New hardware may have emerged in the shape of Wii U and PlayStation Vita during 2011, but it was also the year in which game studios were able to really push technical barriers on well-established hardware, and realise long-held ambitions. Nintendo found the perfect Zelda for motion control, Epic finished its gorgeous, gory fight with Gears Of War 3, and Naughty Dog hit its cinematic sweet spot once again in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.
It was a year of looking back, revising established systems and replanting them in pastures new. FromSoftware went boldly into an open world with its finely honed fantasy beast Dark Souls, Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 painted new levels of hyper-realism and Hollywood spectacle over FPS skeletons, and Bethesda made its biggest, best Choose Your Own Adventure yet with Skyrim.
It was also a year in which the digital space became a force to be reckoned with – take experiments such as From Dust, and the explosion of smartphone gaming on mature iOS and Android platforms.
Here, we honour 2011’s biggest achievements, grandest ambitions and the best use of astral projection as a means to boost automobiles. Check back during the week as we add more awards to the list below.
- Mainstream game of the year
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Dark Souls and The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword
- Indie game of the year
Triple Town, Bastion and SpaceChem
- Portable game of the year
Jetpack Joyride, Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7
- Best online experience
Modern Warfare 3, Portal 2 and Dark Souls
- Best visual design
Child Of Eden, Battlefield 3 and Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
- Best audio design
Dark Souls, The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword and Portal 2
- Publisher of the year
Bethesda Softworks, Ubisoft and Nintendo
- Studio of the year
Firemint, Mojang and Eidos Montreal
- The alternative Edge Awards 2011
Plaudits and wrist slaps for some of the more esoteric aspects of gaming last year.