Obvious Game BAFTA Noms Announced

By Alec Meer on February 16th, 2010 at 11:06 am.

We don’t have Oscars in the UK. Instead, all the major film directors gather on a hillside in Gloucestershire, and roll enormous wheels of cheese towards the fields below. The director who concusses the most cows (or sheep, but they’re only worth half a point) with his cheese wins a BAFTA. Who can forget the scandal in 2006, when Martin Scorsese knocked out an unprecedented 13 bullocks, but was later disqualified when judges discovered he’d rubbed a particularly drowsy brand of cough medicine into the rind of his Red Leicester? The relatively new game-centric BAFTA competition, however, uses a far less conventional form of judging known as ‘voting.’ How curious. The nominations are in, and they’re a surprising, thrilling roster of snnndszzzzzn. Grummfwhut? Oh, sorry, I fell asleep there.

The list is below. Very little in the way of PC games there and, quite frankly, very little that isn’t A Heavily-Hyped Console Game That Sold Really Well Around Christmas either. In fact, it goes to great lengths to ensure every Heavily-Hyped Console Game That Sold Really Well Around Christmas gets at least one nomination, but indie and B-list doesn’t get a look in. Which is a shame. Big awards ceremonies are by nature rich-get-richer affairs, but you can’t help but hope one of ‘em will be interested in thoughtful outliers once in a while, purely for diversity’s sake.

I mean, ‘Artistic Achievement – Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2′? Come on, be sensible! Give it best action game, give it best game if you absolutely must (and inevitably will), but just because it’s a successful, respected action game that all the judges have played doesn’t mean it has to be nominated for every single sodding category going. Is there no way Artistic Achievement could have been filled with pretty, strange, different things instead of the same clutch of high-budget action games? The token inclusion of Flower doesn’t help. I’m amazed that seeing the same four names crop up again and again doesn’t make someone think “hang on – are we really covering the length and breadth of videogaming in 2009 adequately here?” The inevitable perils of relative democracy, I suppose. It has ever been thus, and I’m a damned fool to naively hope for more variety from such things.

I suspect MW2 will be the trophy-snagger across the board (bar story, which, by a miracle of reason, it doesn’t seem to have been nomimated for), but there’s a chance Arkham Asylum could do well – and it’s the repeat-nomination I’d be most comfortable with being put on this particular pedestal too. It found some enormously clever ways to lift a stagnant sub-genre into new glory – a rare instance of putting the mechanics ahead of the gloss, and the end result was probably the best superhero action game you could name. Left 4 Dead is a worthy enough winner in several of its fields too, much as it didn’t hold my attention for long.

PC gamers – ooh, that’s you! – should probably be most rooting for Dragon Age in the Story category and Plants vs Zombies in the amusingly confused gaggle that is Strategy. Other than that, hmm.

Action

Assassin’s Creed II
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
inFAMOUS
Left 4 Dead 2
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Artistic Achievement

Assassin’s Creed II
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Flower
Streetfighter IV
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Best Game

Assassin’s Creed II
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
FIFA 10
Left 4 Dead 2
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Family & Social

The Beatles: Rock Band
Buzz! Quiz World
EyePet
Guitar Hero 5
New Super Mario Bros Wii
Wii Sports Resort

Gameplay

Assassin’s Creed II
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
New Super Mario Bros Wii
PixelJunk Shooter
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Multiplayer

Battlefield 1943
The Beatles: Rock Band
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Halo 3 ODST
Left 4 Dead 2
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Original Score

Assassin’s Creed II
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
PixelJunk Shooter
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Sports

Colin McRae: DiRT 2
FIFA 10
Football Manager 2010
Forza 3
Wii Fit Plus
Wii Sports Resort

Story

Assassin’s Creed II
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Broken Sword – Shadow of the Templars: The Director’s Cut
Brutal Legend
Dragon Age: Origins
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Strategy

Command and Conquer 3: Uprising
Empire: Total War
FIFA Manager 10
Football Manager 2010
Halo Wars
Plants vs Zombies

Use of Audio

Batman: Arkham Asylum
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
DJ Hero
Flower
Left 4 Dead 2
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Use of Online

Battlefield 1943
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
FIFA 10
LIttleBigPlanet (PSP)
Singstar TakeThat
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

