UNCHARTED 2 Takes Game of the Year at VGAs — Behind the Scenes with Naughty Dog’s Evan Wells

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So the SPIKE TV Video Game Awards were this Saturday, and in case you hadn’t heard, UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves walked away with Game of the Year! It’s a huge honor and the team is still basking in the glow of that moment. While it’s still fresh in my mind, I wanted to share a little behind the scenes recap of how it all went down.

I arrived at the show with Christophe, Amy and Bruce and we walked the red carpet, which was a pretty cool way to start the evening off. There were tons of media lined up with cameras and microphones ready for interviews. We stopped for a few interviews and Christophe even played a game of Wii Resort Table Tennis against one of our interviewers (he let her win…so he says). Continuing down the carpet, we ran into a bunch of people arriving at the same time as us like Marty O’Donnell from Bungie (who walked away with the award for Best Score for Halo: ODST… congrats!), our friends from Infinity Ward (Modern Warfare 2 won Best Shooter and Best Multi-player!) and Stig Asmussen (God of War III won Most Anticipated Game!). It’s humbling to be around the people who make your favorite games.

Once we found our seats (VIP…thanks, Geoff Keighley) we sat around and waited nervously for the show to start. I had to control my inner fanboy as Mark Hamill, Samuel Jackson and Alyssa Milano sat down in front of us. The setup was amazing! The back of the stage was a huge video screen that actually wrapped around the sides to create a really cool 3D effect. SPIKE really stepped it up this year and pulled out all the stops.


As the show began, it was awesome to hear Claudia Black’s voice as the MC for the evening. She had only found out the night before that they wanted her for the job and she jumped right in and nailed it. A consummate professional, as always. Unfortunately we soon found out that both she and Nolan North lost out to Jack Black for Best Voice which was the start of our losing streak, and had us worried we might walk away empty-handed. The competition was tough this year…in each of the 8 categories we were nominated in, we were going up against my favorite games of the year.

Jake Gyllenhaal

After losing Best Studio, Best Action Adventure Game, and Best Score we were up to 0 for 5! We were definitely getting even more anxious. The show was coming to a close, and after the amazing Halo Reach world premiere they announced that it was time for the Game of the Year presentation. I cheated and looked at the teleprompter so I could see a split second before it was announced and there it was…UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves! It was an amazing feeling walking up on stage to accept the award. They announced we had also won Best PS3 Game and Best Graphics at the same time. The night belonged to the team back at Naughty Dog but I couldn’t imagine two people better to represent them than our Game and Creative Directors, Bruce and Amy. So they gave their heartfelt acceptance speeches and the show was over.

Jake Gyllenhaal

From there it was off to the parties and time to celebrate with the rest of the Dogs. A bunch of coworkers who were at the community event/viewing party in Hollywood drove downtown to meet us. It was a great night and I couldn’t have been more proud to have been part of such an amazing project. We’re so glad that a bunch of us got to share the moment with the fans at the community event because in the end, that’s really why we work so hard on our games. Knowing that we have an audience that appreciates the end result keeps us coming back to do better next time.

This was only the second time in Naughty Dog’s 15-year history of making PlayStation games that we had won an industry award of this caliber, and we tripled that in one night. We’ve definitely raised the bar for ourselves in so many ways. But everyone on the team is looking forward to the challenge and we couldn’t be more excited to do it again.

Now it’s time to enjoy the holidays, but then it’s time to put our noses back to the grind stone and see what happens next.

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