The public has spoken: this year's winners of the prestigious Golden Joystick Awards have been announced. Topping the list of 2014's most popular video games is From Software's fantasy action role-playing game Dark Souls II, which bagged the biggest award as the Game of the Year.
In second place is the free-to-play digital card collecting game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft developed by Blizzard Entertainment, while garnering the third biggest number of votes is Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.
"The Joysticks are the people's awards and 2014's winners entirely reflect the creativity and diversity of modern gaming," says Golden Joysticks editor Andy Robinson. "I'd like to thank everyone who voted for again joining us in celebration of a passionate and innovative medium that we all love."
Four more titles bagged more than two awards. DayZ, the multiplayer zombie survival game developed by Bohemia Interactive snatched the Best Original Game award and also won Best Indie Game. Hearthstone, meanwhile, picked up the Best Online Game and Best Mobile Game awards. Naughty Dog's Last of Us: Left Behind received the awards for Best Storytelling and Best Gaming Moment for the kiss between the game's main character Ellie and her friend Riley. Assassin's Creed IV garnered both Best Visual Design and Best Audio, while the title's maker, Ubisoft, won Studio of the Year.
Aside from the 16 traditional awards being given out, Golden Joysticks also presented a new award for the Most Played Game of the Year as calculated on the gaming service Playfire. The first game to receive this award is Rust, the DayZ-inspired survival video game created by independent developer Facepunch Studios.
Golden Joysticks were also awarded to Steam for being the Gaming Platform of the Year, pulling off a victory over Sony's PlayStation 4 for the second year in a row. Also snatching its second award in an annual winning streak is Oculus, which bags the Innovation Award for the latest iteration of its Oculus Rift virtual reality gaming headset. Swedish-born Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, better known for his gaming name PewDiePie, snatched the Gaming Personality of the Year award. PewDiePie's YouTube channel has more than 31 million subscribers and the most viewed YouTube channel of all time.
Lastly, the Lifetime Achievement award was handed to Japanese game director, designer and producer Hideo Kojima of Kojima Productions. Kojima is responsible for gaming innovations such as the Metal Gear, Snatcher and Policenauts.
Kojima was unable to attend the Golden Joysticks ceremony and says he is "practically chained to my desk" working on the hotly anticipated Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, but he sent in a recorded message.
"Thank you very much for presenting me with this prestigious Golden Joystick," he says. "Receiving a Golden Joystick award is an incredible honor, as they are voted for by the people who buy and play games."