The game audio industry hit a high note on March 22nd with the presentation of the 16th Game Audio Network Guild (G.A.N.G.) Awards in San Francisco. The event takes place annually during the Game Developers Conference, one of the world’s largest annual game conferences, and it is attended by over 400 game audio professionals and enthusiasts from around the globe. The awards were given out for games released between January and December 2017.
‘Call of Duty: WWII’ swept the 2018 G.A.N.G. Awards, with composer Wilbert Roget II landing five trophies including Best Original Instrumental (tied), Best Interactive Score, Best Original Soundtrack Album, Music of the Year and Best Game Audio Article. Said Roget of his wins, “It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized by the Game Audio Network Guild, an organization I’ve been a member of for over 12 years. I’m also incredibly proud to have worked with the world-class audio and music teams at Sledgehammer and Sony Interactive Entertainment, as well as the talents at Nashville Music Scoring. Composing for the Call of Duty franchise has been a decade-long dream come true, and I couldn’t be happier with our resulting collaboration.”
The awards show was hosted by G.A.N.G. President Brian Schmidt, and Co-Hosted by Vice President Becky Allen and Game Audio Designer Bonnie Bogovich, who, along with Vice President of Operations Dave Murrant, served as MC’s. Presenters included G.A.N.G. Scholars (past and present), Brian Trifon and Brian Lee White of Finishing Move, Inc., composer Gerard Marino, Riot Music Director Jason Hayes, Laura Taylor from Sound by Laura, members of G.A.N.G. and students from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The show was produced by editor and creative producer Shaun Wright.
A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to composer Richard Jacques, best known for his scores to ‘James Bond 007: Blood Stone’, ‘Headhunter’ and ‘Mass Effect’. A special Extraordinary Leadership and Service Award was presented to G.A.N.G. President Brian Schmidt, who also serves on the advisory board of GDC.
Said Schmidt, “Each year, we recognize excellence in audio in games ranging from the largest, big-budget blockbuster to outstanding indie games. With over 550 entries this year across a diversity of styles and genres, making it to the final nomination process is something all the teams can be proud of.”
In addition to recognizing award winners, the evening also provided a spotlight for 2018 G.A.N.G. Scholar recipients Neha Patel, Andrew Lipian, Molly Monahan, Caleb Klomparens and Thomas Parish. The Scholars program provides mentorship to full-time music, sound design or audio programming students, and grants free event attendance to professional conferences – including GDC. Said Schmidt, “We recognize how important this kind of mentorship and support is to students entering our industry, and are proud to provide this kind of opportunity to these hard working individuals”.
A highlight of the event included special video message by legendary musician and producer Nile Rodgers, founder of Sumthing Else Music Works, one of G.A.N.G.’s Diamond sponsors that has supported the non-profit organization since the very beginning. Also among the 38 total sponsors that help fund the show and other programs and initiatives throughout the year, were Diamond sponsors CRIWARE, Formosa Interactive, and Spitfire Audio.
Stephan Schütze, an Australian and Founder/ Creative Director of Sound Librarian and producer of G.A.N.G. TV, said, “I love GDC and the G.A.N.G. Awards. For me it’s like celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends.” That sentiment was heard throughout the night by many of the attendees, which included composers, sound designers, service providers, and AAA publishers and developers.
“People who are not familiar with the video game industry are always surprised to learn about the magnitude of game audio production, including sound design, music, dialogue and spatial audio. Over the last decade, numerous game scores have been recorded with premiere orchestras in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Nashville, Salt Lake City and London”, said G.A.N.G. Executive Director Savina Ciaramella. “The quality of game scores are on par with motion picture soundtracks, and we’re proud to recognize these incredible bases of talent alongside the amazing composers, mixers, arrangers, sound designers, music producers and creators who bring these games to life.”
The complete list of 2018 G.A.N.G. Award winners is available here.