BAFTA Ones To Watch Award in association with Dare to Be Digital

Colour Coded
Murray Sinclair, Faye Wright, Liam Wong, Sean Donnelly, Nnanna Kama
(PixelPirates)
Quick as Thieves
William Wright, Michael Doig, Andrew Knight, Jamie MacKinnon, Lee Cresswell
(Gentleman of Fortune)
Shrunk!
Vykintas Kazdailis, Andrew Macdonald, Michael Cummings, Jacek Wernikowski, Stuart Kemp
(The Butterflyers)

GAME Award of 2009
(The only award to be voted for by the public)

Assassin’s Creed II
Batman Arkham Asylum
The Beatles: Rockband
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
FIFA 10
GTA China Town Wars
Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks
Street Fighter IV
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Wii Sports Resort

Dave Tosser says:[urrrk . Huurk.] What? Noooo… Let me die, dieeee…. [gnnf.] It is only right that financially successful games are rewarded for being financially successful. How else would we ever know [gurrrgle] that they’d been financially successful? To nominate less financially successful games would only deprive financially successful games of more financial success, which would be immoral. [hurrrk]. Don’t wake me. Let me sleeeeep. And tell my wife I said ‘hello.’

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88 Comments »

  1. Baboonanza says:

    I’m not sure they really understand ‘Artistic achievment’. They seems to think it means ‘has the prettiest pictures’.

  2. Ian says:

    Big OverHype Game Sequel 4: The Returnening deserves all the credit it gets Meer, you miserable old coot.

  3. Rich says:

    And the nominations are… all the big games that came out last year!

    At least the ‘real’ BAFTAs have a little variety.

  4. noom says:

    What a Shame

  5. Chris D says:

    I don’t approve of this voting nonsense. Cheese rolling was a much fairer system.

    Also no mention of The Void for artistic achievement? Madness. Does that officially make me an angry internet man now?

  6. Kommissar Nicko says:

    I think Tosser needed to comment here. I miss him a little bit.

  7. Zaphid says:

    No Dragon Age except for 1 award ?

  8. rocketman71 says:

    UK, prepare to receive Sr. Super Douche 402 in your neighbourhood. Look out for the lies.

  9. UCHU says:

    Uncharted 2. Uncharted 2. Uncharted 2. Everywhere I turn my head. Uncharted 2.

    • Skurmedel says:

      Which is a very good game, which is not something you can say about CoD in general.

    • UCHU says:

      Eh…I dunno. To me, both Uncharted games honestly felt like Gears of War except with the saturation meter turned to 11 and a twenty-something brown-haired douchebag as the protagonist plus some really bad puzzles thrown in….but to each his own, I guess.

      I do agree on CoD, though.

  10. The Diddler says:

    “Artistic” Achievement : CoD Modern Failware2 ?!

    For shame, guys…..for SHAME !!! >:|

    • Morph says:

      But you get to shoot civilians in an airport. That’s art! Art!

      Maybe not.

    • Baboonanza says:

      @Didler
      ‘CoD Modern Failware2′
      Do you have to do that? Really?

      Ok then, but at least use a better one. ‘Modern Whorefair’ maybe?

    • sana says:

      If you cannot appreciate the talent behind the – very obviously – strikingly beautiful and clear visuals of Modern Warfare 2, no matter how shallow the actual game is, there’s something wrong with you. Is it not pixelated and pseudo-artsy enough?

    • Lilliput King says:

      If you cannot appreciate the talent behind the – very obviously – strikingly beautiful and clear visuals of Modern Warfare 2, no matter how shallow the actual game is, there’s something wrong with you. Is it not pixelated and pseudo-artsy enough?

      I can’t actually tell if you’re being sarcastic here. The sinking feeling in my gut suggests you are not.

  11. lhzr says:

    “it goes to great lengths to ensure every Heavily-Hyped Console Game That Sold Really Well Around Christmas gets at least one nomination, but indie and B-list doesn’t get a look in.”

    so these Baftas of yours are pretty much like the Oscars of theirs.

    btw, Avatar was nominated for 9 Oscars, one of which was for “Best Motion Picture of the Year”.

