Games are nothing without the people behind them. In this time of uncertainty surrounding the ethical usage of AI, it has become increasingly critical to celebrate and acknowledge that the games we love aren’t made by a nameless corporate structure. They are made by people. Sometimes a single person, and sometimes thousands. They are made by artists and writers and programmers and managers. They are made by people with thoughts and feelings and passions and ideas far beyond what just exists on a credit scroll. In this time of joy and blessing at the end of the year, I want to beseech you all. Tell your favorite creators that you love their work. That it makes a difference in your life. Small acts of kindness like that can go a long way. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. With that said, here are the winners of Lords of Gamings 2023 Golden Lance Award for Best Developer.
Winner: Larian Studios
Baldur’s Gate 3 is one of the biggest games of 2023. A game this special could only be delivered by a studio equally as impressive. Larian Studios truly took their time to craft such a massive RPG. However, their dedication to the product did not stop at launch.
Larian continues to iterate Baldur’s Gate 3 with timely patches and hotfixes. Additionally, the developers interact with the community with love and appreciation of the fandom through reshares of fan art, posts, and even memes on their social posts and TikToks. They share in the love for this product and showcase how they are nerds and gamers like fans who play their games.
Runner Up: Nintendo
Nintendo has had such a stellar year in terms of output. While Fire Emblem Engage could have been a better start to the year, everything else has been incredibly fun to play! We saw a remake of Advance Wars and its sequel in April. We ventured out into Hyrule a month later. Finally, we got a remake of the SNES classic Super Mario RPG as well as a brand new WarioWare. And most significantly, we got the first new 2D Mario game in over a decade with Super Mario Bros. Wonder, which lives up to the name. So many stellar games within a year, so much so that Nintendo deserves this award.
Runner Up: Avalanche Studios
Avalanche Studios did something nearly impossible this year. They not only produced an exceptional video game, but they created one that transcended video games. They gave people an experience that people in their 20s and 30s have been longing for since they were kids. To inhabit Hogwarts and be a student there. It is something that my wife, for instance, has talked about and dreamt about for over a decade. It took people back to their childhoods and let them enjoy a world that, through controversy, has lost a bit of its magic. Avalanche pulled off something incredible with Hogwarts Legacy. It is a testament to the passion and vision of the people at the studio that they could make that dream come true for so many people.