Wins For Braben, Mordor And Alien: BAFTA Game Awards

Last night, BAFTA gathered in London to dish out sinister metal masks to a chosen few gamesfolk who had been found worthy of such an honour. I tend to be dismissive of Awards Shows, unless something that I really like wins a tiny trophy – then I’m quite happy and momentarily convinced that the world is just and right. It happened with Cave Johnson at this year’s Academy Awards (I’m ambivalent about Birdman) and at the 2015 BAFTA Game Awards it happened with…Destiny as best game? Oh no. Full results below.

Best Game in 2015: Destiny
Artistic Achievement in 2015: Lumino City
Game Innovation in 2015: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
Audio Achievement in 2015: Alien: Isolation
Mobile & Handheld in 2015: Monument Valley
BAFTA Ones To Watch Award in association with Dare to Be Digital in 2015: Chambara
Multiplayer in 2015: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
Music in 2015: Far Cry 4 – Cliff Martinez, Tony Gronick and Jerome Angelot
British Game in 2015: Monument Valley
Original Property in 2015: Valiant Hearts – Yoan Fanise, Paul Tumelaire and Simon Choquet
Debut Game in 2015: Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna)
Performer in 2015: Ashley Johnson The Last of Us: Left Behind (Ellie)
Family in 2015: Minecraft: Console Editions
Persistent Game in 2015: League of Legends
Fellowship 2015: David Braben
Game design in 2015: Shadow of Mordor
Sport in 2015: OlliOlli – John Ribbins, Simon Bennett and Tom Hegarty
Story in 2015: The Last of Us: Left Behind

I spent a couple of hours grilling people who play Destiny a few weeks ago. It’s a mystery to me – as in, I’m not even sure if it’s an FPS game or an MMO. A bit of both, sure, but is the main loop a grinding and looting one, or is it skill-based shooting and teamwork? I didn’t even know if it was mainly (or entirely) PvP or PvE.

When the discussions were done, the Destiny players had the slightly frayed appearance of people discussing a draining and volatile relationship. They mostly talked about the things they didn’t like about Destiny but were convinced I’d love it if I spent at least sixty hours with it. They were tired and they questioned their commitment, but they seemed convinced that they’d spend at least another thousand hours playing before they could be sure that the weren’t actually enjoying the experience.

So it’s an MMO, I guess.

You can read more about Lumino City’s artistic achievements in Pip’s article about the handmade models in the game and here’s John’s judgement of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. I don’t think “innovation” was high on the list of commendable qualities, although I did enjoy the puzzle with the house of disturbing doorways.

Alien deserved the Audio award and I’d have given it a couple of others as well.

Skipping forward, my favourite winner of the night is OlliOlli. It’s not my favourite game among the winners and nominees, but it was up against some titans and even though indie games tend to be well represented in awards categories these days, I never expected a mini skateboarding game to defeat FIFA, Football Manager, Forza and Madden.

The most notable absentees are Divinity: Original Sin and Endless Legend. I suppose that expecting a strategy game to win an award outside a genre-specific event is a bit like expecting the Oscars to recognise that horror films exist. Would have loved to see Original Sin with a little metal mask though.

30 Comments

  1. Wowbagger says:

    Who actually judges these things? Is it musty old men in suits who don’t know their arse from their xbone?

    • Gap Gen says:

      It’s the Oscars of Videogames!

      • Hedgeclipper says:

        Some of the choices are certainly deranged enough to justify the comparison.

    • trjp says:

      Assuming you can become a member, you basically nominate yourself and they pick something probably based on how much money you threw at their organistion/whether they like your haircut.

      How anyone can keep a straight face offering ‘awards’ only to people who join a club and ask nicely for one amazes me.

      YEARS ago I was sitting in a pub next to a table full of people who were ‘giving each other awards’ – very smart dress, lots of clapping and high-fiving – I was mystified until their commanding officer (replete in US Navy whites) appeared and ordered them back to the ship – it’s THAT sort of clique

  2. melnificent says:

    Is the fellowship one for Braben based on a lifetime of coasting on nostalgia for a game or ripping off customers over that nostalgia?

    • phelix says:

      Now now, that’s a bit harsh. At least Braben provided an actual, playable game. It’s not exactly Molyneux levels of conning.

      • Emeraude says:

        No, but I do think it goes to show what I’ve been saying in that Molyneux interview comment thread: the culture of lying – of over promising and under delivering is actually central to to the game making industry as it exists right now. Which is why they flocked to shame the Molyneux interview. They did not understand the issue, and certainly were afraid that <it could have been them

        Quoth myself: to a point what I find sobering is how much it paints the culture of lies as central to the game software industry as it exists now. On all levels. From bullshots, to publishers outright over-promising to investors on how many sales they can expect from a given game, to developers setting deadlines they know they can’t meet, to bonuses promised but planned on never having to be paid, to software the audience is promised will work properly and never does..

        • CookPassBabtridge says:

          I think that the relationship between devs and users is fundamentally broken. Nowadays I get the impression that users and devs hate each other, yet fundamentally need each other. Its the most bizarre commercial relationship I know of – “yeah we hate you, you hate us, but we know you will give us your cash because you can’t stop yourself”. The only approval devs seem to need is that of their peers, so condemnation by fans kind of bounces off. But they still buy it, so it doesn’t matter. Its fucking odd.

          Spending time over at the Oculus forums REALLY drove this home. Most devs seemed to have utter contempt for users. One or two, the guys like Drash (Star Trek demos), managed to cultivate some sense of inclusiveness, but apart from that the hatred seemed shocking at times. Maybe its something thats true everywhere on the internet. Hell is other people after all, but sometimes I feel like the web was invented to make people aware of how much they loathe one another.