  12. Auspex says:

    Wait does Broken Sword – Shadow of the Templars: The Director’s Cut’s nomination mean we now have to refer to John as the “Bafta nominated John Walker”?

  13. simonkaye says:

    Did ME2 miss the deadline or something?

  14. The Dark One says:

    What makes a man yearn for indie PC game nominations? Lust for gold? Power? Or were you just born with a heart full of pretentiousness?

  15. jon_hill987 says:

    Those nominations are a joke. Particularly the artistic achievement award. Street Fighter IV or Flower (wasn’t that a tech demo?) could get it but the others?

  16. Colthor says:

    I’ve not played any of the games* in the first eight categories. Clearly I just don’t care about games at all.

    * All four of them /snark

    • Rich says:

      Come to think of it, the only games from the whole set of list that I’ve played are CnC 3: Uprising Empire: TW and Halo 3: ODST. Those are probably the only ones I would have wanted to play too.

  17. MadMatty says:

    Give the prizes to whoever sold the most.
    hmm…. apparently the mainstream´s got great taste- theres no denying it.

  18. tapanister says:

    What the fuck, Dragonage is only nominated in one category? What is wrong with these people?

  19. LimeWarrior says:

    My Picks:

    Action
    Left 4 Dead 2

    Artistic Achievement
    Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
    (one of the few console games I enjoyed last year. Would have enjoyed it better on pc)

    Best Game
    Assassin’s Creed II
    (I know the PC version isn’t out until this year. It’s still a good game.)

    Family & Social
    Wii Sports Resort

    Gameplay
    Batman: Arkham Asylum
    (the only option in this category that tried a different style of combat)

    Multiplayer
    Left 4 Dead 2
    (This should be obvious, it’s built around multiplayer)

    Original Score
    Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

    Sports
    Wii Sports Resort
    (Is this really a sports game… whatever)

    Story
    Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
    (The story in this game was unmatched by any of the other options. It’s also the reason i gave this game “artistic achievement”)

    Strategy
    Plants vs Zombies

    Use of Audio
    Left 4 Dead 2
    (for the crazy loss of sound during the hard rain campaign. I mean, even the voice chat blows out!)

    Use of Online
    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
    (There are no good choices here! so I decided to choose Call of Duty for RUINING a fun multiplayer experience.)

  20. Huw says:

    MW2 in the “best use of online” category? Are they deliberately baiting PC gamers here?

  21. Dr Ham says:

    Most ironic nomination:

    Use of Online
    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

    This surely has to be some sort of joke? Surely…?

  22. Vandelay says:

    Pretty terrible selection of nothing but mainstream. They could at least do some sort of Indie category, so that the smaller games could get some publicity. This would be like BAFTA giving nominations to Transformers, Dance Flick or What Katie Did Next in their film and television categories. If they are wanting to show how diverse and mature gaming is becoming, then they have failed completely.

    They really should have given the nomination choices to people that know something about games and not just people in the office, who happen to own a console. I hope that every gaming website that reports on this follows the same thoughts as you, so that maybe BAFTA will notice they are doing something wrong.

  23. archonsod says:

    So did anyone actually play these games before nomination, or is the selection criteria the traditional slightly baffled drunken old coot who listed the videogames he vaguely remembered flicking past in The Telegraph at some point?

  24. Jockie says:

    I feel like some kind of traitor for saying this, but of those nominees, I hope Uncharted 2 wins a bucketload, because it was pretty phenomenal. And because it isn’t MW2.

  25. JohnArr says:

    Alec, you missed the “Best Journal/Hint System” category, nominations:

    Assassin’s Creed II
    Batman: Arkham Asylum
    Broken Sword – Shadow of the Templars: The Director’s Cut
    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
    Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

    Probably go for MW2 myself.

    • tapanister says:

      Yeah, they should have FIFA 10 in there, the journal hint system in FIFA is almost as good as the artistic achievement the game produced.

  26. Jayt says:

    I died a little inside reading that list

  27. Down Rodeo says:

    Meer, you’re brilliant.

  28. GriddleOctopus says:

    I’m annoyed that Time Gentlemen, Please – which we, the fans, paid real money to nominate and is a genuine British game – doesn’t get a look-in. BAH.

  29. Lilliput King says:

    The actual worst crime here is the “Original Score” shortlist.

