Video games’ creative excellence in the spotlight

Danial Norjidi

Awards season for video games continues as nominations for the annual 2020 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Games Awards were recently announced, with the upcoming event set to highlight the best games in 2019.

BAFTA is an independent arts charity that brings the very best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the United Kingdom (UK) and internationally.

The 2020 BAFTA Games Awards will be broadcast globally over an online livestream on April 2.

As BAFTA explained in a recent statement, “Amid growing concerns over the spread of COVID-19 and the number of nominees due to travel from overseas, we have made the decision to change the format of next month’s BAFTA Games Awards from a red carpet ceremony at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London to an online live stream, which will broadcast globally on the same day as scheduled (April 2).

“The new format will include the announcement of the Games Awards winners and we look forward to sharing more updates in the coming weeks.”

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. PHOTO: FROMSOFTWARE
A screenshot of Control. PHOTO: REMEDY ENTERTAINMENT
A screenshot of Death Stranding. PHOTO: KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS
A screenshot of Outer Wilds. PHOTO: MOBIUS DIGITAL

In an earlier press release announcing the nominees, BAFTA said that the nominations for the Games Awards highlight an outstanding level of creative excellence from a broad range of UK and international development teams.

The Awards, including the nominations, are voted for by BAFTA’s global membership, comprising experienced games industry practitioners from a range of backgrounds in game development and production.

Leading the nominees with 11 nominations each are Remedy Entertainment’s action-adventure Control and Kojima Productions’ adventure title Death Stranding. The games’ 11 nominations each are history-making in themselves, marking the highest number of nominations for a game in the history of the BAFTA Games Awards since its first standalone games ceremony in 2004.

Control is included in the list of nominees for the Best Game award, alongside ZA/UM’s roleplaying game Disco Elysium; Nintendo exclusive adventure title Luigi’s Mansion 3; Outer Wilds, a roleplaying game developed by Mobius Digital; FromSoftware’s action-adventure title Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, which won Game of the Year at Geoff Keighley’s The Game Awards 2019; and Untitled Goose Game by Australian developer House House.

Awards will also be presented in the categories of: Animation; Artistic Achievement; Audio Achievement; British Game; Debut Game; Evolving Game; Family; Game Beyond Entertainment; Game Design; Multiplayer; Music; Narrative; Original Property; Performer in a Leading role; Performer in a Supporting Role and Technical Achievement.

In addition, BAFTA have announced that voting is open for the EE Mobile Game of the Year – the only award voted for by the public.

The event will also see Hideo Kojima, the famed creator behind the Metal Gear series as well as Death Stranding, receive the Fellowship in recognition of his creative contribution to the industry.

The Fellowship is the highest accolade bestowed by BAFTA upon an individual in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, games or television.

Chief Executive of BAFTA Amanda Berry OBE said, “I am delighted that we are recognising Hideo Kojima’s remarkable career with a BAFTA Fellowship, the highest accolade presented by the Academy, at the BAFTA Games Awards.”

“Kojima is the trailblazing creator behind multiple games and is revered around the world for his innovative work.”

The Awards are supported by BAFTA’s official games partners Activision-Blizzard, Electronic Arts, PlayStation, SEGA Europe LTD, Tencent Games and Ubisoft Entertainment, with EE sponsoring the only award voted for by the public.

Local video games enthusiast Mohd Nor shared his thoughts on the ‘Best Game’ nominees, saying, “I expect it to be a close call between Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Control. Sekiro because it won Game of the Year at The Game Awards last December and it is one of the best games of 2019, and Control because of its gameplay mechanics and setting.”

On the recipient of the BAFTA Fellowship, he said, “It’s about time that Kojima is recognised with the Fellowship. His contribution to the gaming industry with the Metal Gear series and now Death Stranding deserves plaudits.”

Asked for his opinion as a gamer on the importance and relevance of video game awards, he said, “It’s always good to celebrate any form of art and video games are art.”

“Also, awards allow consumers who are late adopters to check what games are worth buying and help developers gauge market interests in what genres, art styles and game mechanics are popular,” he added.