A crowning moment for many titles

by Shane Dillon

THIS year’s BAFTAs had some pretty interesting choices to consider for its increasingly diverse games section, with the London ceremony highlighting some terrific titles, with just a couple of curious wins, too.
While, as ever, the past 12 months has seen all manner of troubles and economic woes sweep through the games industry, with countless thousands of job losses, dozens of studio closures and the end of lots and lots of franchises, at the same time, lots of terrific games were released.
Best Game saw some predictable choices, but the critic’s favourite, Dishonored (no, no “u”) was a clear favourite, with its compelling mix of stealth, action and a richly fleshed out setting of a pseudo-Dickensian world making it a must-have for many.
For Story, Dishonored lost out to The Walking Dead, with its shiny new BAFTA just the latest trophy to clutch to its rotting chest, having previously grabbed a clutch of Game Of The Year awards, as well as many nods that it was “as good as the TV show” – not bad going for an adventure title, in a genre long seen to be as dead as its Walkers.
Performer was an interesting category, but one that was very deserving of attention, given the subtle yet increasing importance of good scripts – delivered by good actors, or voiceover artists – to many hit titles.
While, personally, I thought Adrian Hough’s snootily wicked Haytham in Assassin’s Creed III was a stand-out audio performance, judges plumped for the rather less well-known title, Thomas Was Alone, showing that safe bets aren’t necessarily a sure thing at awards …
Game Design was a wide open field, however, with everything from graphics to gameplay, presentation to, well, fun to consider, with a disparate selection of titles to consider.
However, picking up yet another one of its awards on the night, Journey was a worthy winner for Sony, with the highly stylised PlayStation 3 title creating an emotive connection with many gamers.
There were several other categories, too, presenting well-deserved BAFTAs to a wide range of titles, all of which underlined the sheer scope of gaming, now found everywhere.
Last but not least, one of gaming’s true titans – the legendary games designer and Valve studio head Gabe Newell – was presented with a highly-prestigious BAFTA Fellowship, in light of his vision and personal contribution to gaming.
It’s no harm to point out that Newell remains acclaimed as a thoroughly nice and decent guy, too, as well as being an acclaimed visionary.
While many non-gamers couldn’t pick him out of a bus queue, Newell’s legendary passion for gaming, charm, astute business acumen and inspirational leadership made him a deserving winner of the rarely-awarded BAFTA title.

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