    I mean, my God. Only PixelJunk actually has a score worthy of note, and even then it’s outclassed in every way by Machinarium.

    It’s like they don’t have a clue what they’re on about.

  30. James G says:

    I’ve recently realized that I’m the gaming equivalent of people who continuously complain about the nominations for the NME, Q and Brit awards. Well okay, I tend not to complain too much in public, because it tends to make you look a twat if you’re not careful, but I do a lot of inner eye-rolling.

  31. CMaster says:

    I use to think the BAFTA game award was pretty good when they just gave out one of them.
    Not so much these days – it resembles all too much a “me-too” setup, where they just scan for hype and other media’s GOTYs and put them up.

  32. The Unbelievable Guy says:

    No win for the Void? Not even in Artistic Achievement? Couldn’t they at least have tried making it’s own category, like Best Game Depicting A Bleak Lifeless Purgatory Developed In Russia? Couldn’t they at least have heard of it?

    • The Unbelievable Guy says:

      Actually if the category-of-its-own thing was tried I guess it would look like this:
      Assassins Creed 2
      Batman: Arkham Asylum
      Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
      Dante’s Inferno (?)
      Uncharted 2
      Call of Duty again because it was just so great you guys

  33. Gorgeras says:

    Kane & Lynch got nominated once.

    That is all.

  34. Labbes says:

    It’s interesting that I have played only two of these games, Dragon Age and Plants versus Zombies. That probably sums up my opinion of the other games pretty well, especially because the Heavily-Hyped Console Game That Sold Really Well Around Christmas ones don’t run on my PC.
    Gah! I’m not the mainstream audience! What have I become??

  35. innokenti says:

    Oh I laugh.

    How I laugh…

    And then ignore it.

  36. Kenny says:

    It’d be interesting to know how many indies entered their game for consideration. Without that information all the mud being thrown in this thread looks rather childish.

  37. neems says:

    Hopefully Uncharted 2 will win all the awards instead of Cod 6, as it’s the dog’s bollucks. Or they could have just given the award to Demon’s Souls in every category and save everybody a lot of time and hassle.

  38. Mungrul says:

    You know, I know it’s not a PC game, and even worse, it didn’t see a UK release, but if multiplayer were judged purely on excellence and innovation, it would have to be Demon’s Souls.
    But of course, it’ll go to the title that single-handedly ruined multiplayer by making every triple-A developer under the sun think that they need to include some kind of psuedo-RPG levelling system. Bloody Modern Warfare.
    What’s even more scary are the sales figures for the first and second Modern Warfare games. It’s like “The Sun” of videogames :E

    • FunkyBadger says:

      Tio be fair, MW2 is *really* good, though.

    • Rinox says:

      Yes, but it’s not the game of the year – there were some clearly better games on both consoles and PC that came out. But the MW2 just thrives on the legacy of the CoD franchise, inspiring people who do not really know what is going on in the games world but like to pretend they do to pick it.

  39. Tei says:

    At one point all the civilized world (even Kotaku!), stoped publishing the TOP 10 most sell games, because It was pointless to see a list of the latest Sims and Fifa titles there, everywhere.

    Popularity in videogames mean some true awnfull games. The type of games you will not play for more than a few days, and that about a 90% of his appeal die wen his graphics become outdated.

    So I am surprised BAFTA output is something else than a list of “EA Sims” or “IMAGINE” titles with dubious intentions.

  40. Rei Onryou says:

    From the BAFTA site, detailing the selection process of the GAME award shortlist:
    The ten shortlisted titles were chosen by a hand-picked expert panel of games journalists and passionate gamers. They began by looking at the top selling games of the year sold in GAME stores and arrived at the final shortlist through furious game-playing and fierce debate.

    OK, who do I point my “finger of pointing +2 vs. game journalists and passionate gamers” at? An awarded biased towards what was bought the most from the sponsor?

    I think the selection process of these shortlists seems to be ridiculous and shortsighted to say the least. There’s so much variation and unique experiences on offer, yet they all seem to be ignored.

    How do you boycott an award?

