On Thursday evening, the biggest names in the British gaming industry gathered at Tobacco Dock, London, to celebrate the past year of video games. The British Academy Games Awards gives companies and individuals an opportunity to earn their own BAFTA award; one of the most prestigious awards for entertainment in the United Kingdom. We were invited to attend the event and joined in celebrating the biggest gaming achievements of 2015.
The red-carpeted event was hosted by renowned British comedian Dara Ó Briain, alongside a number of well-known figures in video games. Compared to previous years Ó Briain did an outstanding job at hosting, referencing some of the in-industry jokes and controversies of the year. A number of influential figures from the industry such as YouTubers, journalists and developers were invited to take to the stage and present each award.
This year the academy had eighteen awards up for grabs, covering a broad range of categories across games. Across these awards, talent in various aspects of game development was celebrated, promoting original ideas and those who made a significant impact on the gaming landscape.
Compared to other award shows this year, the BAFTA Games Awards undeniably had a focus on upcoming developers in the UK industry. 'Everybody's Gone to the Rapture' was nominated for ten awards, towering over big-budget games such as 'Halo 5: Guardians,' which was only given a single nomination.
Across the night, the clear winners were 'Her Story' and 'Rocket League', each taking home three awards. The Chinese Room's 'Everybody's Gone to the Rapture' also walked away with the BAFTA for audio achievement and best music. The biggest prize of the night, Best Game, was handed to 'Fallout 4', despite being pitted against strong competitors such as 'The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt' and 'Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain'.
Other notable wins for games on the Xbox One were 'Ori and Blind Forest' which walked away with a BAFTA for artistic achievement, and 'Life is Strange' which was awarded for best story. John Carmack, the mastermind behind hit titles such as 'DOOM' and 'Quake', took home to BAFTA Fellowship award the most prestigious award given to an individual over the night.
Here is a full list of the winners from the night:
|AMD eSports audience award||Smite (Hi-Rez Studios)|
|Artistic achievement||Ori and the Blind Forest (Moon Studios)|
|Audio achievement||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (The Chinese Room)|
|Best game||Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios)|
|British game||Batman: Arkham Knight (Rocksteady Studios)|
|Debut game||Her Story (Sam Barlow)|
|Family game||Rocket League (Psyonix)|
|Game design||Bloodborne (FromSoftware)|
|Game innovation||Her Story (Sam Barlow)|
|Mobile and handheld game||Her Story (Sam Barlow)|
|Multiplayer game||Rocket League (Psyonix)|
|Music||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (The Chinese Room)|
|Original property||Until Dawn (Supermassive Games)|
|Ones to watch||Sundown (Mild Beast Games)|
|Performer||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (Merle Dandridge)|
|Persistent game||Prison Architect (Introversion Software)|
|Sport game||Rocket League (Psyonix)|
|Story||Life Is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment)|
|BAFTA fellowship||John Carmack|
For those who weren't able to attend, or missed the live stream on Twitch, BAFTA has uploaded all of this year's award acceptances to their official YouTube channel.
On a more personal note, I'm somewhat bewildered by the bias to British developers this year, with some of the questionable winners from UK-based studios beating this year's biggest releases. This is understandable from an organization which celebrates British achievement but slightly invalidates the awards with this focus. Despite this, as one of the most respected award shows in television and film, obtaining a BAFTA award of any kind is considered a massive achievement. Between the entertainment for the night and the ceremony itself, the BAFTA Games Awards were an enjoyable evening, celebrating the best digital entertainment mankind has to offer.