Canadian Video Game Awards get off to a good start in Vancouver

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      The first Canadian Video Game Awards were handed out last night (May 5) during a modest but slickly produced event at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

      Some 650 people filled the ballroom. About 300 were industry VIPs seated at tables, with another 350 or so in the general seating area. And while the ballroom wasn’t filled to capacity, there was plenty of excitement and energy.

      Early during the planning of the CVAs, there was a plan to include animation and digital effects among the award categories, but these were wisely dropped from the program. Instead, the CVAs focused on the Canadian video-game industry, presenting 11 awards, all to titles created by Canadian studios.

      The fact that some of last year’s best games qualified for the awards simply speaks to the quality of games being developed in the country.

      As it was, the two-hour event was just the right duration. Video Games Live—the symphonic celebration of video-game music—provided entertainment with four audio-visual segments that split up the handing out of the awards, including one segment honouring the history of video games created in Canada that ended with a title card pronouncing, “Look how far we’ve come.”

      The line is somewhat of a mantra for Victor Lucas, co-executive producer and emcee of the event. He’s long been an advocate for the Canadian video-game industry, and the CVAs are an extension of his will, as much as anything. Lucas kept the program light and celebratory, although there were a couple of moments when the love-in got a bit syrupy.

      As the organizers promised, the CVAs were a snappy affair, and they moved along with pace. It helped that the production crew for the event—Lucas enlisted his Greedy Productions staff who make EP Daily and Reviews on the Run—is used to putting together rapid-fire television shows. The technical aspects of the production were top-notch, with sound and lighting design that suited the space. Better yet, it seemed as though not a cue was missed, although some of the presenters had some fun with their own technical limitations.

      The full list of winners is below, but the evening’s big winner was Ubisoft Montreal’s Assassin’s Creed II, which was nominated for six awards. It won four, including Console Game of the Year. Toronto’s Capybara Games was another multiple award winner, taking home the prizes for Critter Crunch and Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes.

      Game of the Year, which was determined by on-line fan voting, went to Dragon Age: Origins, developed by Edmonton’s BioWare and published by Electronic Arts. That game also won the award for Best Writing.

      PricewaterhouseCoopers representative Rick Griffiths said that despite his company being the adjudicators for such awards shows as the Oscars, “This is the one we’ve been waiting for.” It was only partially a joke, as he went on to say that in its latest analysis, his company was predicting that the video-game industry will be the world’s fastest growing entertainment sector for the next five years.

      The entire event will be the focus of a 30-minute special airing on G4 on May 16 at 8 p.m.

      The Canadian video-game development scene has indeed come a long way. As such, it deserves an opportunity to pat itself on the back. Even if it seems like nobody else gives a damn.

      Winners of the 2010 Canadian Video Game Awards:

      Best Audio
      Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II (developed by Relic Entertainment in Vancouver, published by THQ)

      Best Technology
      Tie between Assassin’s Creed II (developed by Ubisoft Montreal, published by Ubisoft) and Prototype (developed in Vancouver by Radical Entertainment, published by Activision)

      Best Visual Arts
      Assassin’s Creed II (developed by Ubisoft Montreal, published by Ubisoft)

      Best Game Design
      Assassin’s Creed II (developed by Ubisoft Montreal, published by Ubisoft)

      Best Writing
      Dragon Age: Origins (developed by BioWare in Edmonton, published by Electronic Arts)

      Best Downloadable Game
      Critter Crunch (developed and published by Toronto’s Capybara Games)

      Best Handheld Game
      Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes (developed in Toronto by Capybara Games, published by Ubisoft)

      Most Promising Game
      ModNation Racers (developed by United Front Games in Vancouver, published by Sony Computer Entertainment)

      Best In-game Cinematic
      Ghostbusters: The Video Game (created in Vancouver by Terminal Reality and Rainmaker, published by Atari)

      Best Console Game
      Assassin’s Creed II (developed by Ubisoft Montreal, published by Ubisoft)

      Canadian-made Game of the Year
      Dragon Age: Origins (developed by BioWare in Edmonton, published by Electronic Arts)




      May 18, 2010 at 6:47pm

      Where the heck is Mass Effect 2?