BAFTA Game Awards 2017

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The BAFTA Game Award nominees for 2017 have been announced by the academy. Here’s the lists as well as my opinions on who I’d choose as the winners.

AMD Esports Audience Award

BAFTA NOMINEES
Clash Royale
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
DOTA 2
League of Legends
Overwatch
Street Fighter V

Jeez, this is a pretty specific category, no? I don’t know anything about esports, other than I’m too old and not nearly good enough to ever get involved! They all have a solid online competitive space though. But it’s probably going to go to Overwatch, isn’t it?

Artistic Achievement

BAFTA NOMINEES
Abzu
Dishonored 2
Inside
The Last Guardian
Uncharted 4
Unravel

I think this is the hardest category of this entire thing. All of these games have great art direction and I’m really struggling to choose one over the others. Ultimately I think in terms of doing the most with the least, I’d give this to Abzu.

Audio Achievement

BAFTA NOMINEES
Battlefield 1
Doom
Inside
The Last Guardian
Rex Infinite
Uncharted 4

I’ve only played a couple of these, so it’s a hard one for me to pick. But ultimately, in terms of the audio making you feel like you’re actually there, I’m going to have to give this one to Battlefield 1.

Best Game

BAFTA NOMINEES
Firewatch
Inside
Overwatch
Stardew Valley
Titanfall 2
Uncharted 4

It’s nice to see so much indie game presence in an overall Best Game category. These are all great games and of course I gave Uncharted 4 a spot on my own best of 2016 video. But in this case I think I’d go with Stardew Valley for the surprising amount of depth hidden inside.

British Games

BAFTA NOMINEES
Batman: Arkham VR
Forza Horizon 3
No Man’s Sky
Overcooked
Planet Coaster
Virginia

I didn’t realise these were all British. That’s pretty cool! I haven’t played many of these, so my options are kind of limited. But in terms of polish and overall playability (other than the frame rate!), my choice is definitely Planet Coaster.

Debut Game

BAFTA NOMINEES
Firewatch
Overcooked
Oxenfree
That Dragon, Cancer
The Witness
Virginia

The Witness as a debut game? From the company, maybe. But Jonathan Blow was responsible for Braid in 2008, which kickstarted the indie game movement we’re still seeing today. Personally I think I’d have Firewatch for this one. It didn’t break any barriers, but it’s a solid game with a beautiful art style and a good story. I’m hoping to see more good stuff from Campo Santo in the future.

Evolving Game

BAFTA NOMINEES
Destiny: Rise of Iron
Elite Dangerous: Horizons
EVE Online
Final Fantasy XIV: Online
Hitman
Rocket League

I assume this award title is talking about emergent gameplay, so I’m running with that. And if that’s the case, there’s really only two games it could be. It’s a classic at this point, but the level of deep conflict, faction warfare and insane real-money sabotage keeps amazing me. Step up, Eve Online!

Family

BAFTA NOMINEES
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Overcooked
The Playroom VR
Pokemon Go
Ratchet & Clank
Toca Hair Salon

I’m not an expert on family games, but the Lego games are all pretty reliable, right? They’re all kind of similar though. Tough call for the rest. It might be too complicated for an “all ages” game, but I think I’d go with Overcooked here.

Game Design

BAFTA NOMINEES
Battlefield 1
Dishonored 2
Inside
Overwatch
Titanfall 2
The Witness

This is a very vague award title if you ask me. These are all games. They have all been designed. But they’re all too different to really compare this way. So just to be controversial I’m going to choose The Witness for the elegance of the overall game design. That’ll do.

Game Innovation

BAFTA NOMINEES
Batman: Arkham VR
Firewatch
Pokemon Go
That Dragon, Cancer
Unseen Diplomacy
The Witness

Innovation is a hard one to call. I wouldn’t say many of these really pushed the boundaries of what games are capable of. Yes, there are challenging subjects and solid narratives. But is that innovation? I wouldn’t say so. With that in mind, the one game here that really changed perceptions was Pokemon Go.

Mobile

BAFTA NOMINEES
The Banner Saga 2
Dawn of Titans
Deus Ex Go
Pokemon Go
Pokemon Sun and Pokémon Moon
Reigns

Honest question for you here. Is anyone still playing Pokemon Go? For me this award was never really in question, although Banner Saga is a close second. But Reigns is so clever with so much emerging gameplay that I can’t not put it on the list!

Multiplayer

BAFTA NOMINEES
Battlefield 1
Forza Horizon 3
Overcooked
Overwatch
Titanfall 2
Tom Clancy’s The Division

In terms of population, nobody is going to try and deny that Overwatch has this in the bag. But is it the best? I honestly don’t know because I’ve never played it. From what I’ve read, Titanfall 2 should probably take this one although I haven’t played it. So for me it’s another one for Battlefield 1.

Music

BAFTA NOMINEES
Abzu
Doom
Inside
The Last Guardian
Uncharted 4
Virginia

Believe it or not I’ve only played one of these, and I wouldn’t say the music blew me away. But I’ve watched enough videos to know that the Doom soundtrack is awesome and matches the mood of the game perfectly.

Narrative

BAFTA NOMINEES
Dishonored 2
Firewatch
Inside
Mafia III
Oxenfree
Uncharted 4

These are all great narratives and each is very different. We’ve got guns blazing action, stealth, text-based and tense interactive fiction. I watched Jesse Cox play through it and the story kept me guessing right up to the end, so for that reason I’d go with Firewatch.

Original Property

BAFTA NOMINEES
Firewatch
Inside
The Last Guardian
Overwatch
Unravel
The Witness

We’re covering old ground with this award. Each of these games is a really solid entry into a new property with plenty of opportunities to build on the universe they created. Some obviously reviewed better than others, but again I haven’t played any of them. That makes my choice hard. So because I really like the creepy-ass world they created, I’ll go with Inside this time.

Performer

BAFTA NOMINEES
Alex Hernandez – Mafia III (Lincoln Clay)
Cissy Jones – Firewatch (Delilah)
Emily Rose – Uncharted 4 (Elena Fisher)
Navid Negahban – 1979 Revolution: Black Friday (‘Hajj Agha’)
Nolan North – Uncharted 4 (Nathan Drake)
Troy Baker – Uncharted 4 (Sam Drake)

Any of these people deserve this one, especially the Uncharted 4 crew (did they need 50% of the shortlist though?). Nolan North is great, but he’s already won a ton of stuff. I said it in an old lost blog post, but I’d go for Emily Rose in this one.

The BAFTA Awards

What do you think? Do you agree with my choices here or am I off the mark? Leave me a comment! You can keep up with the ceremony at the official BAFTA Games site here.

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