          • melnificent says:

            Depends on the dev. Hero devs of yesteryear, definitely hostile towards users. Schafer, Braben, Molyneux, all are heroes to some. Yet they’ve sqaundered that trust for a quick cash-in.

            They are user (and customer) hostile. As long as the money is rolling in they don’t care. And then you get companies like paradox, cd projekt red, etc, that treat their customers as their friends, and not as a purse to snatch.

            The rule is if they were big 20ish years ago then they are probably out to screw you over now (except Jeff Minter).

          • montorsi says:

            Eh, the only difference between some devs and others is the level of PR they dedicate to convincing people they give two craps about them. CDP will gift their players cutting room floor material as free DLC and people lap it up despite the fact they release a fundamentally incoherent game that had to be patched for months and months until it became any kind of respectable narrative. If Braben stroked his fans more he’d be a folk hero.

    • Premium User Badge

      Acosta says:

      If the co-creator of Elite, the founder of one of the few big independent studios in UK that is still open, and the main instigator of the Raspberry Pi can’t get a prize for his career, I don’t know who can.

      • hotmaildidntwork says:

        I don’t know enough about Braben to decry him getting s prize for something, even if the timing seems questionable, but “Fellowship” seems like an odd choice. And not just because what the hell kind of award category is that?

        Maybe it’s a matter of who he’s fellows with?

  3. Premium User Badge

    Henke says:

    A few very eyebrowrising choices there, Destiny and Ethan Carter mainly. But mostly I’m ok with that list. TLOU:LB, Mordor, A:I and FC4’s soundtrack deserved those wins. My choice for Mobile would’ve been Flappy Golf, Wayward Souls or Hoplite, but I’m alright with Monument Valley winning, as it was very good and has more mainstream appeal than those others.

    • Philomelle says:

      Ethan Carter is somewhat poorly worded because it didn’t innovate the gameplay, it innovated technology. They employed some really interesting 3D modeling and texture work that turned the game into something truly gorgeous.

      • EhexT says:

        So innovative it comes with a time machine and inserted itself into Max Payne a decade earlier.

        • Philomelle says:

          Yeah, because pasting some photographs onto textures is totally the same as using photo-scanning to digitally reconstruct a real object.

  4. RayEllis says:

    Wow, there are some very odd choices in this list. Destiny being the obvious sore thumb (sore from all the grinding, of course). Whilst I’m happy to see Last of Us get a couple of nods, that game’s been out a good while. What time period are they working to here? Just because a game gets a re-release in a tarted up format, does that make it eligible all over again for an award?

    • Wulfram says:

      It’s the DLC for The Last of Us which is picking up awards

  5. trjp says:

    After all the nastiness a few years back, are Baftas still on the menu in the world of gaming?!

    Is LewieP still on their ‘youth board’?!!

    To those who didn’t live through the misery in 2012 (IIRC?) – to get a BAFTA you must be a member, to be a member you much be nominated by another member (and it’s pricey) so it’s the Masons then – you then have to nominate yourself for an award which you pretty much choose yourself (more money) and hope someone else didn’t outbid you.

    It’s about as relevant to gaming as banana spiders are – they have history of giving awards which would make your hair curl

    • brulleks says:

      Banana spiders give awards? Well, they’d probably make better choices anyway.

      • pepperfez says:

        And whether they are or not, nobody confronts them about it.

    • JKflipflop says:

      ” to get a BAFTA you must be a member, to be a member you much be nominated by another member (and it’s pricey) so it’s the Masons then”

      That’s not how the Masons work.

  6. kaisergav says:

    That’s a bit disappointing that Destiny won. Even before it came out and anyone had actually played it, so many people seemed to already have decided for no reason that it was the best game ever made :|

    • Moraven says:

      Based on the alpha and beta you could easily see the potential it had.

      Solid gameplay, lacks interesting repeatable content. It feels like WoW 1.0 with no social tools and no world to romp.

  7. Banks says:

    That is actually quite a good list… as a joke.

  8. Grumpy Trooper says:

    But…but Destiny is a crap grind of a snoozefest, Alien Isolation was better in every way as was Mordor (the innovation of the Nemesis system for starters) Ethan Carter may have been pretty but it sort of lacked content imho, bit like a bimbo, all looks and no substance. Hmmm I suspect someone has very fat pockets at the moment……

  9. Heliocentric says:

    I find this all a bit…

    *drops the mic, walks off stage*

  10. Premium User Badge

    Carra says:

    Divinity: Original Sin was my favourite game of last year. Too bad it didn’t win anything.

    As for Hearthstone winning best multiplayer, I’m happy with that. I’ve spent dozens of hours on the game this year, it’s the perfect example of easy to play, hard to master.

  11. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    The back of my mind always briefly wonders where Journey is whenever I read one of those lists…if not immediately, then there’s at least a small twinge of disappointment or confusion when it doesn’t show up under “music”. Yes, yes, I still love you, brain.

    Anyway, yeah, glad to see Alien got something.

  12. thegenuinebuzz says:

    Persistent game ; League of legends?

    How is LoL persistent? You level up? Wow! It’s basically CoD but MOBA. Planetside 2 is a persistent game ( and should probably win)

    Whoever made this obviously just googled “popular games”, and was like “MOBA, i’ve never played a MOBA, it must be an odd genre, persistent games are odd genres right? right?”

    Also, destiny got like 6/10-7/10 max reviews and had a shit ton of controversy following the ton of hype and build up it had.