The big winners of the night
Everything is up in the air at the moment, it’s fair to say. That might be a slight understatement. Despite the cancellation or postponement of every event for at least the next few months (including E3 – as we know it, at least), the 2020 BAFTA Games Awards still went ahead.
Long-time host and fan of video games Dara O’Briain took to the metaphorical stage again, though this time it was at his actual house. The show was pre-recorded and nominees were required to submit an acceptance speech ahead of time – whether they were winners or not.
It’s great to see the BAFTA Games Awards go ahead as they serve as a much-needed distraction in these times. What makes them so important to the industry is their focus on the artistry of games. They are (mostly) voted on by their peers and that categories acknowledge the best of what this unique creative output has to offer, eschewing typical categories you might see, such as “best shooter” or “best RPG”. Let’s take a look at some of the notable winners this year.
Games, geese, and ghosts
One of the more higher-budget winners of the night was Luigi’s Mansion 3, which won the award for animation. It’s no surprise when you look at the detail in Luigi’s poor, terrified face. It was also one of many awards lost by Remedy Entertainment’s Control which, despite being nominated for 11 awards, only managed to come away with one for performer in a supporting role – thanks to Martti Suosalo’s efforts as Ahti the Janitor.
Untitled Goose Game – which already might have been the internet’s favourite game – won for best family game. It might not have won the best game of the year (though it was nominated) but it’s great to see such a unique game do so well. When a game has a button dedicated to honking at people, it better get some sort of award.
Closer to home, mystery-sci-fi-thriller-puzzler Observation won best British game, a recognition of what the UK has to offer the gaming community. And Apex Legends won best multiplayer, highlighting it as a worthy competitor in the battle royale scene. But throughout the night, it felt like the race for best game came down to two worthy titans…
The best of the best
Both Disco Elysium and Outer Wilds had a fantastic night, each winning three awards. It’s refreshing to see so much attention put onto smaller games such as these, especially Disco Elysium, which won developer ZA/UM best debut game. It also took home the prize for best narrative, not surprising for a game that’s so dialogue heavy and whose RPG mechanics come through in conversations rather than battles.
Outer Wilds, meanwhile, won for best game design and best original property. What’s particularly funny is both games went head to head for most of the night; they competed with each other five times throughout the night. But only one could be the best. And the award ultimately went to Outer Wilds. It’s a well-deserved win for such a unique game.
In Outer Wilds, you play an astronaut looking for the answers of the universe. Mainly, why is the sun going supernova in 22 minutes and killing us all? You play through this 22-minute loop multiple times, trying to explore the solar system and solve the mystery. If you’ve not played it yet, definitely give it a go.
The best of the rest
In total, 18 awards were handed out on the night – congratulations to all the winners, who we’ll list in full below. Thanks has to be given to BAFTA for giving us this distraction right now; if you want to watch the ceremony for yourself, the link is right here.
Animation: Luigi’s Mansion 3
Artistic achievement: Sayonara Wild Hearts
Audio achievement: Ape Out
British game: Observation
Debut game: Disco Elysium
Evolving game: Path of Exile
Family: Untitled Goose Game
Games beyond entertainment: Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to)
Game design: Outer Wilds
Multiplayer: Apex Legends
Music: Disco Elysium
Narrative: Disco Elysium
Original property: Outer Wilds
Performer in a leading role: Gonzalo Martin (Sean Diaz in Life is Strange 2)
Performer in a supporting role: Martti Suosalo (Ahti the Janitor in Control)
Technical achievement: Death Stranding
EE mobile game of the year (voted for by the public): Call of Duty: Mobile
Best game: Outer Wilds
2019 was a great year for games and 2020 was off to a good start, though given certain recent announcements, we’re not yet sure how the rest of the year will shake out. No doubt various smaller developers will give us plenty to love and next year’s ceremony should hopefully be just as tough a competition!
Congratulations to all of the winners from us here at REALTIME. We love to see creativity thrive in this industry and are always open to working on any upcoming project. If you have something you would like to discuss, feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.