Game Developers Choice Awards is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Game Developers Choice Special Awards Jury

Chris Charla

[email protected]

Chris Charla is the director of [email protected] at Microsoft. [email protected] enables independent developers to self-publish their games on Xbox One and Windows 10 with Xbox Live. He launched the program after working with developers for three years as portfolio director for XBLA at Microsoft Studios. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was VP of business development at Foundation 9 Entertainment, having sold out and become a suit after several years working as a designer and producer on creating original IP and doing fun things with licensed IP. Back in the day, he was editor in chief of Next Generation magazine and launch editor of He also edits the fanzines Incredibly Strange Games and Wallingford Skate Report.


(back to top)


Laine Nooney

New York University

Laine Nooney is a media scholar and historian of video games and personal computing, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media, Culture and Communication at NYU. She is currently working on a book entitled Before We Were Gamers, a labor and social history of the American computer game industry told through a case study of the home computer entertainment software company Sierra On-Line. Laine's writing has appeared in venues such as The Atlantic, Game Studies, and The American Journal of Play. Additionally, she is a Founding Editor of ROMchip: A Journal of Game Histories with Henry Lowood and Raiford Guins; the inaugural issue is scheduled for June 2019.


(back to top)


Brian Reynolds

Big Huge Games

A twenty-year industry veteran, Brian Reynolds is recognized as one of the industry's most talented and productive game designers. Honored by PC Gamer magazine as one of twenty-five Game Gods, Reynolds played a principal role founding three successful game studios: Firaxis, Big Huge Games, and Zynga East. Reynolds' videogames have sold over 6 million copies worldwide, and he has masterminded the design of several smash hits including CIVILIZATION II, ALPHA CENTUARI, RISE OF NATIONS, as well as CATAN for Xbox360 Live Arcade. Now over 6 million people a day flock to his first social game, FRONTIERVILLE.

Highly regarded as well for his mastery of the art of programming, Reynolds' dual specialty gives him the substantial advantage of being able to bring his own visions to life - and he has built a reputation for finely tuned gameplay. As chief game designer for Zynga, Brian applied these talents to the rapidly growing world of social network games, and with his cohorts at Zynga East in Maryland he worked expanding FrontierVille and planning a new social games franchise. In February 2013, Reynolds left Zynga and in March 2013 he founded SecretNewCo, now known as Big Huge Games.


(back to top)


Brandon Sheffield

Necrosoft Games

Brandon Sheffield is director of Necrosoft Games, a lead creative on, comic author at, and senior contributing editor to He has shipped over a dozen game titles since 2005, as writer, director, designer, and producer. He has worked with a number of companies, including Square Enix, Other Ocean, Global Top Round, and the Game Developers Conference, where he programs the Game Career Seminar. He often speaks at and advises game events around the world, specifically on the topics of indie game development and business, and is always on the lookout for new ways to create understanding between game developers around the globe.


(back to top)


Mare Sheppard

Metanet Software

Mare Sheppard is one half of Metanet Software Inc., a boutique game developer based in Toronto that produced the acclaimed N, N+ and N++. Metanet is focused on revisiting the great designs of the past and re-evaluating them from a fresh perspective, making games which are engaging, innovative, intriguing and fun. As the Creative Director at Metanet, Mare finds a lot of inspiration in graphic design, industrial design, architecture and fashion. Her goal is to incorporate more of those ideas into games as she continues to explore and expand the medium.


(back to top)


Advisory Committee Alumni

  • Simon Carless
  • Mark Cerny
  • Ben Cousins
  • Chris Charla
  • Clint Hocking
  • Clinton Keith
  • Raph Koster
  • Doug Lombardi
  • Julien Merceron
  • Bob Rafei
  • Amir Rao
  • Jade Raymond
  • Brian Reynolds
  • Margaret Robertson
  • Erin Robinson
  • Meggan Scavio
  • Caryl Shaw
  • Brandon Sheffield
  • Harvey Smith
  • Tommy Tallarico
  • John Vechey
  • Kiki Wolfkill