and realises that the real threat comes from the evil Queen of the Alexandria Empire, whose dabblings in black magic and lack of concern for life could engulf the whole of Gaia. Fighting her from the very trenches, your wily group of banditos are enlisted by Regent Cid to kidnap the Princess Garnet, who herself lives in fear of her mother's wrath. But the Queen is more of a force to be reckoned with than had previously been thought, and the game develops into the most elaborate adventure we have seen since, well, Final Fantasy VII. Unique, exciting, beautiful, and unquestionably the best foreign language game to appear in 2000.
Male Lead Character
The nominees for the "Male Lead Character" award, for the best male character with a leading role in a game (generally someone who is central to the storyline and under the player's direct control), were -
And the winner is... Garrett
It seems that some time during the night the sarcastic master thief Garrett let loose a couple of water arrows, bopped our security guards on the head with a large blunt instrument, and abseiled down the outside of the building with the Best Male Lead Character gong. Garrett's role in Thief II made him a popular choice with our readers, and we can look forward to him appearing in a third adventure some time in the next year or two, courtesy of his new friends at Ion Storm Austin, who have taken up design duties on the series following the untimely demise of creators Looking Glass.
Thief III project director Randy Smith managed to track down Garrett (no mean feat, I'm sure you'll agree) and persuaded him to give us a few quick words on his victory in the 2001 Gaming Globes -
Female Lead Character
The nominees for the "Female Lead Character" award, for the best female character with a leading role in a game, were -
And the winner is... April Ryan
We couldn't think of a more deserving winner for this category than April Ryan, a teenage art student from the 23rd century who finds herself plunged into a desperate race to save two parallel worlds of science and magic from a sinister conspiracy that threatens to destroy them both. Needless to say the discovery that she can shift between worlds comes as something of a surprise to her and initially she is sceptical of her powers, making April one of the more complex female characters of recent years, an insecure and uncertain heroine who is a far cry from the Lara Crofts and Julie Strains of the world.
Male Supporting Character
The nominees for the "Male Supporting Character" award, for the best male character with a supporting role in a game (generally somebody not under the player's direct control or not central to the game, such as NPCs or secondary party members in a role-playing game), were -
And the winner is... Minsc
Having proved to be one of the most popular characters in the original Baldur's Gate, it was perhaps inevitable that the mad ranger Minsc would return for the sequel with his friend Boo, a miniature giant space hamster. Unfortunately we were unable to track down Minsc to present him with the award in person and get a comment from him, but we have a feeling that his acceptance speech would have gone something along the lines of "less talk, more fight" anyway...
Female Supporting Character
The nominees for the "Female Supporting Character" award, for the best female character with a supporting role in a game, were -
And the winner is... Elaine
Guybrush Threepwood's charismatic other half, Elaine Marley is the heroine in all four Monkey Island adventures, and finally finds herself at the side of Guybrush, as once again he sets out on an adventure. As Governor of Melee Island, Elaine enjoys power and popularity, as well as ruthless control of those who would dare to question her politics. It's unsurprising then that whilst Guybrush wears pantaloons, Elaine wears the trousers.
Elaine had this to say about her award -
The nominees for the "Art Direction" award, for the game with the best overall artwork and style and in particular the best design of locations or backdrops, were -
And the winner is... Baldur's Gate II
Baldur's Gate II picks up its second award of the night for its beautiful backdrops, giving a colourful fantasy feel to the world with settings ranging from the traditional caves and dungeons to vast cities, forests and temples, featuring towering pillars, fanciful houses and enormous statues. Building on the work done in the original game and taking advantage of the increased graphics resolution supported by the updated engine powering the sequel, Baldur's Gate II featured some of the most gorgeous scenery seen in an isometric role-playing game to date.
The nominees for the "Character Design" award, for the best in-game character design and artwork (including models, sprites and skins), were -
And the winner is... Sacrifice
Sacrifice featured some of the most bizarre creatures and characters to grace our beige boxes in recent years, taking in multi-limbed wizards, leathery winged creatures, and all manner of surreal crawling, shambling, rolling, walking and flying monstrosities. And that's just your own army.
The nominees for the "Cinematography" award, for the best use of cinematics and scripted sequences within a game, whether pre-rendered or game-engine, were -
And the winner is... Diablo II
Blizzard have made a name for themselves in recent years when it comes to stunning pre-rendered cinematics, and Diablo II is just the latest triumph for the company's animators, with a blend of life-like characters, great locations and impressive special effects. Expect more of the same from the Diablo II expansion set and Warcraft III over the next year.
The nominees for the "Visual Effects" award, for the most impressive graphics engine and use of special effects within a game, were -
And the winner is... Sacrifice
Probably the most photogenic PC game of last year, dozens of screenshots of Sacrifice were plastered across every major gaming site on the web. And with good reason - the game looks simply stunning. With huge open terrain, highly detailed creatures and eye-catching spell effects ranging from earthquakes and volcanos to tornados and flaming missiles. It's no surprise then that Sacrifice walked off with our Visual Effects award.
The nominees for the "Original Music" award, for the best the best original soundtrack, songs and background music created specifically for a game, were -
And the winner is... Icewind Dale
Described by our reviewer as "a truly epic musical score that greatly enhances the atmosphere of the game", Icewind Dale's soundtrack was clearly a hit with our readers as well, romping home with the Best Original Music gong and picking up yet another Gaming Globe award for Interplay's Black Isle Studios role-playing division, who swept the board with Planescape Torment last year.
The nominees for the "Sound" award, for the best sound effects and use of sound within a game, were -
And the winner is... Eric Brosius and Kemal Amarasingham for Thief II
Thief II picks up its second award of the night, this time for the immersive sound effects used in the game. With much of the world of Thief distinctly dark and the emphasis in the games very much on stealth rather than toe-to-toe action, sound plays an important role in the game, giving you constant audio cues ranging from guards having an argument or complaining about their pay and conditions to the soft patter of your footsteps as you sneak past and the clanging of arrows against stone. It's no surprise then that the sequel to one of the most groundbreaking PC games of recent years picked up the Gaming Globe award for its use of sound.
Once again Garrett, the star of Thief II, was on hand to accept the award (with a little help from Randy Smith) -