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Composer Yoko Shimomura and game designer Fawzi Mesmar honored At GDCA 2024

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The Game Developers Choice Awards at GDC 2024 has revealed the recipients of the ceremony’s prestigious special awards. Yoko Shimomura, composer for games such as Kingdom Hearts, Super Mario RPG, Street Fighter II, and Final Fantasy XV, will receive this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award—and Fawzi Mesmar, who has worked at major game companies for over 20 years in the industry and is an active mentor, author, public speaker and more, will receive the Ambassador Award, awarded to individuals who elevate video games and the industry as a whole to a better place.

“We are so proud to honor Yoko Shimomura and Fawzi Mesmar for their multiple decades worth of contribution to the crafts of art and making games,” said Stephenie Hawkins, Event Director at Informa Tech. “Not only have they created enduring works in the medium, they’ve also carved a path that allowed others in their fields to thrive and succeed. Their success is measured not just in their singular accomplishments, but in the ways they’ve inspired the works of other aspiring composers and designers around the world.”

Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Yoko Shimomura is a respected Japanese composer and pianist who has delighted players across the world thanks to her work on many iconic game soundtracks. Yoko began her career at Capcom in 1988 where she worked on the music for titles including Street Fighter II, Final Fight, and The King of Dragons. In 1993, she joined Square (now Square Enix) where she composed the soundtracks for games such as Live A Live, the Kingdom Hearts series, Final Fantasy XV, Super Mario RPG, and Legends of Man.

Yoko later departed from Square Enix and founded her own music production company called Midiplex, where she still works to this day, and she also serves as a member of the music label Brave Wave Productions.

Fawzi Mesmar, recipient of this year’s Ambassador Award, is an award-winning creative director, game designer, author, public speaker, and mentor whose career has spanned over two decades in the games industry. Fawzi’s career has taken him to the Middle East, New Zealand, Japan and Europe, where he worked for several notable game companies such as Ubisoft, EA, King (Activision Blizzard), Gameloft, and Atlus, and he has worked on over 20 tiles and had a hand in developing well-known franchises like Battlefield, Candy Crush, Mario Rabbids, Star Wars, and Persona.

Fawzi is also the author of the first-ever textbook about game design in Arabic: Al-Khallab On The Art of Game Design, and has co-authored nine comic books under the Men of Honour series. In recent years, Fawzi won the Game Dev Heroes award in 2020 within the Game Design category and, in the same year, was named one of the industry’s top 100 game changers.

The Game Developers Choice Awards will take place at GDC on Wednesday, March 20 at 6:30pm PT (with a simultaneous broadcast on GDC Twitch). GDCA follows right after the Independent Games Festival Awards, which celebrates independent games and their creators. Both the GDCA and IGF ceremonies are available to watch for all GDC 2024 passholders.

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