God of War, Return of the Obra Dinn, & Rieko Kodama Won Big At GDC & IGF 2019

This week, the Game Developers Choice (GDC) awards and the Independent Games Festival (IGF) awards gave out the best in show of 2018 during the week of GDC 2019. To the surprise of no one, PlayStation and Santa Monica Studio’s God of War won this year’s GDC Game of the Year award.

But what’s cool is that last year’s awesome indie whodunnit mystery game, The Return of the Obra Dinn by Lucas Pope, won a lot of awards from both shows. The game won Best Narrative at the GDC awards and the IGF Grand Prize, as well as the IGF Excellence in Narrative. If you haven’t played the game, you should: it’ll test your cognitive and detective skills.


Here are my other takeaways regarding the awards:

  • It kinda sucks Octopath Traveler got snubbed in the audio department, but Celeste‘s OST and audio work is pretty ace.
  • It’s about goddamn time Sega’s Rieko Kodama got a Pioneer award for her long-standing contribution to JRPGs. She gave us the epic Phantasy Star IV, Skies of Arcadia, and the 7th Dragon series.

Check out the full list of winners below:

GDC Winners

Best Audio

Celeste (Matt Makes Games)

Best Debut

Mountains (Florence)

Best Design

Into the Breach (Subset Games)

Best Mobile Game

Florence (Mountains)

Innovation Award

Nintendo Labo (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)

Best Narrative

Return of the Obra Dinn (Lucas Pope)

Best Technology

Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)


Best Visual Art

Gris (Nomada Studio / Devolver Digital)

Best VR/AR Game

Beat Saber (Beat Games)

Audience Award

Beat Saber (Beat Games)

Game of the Year

God of War (Sony Santa Monica / Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Pioneer Award

Rieko Kodama

Lifetime Achievement Award

Amy Hennig

IGF Winners

Seamus McNally Grand Prize

Return of the Obra Dinn (Lucas Pope)

Excellence in Visual Art

Mirror Drop (Ian Lilley)

Excellence in Audio

Paratopic (Arbitrary Metric)

Excellence in Design

Opus Magnum (Zacktronics)


Excellence in Narrative

Return of the Obra Dinn (Lucas Pope)

Nuovo Award (given to unusual, experimental games)

Black Room (Cassie McQuarter)

Best Student Game

After HOURS (Bahiyya Khan, Claire Meekel, Tim Flusk, Abi Meekel)

Author: Mr Toffee

Mr Toffee is a writer, editor, & all-around video game words guy for 9 years, give or take. He also did some story for games like Chain Chronicle and some podcasting on the side. Likes: bacon, Metallica, jogging. Hates: raccoons, oblivion. Twitter: @MrToffee

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