The PlayStation 3 title Journey, an innovate game which uniquely does not have guns, violence, or even dialog, stole the spotlight at the 16th annual D.I.C.E Awards on Thursday night in Las Vegas.
The downloadable game created by thatgamecompany won eight awards including Best Art Direction, Innovation in Gaming and Best Game, the top award.
"This shows that a game with soul matters," said Jenova Chen, the creator and director. "A game with true feeling, emotion and love can [beat out] huge budgets."
Journey and its success represent a departure from traditional shooter and platform game genres that have dominated the video game industry for decades.
"This is the top of the top of the industry. These are the people that determine in many ways the future of our industry," said Kellee Santiago, game designer and president of thatgamecompany. "I just really hope that the recognition that Journey got opens up so many doors for other developers to pursue their own dreams and the kind of games they want to make."
On the red carpet, a group of aspiring young Latino designers gathered around and asked for autographs from Santiago, the half-Cuban, Caracas-born Latina game designer, a rarity in an industry dominated by white men.
"I believe Journey deserves all its awards because they innovated in ways that other games haven't," said Jose Figueroa, one of the fans. "They're not afraid of taking the risk of creating something entirely new, knowing it might not succeed."
The game pairs players together online to pursue an epic journey that inspires an emotional – if not spiritual – experience.
Journey's soundtrack is nominated for a Grammy, the first time a video game is up for the award.