A GEARVR NEWS BULLETIN
The IMGA VR-Game 1st-Place Award Winner for 2015 was announced today. And it was “Lands End” by proud developer UsTwo Games. A short but sweet game which I loved.
Below are brief excerpts from the Press Release and Award Speech for Land’s End:
San Francisco, CA (at GDC) – 16 March 2016 – In a room packed with the best of the mobile gaming experts and thought leaders, the 14 winners for the 12th International Mobile Gaming Awards (IMGA) were announced last night. Alysia Judge – editor of AppSpy, presented the awards, while the after-awards party was organized in partnership with Rovio. The leaders of the industry were gathered in the room, including the 12th IMGA sponsors: Microsoft, Tencent Games, Rovio, King, Supercell, Samsung Developer Conference, ARM, Euroméditerranée and Chillingo.
Land’s End is a VR adventure from the creators of Monument Valley. Set against spectacular landscapes, the player is tasked with awakening an ancient civilization using the powers of their mind. Headed up by designers Ken Wong and Peter Pashley, Land’s End combines UsTwo Games’ award-winning approach to interactive storytelling with Samsung Gear VR, creating an incredible virtual reality experience that you can take anywhere.
This year’s IMGA nominees have clearly shown that VR games have tapped new ways of exploring entertainment never before seen, while mobile games continue to be the main driver of innovation in the video games industry.
Maarten Noyons, the IMGA’s founder commented, “Given the inherent, exhaustive games review process, sheer amount of submissions and credibility of the judging panel, the IMGA has inevitably been at the forefront of innovation and creativity. This year again, the IMGA honors the hard work of thousands of developers and highlights the next generation of games to rise above.”
Land’s End is one of the first major releases for the Samsung Gear VR, offering a uniquely immersive and intuitive virtual-reality experience.
Using innovative gaze-based interactions and hand’s-free puzzling, Land’s End is a virtual reality game designed to be contemplative, curious and above all, comfortable. Whether you’re an experienced gamer or trying this for the very first time, Land’s End is accessible for all, drawing on the beautiful visual aesthetic of Monument Valley, as well as its inclusive approach to game-play design. Congratulations, UsTwo Games!
ONE SMALL DISCLAIMER HERE: I must be honest and make note of one thing, not to be a downer toward UsTwo Games, but just to be clear: a lot of other games people really seem to like on GearVR were not even entered. This includes such titles as Anshar Wars 2, Darknet, Smash Hit, Adventure Time: MM, Ocean Rift, and many many more who failed to even enter. No reason was given why so few VR devs entered this competition, so many of the titles Land’s End ran against were not up to its caliber. So it is be fair to say the game won simply because its true rivals did not even show up to the table.
However, there are a large group of people who definitely do still think Land’s End does deserves this award. I think this title was a little short and so I think it should have competed against some of the other games I just mentioned to see if it really was worthy. But maybe next year, those other companies will think about actually joining the race in the first place. So for that reason more than others, I give props to UsTwo for being on the ball and getting in the door at just the right time.
And their game really is great, either way.
ABOUT THE IMGA:
The IMGA is the longest standing mobile games award program started in 2004. With its long history and unique judging process, it has recognized some of the world’s most popular titles in their early days, such as Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans. It is the only competition that unites the industry by celebrating excellence and innovation in games and is thrilled to be adding “VR” as a category going forward.
The IMGA has also announced a call to further development in Asia, with a launch of IMGA South-East-Asia in April and IMGA China in May this year. More details to come on those two programs in the coming months.