    • neems says:

      You’re having a laugh. Please tell me you made that up, that is just… can you imagine if the BAFTA or Oscar panel just went to blockbusters to see which films were the most popular? Or maybe the academy nipped down to their local Odeon, asked them which films they should nominate (‘er, Avatar is pretty popular’).

    • phuzz says:

      @neems
      Using Avatar as an example just makes it sound more likely.
      ITS ALL A BLOODY CONSPIRACY I TELLS YEH!

    • Hmm says:

      Just to clarify, that’s for the Game Award, and not all the categories.

      Everything is eligible for the other awards as long as you pay the fee for it to be considered. Which is probably an unnecessary expense for most small devs or indie studios.

  41. John says:

    Well this is scary. Only one market (which is, of course, the most popular one) is explored. I fear this is becoming far too common.

  42. phuzz says:

    Congratulations BAFTAs, you are the, erm, BAFTAs of games awards.
    What we want is the gaming equivalent of the Mercury award, ie just one award, for best game released last year, complete with token ‘weird’ and ‘old fashioned’ nominations.

    If I could be bothered I’d now draw poorly conceived comparisons between last year’s Mercury nominees and some of the games nominated above, such as
    “Left 4 Dead 2 is totally the Florence and the Machine of the gaming world, in that lots of people profess to hate everything it stands for, never the less it was incredibly popular and is actually very good”

    or something, Gillen, this one’s yours.

    (Bonus points, who is the Speech Debelle of gaming?)
    (pps, Eufloria == Laura Marling)

  43. HermitUK says:

    Nice to see Pixeljunk Shooter up for a fair few awards. While it’s a PS3 game, still has to be one of my favourite indie games of last year. Brilliant liquid physics.

  44. Eldritchreality says:

    @Neems

    “Dawn of War 2 is a strategy game? I thought it was Diablo with US Marines in space.”

    Fixed that for you

  45. Stabby says:

    Gotta say, Batman Arkham Asylum was a pretty awesome game.

  46. Shalrath says:

    If these are the best games of 2009, man that was a shitty year.

  47. Michael says:

    Story

    Assassin’s Creed II

    Oh, FFS…

  48. TeeJay says:

    It would be interesting to know who these people actually are. Is anyone going to “name names”?

    First round shortlisting of top six games in each category:
    “voted on by selected industry professionals and Games-voting BAFTA members”

    Final winner:
    “carefully selected jury, specialising in that category … comprise between seven and nine industry practitioners across a range of developers and publishers and will be chaired by a member of the BAFTA Video Games committee … balanced in age and experience, and with a track record of achievement in the field … mindful of the diversity of the jury, and jurors will not be exclusively from one discipline.”

    The current Video Games Committee for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts:

    RAY MAGUIRE (Chair) – Managing Director of Sony Entertainment UK (speciality = sales and marketing)
    IAN LIVINGSTONE (Deputy Chair) – Co-founder of Games Workshop & Life President, Eidos plc
    DAVID BRABEN – Co-writer of Elite and chairman of Frontier Developments
    JOHN BROOMHALL – Independent Audio Director & Consultant
    CHARLES CECIL – Managing Director, Revolution Software (eg Broken Sword series)
    HARVEY ELLIOTT – General Manager, EA Casual (Eg Harry Potter series)
    MILES JACOBSON – (Sports Interactive managing director)
    MARK MASLOWICZ – (Director – Xbox360/GfW Europe)
    SANJAY MISTRY – (creative designer / EA Games)
    ANDY NUTTALL – (Executive Producer, Zoe Mode (eg various music and party games))
    ANDY PAYNE – (managing director Mastertronic / Chairman of ELSPA & GamesAid / founder ‘Get Games’ (with Eurogamer))
    ROB SAUNDERS – (Senior PR Manager, Nintendo)
    KRISTIAN SEGERSTRALE – (General manager of Playfish (now owned by EA) (eg various facebook ‘social games’))

    The impression I get is this committee seems weighted more towards corporate sales/marketing/PR executives rather than the creative and development side of things. Of course these aren’t the actual “jury” or “voters”.

  49. FunkyBadger says:

    The first year this was on, they announced Crysis as up for the Game of the Year, about 3 months before it was released. Industry Junkets are Industry Junkets I guess.

  50. Mr. Versipellis says:

    No love for Dragon Age, I see? :angryface:

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