BAFTA Game Awards 2015: The Winners
Last Thursday (12th March) was the 2015 BAFTA Game Awards, hosted over at Tobacco Dock within the city of London, UK. It was a night of glamor for members of the gaming industry, with game developers, artists, voice actors and fans coming together from across the world to a spectacular event hosted by the brilliant Rufus Hound.
In this article, we'll be reviewing the winners from each award category.
Out of Hohokum, Valiant Hearts, Monument Valley, Far Cry 4, AC: Unity and Lumino City, it was clear what the winner of this award would be. You guessed it - Lumino City. The game is just brilliantly beautiful. Difficult at times, this puzzle adventure game uses its art to create a smooth experience for the player.
Join us as we learn more about how Lumino City was created.
The Game Innovation award went to The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, and for very good reason. Now, I don't usually like horror games, but this game is on point. Its first person, story driven, and well... the storyline is just amazing. You play as a detective called Paul who receives a letter from a boy in danger (who happens to be called Ethan Carter), who later goes missing. Paul, with his ability to communicate with the dead, travels through the world of Red Creek Valley to determine the fate of the missing boy.
Read our official review of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter.
It's common knowledge that every game needs good audio. We want them to not only be visually appealing, we also want them to be appealing to our ears. The game that won this award nailed that. Alien: Isolation, a horror stealth game which takes place 15 years after the events of the film Alien, and uses original recordings and audio from the actual movie. The audio of Alien: Isolation is not just immersive - it takes you into a whole new realm. It is definitely a worthy winner for such an award. This video by GameSpot shows just how carefully crafted Alien: Isolation's sound engine is.
Take a look at Menachem Rephun's review of Alien: Isolation.
Funky graphics reminiscent of Fez and great sound design are both features in the winner of these two categories, Monument Valley. Developed over the course of just ten months, Monument Valley keeps you hooked on finishing its puzzles and seeing through its illusions. While the game's length and difficulty isn't a particular strong point, its ability to keep your eyes focused on your iPad screen is just brilliant. It was named as Apple's best iPad game of 2014, and by January this year, it managed to sell a whopping two million copies.
Rich Kovarovic wrote this lovely review of the game.
Heroes of Warcraft, rejoice! Yes, the winner of the best multiplayer game award is Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, a card strategy game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. The concept is simple: take the game World of Warcraft, put the heroes and adventurers from that game into a trading card game, call it 'Hearthstone' and you've got a hit. While it may be a simple idea, its brilliance and ability to evolve with new card sets and expansions make the best multiplayer game of recent years. Even those without experience of playing games like Magic: The Gathering will still get a kick out of this wonderful delight.
Unepitaphed becomes "enthralled by the Hearthstone" in his review.
We could say that Alien: Isolation is worthy of this award, but the crown was stolen from none other than Far Cry 4. Cliff Martinez, Tony Gronick, Jerome Angelot pulled out all the stops to make a brilliant soundtrack for such a great new entry into the Far Cry franchise. There's not much to say other than the work of these three individuals within this game is truly astounding.
Take a peek at our official review of Far Cry 4.
Every video game needs good voice actors and mo-cap to be a pleasant experience for the player - and that's what this award is all about. The winner is most known for her voice acting role in Disney's animated TV series 'Recess' as Gretchen Grundler, but in recent times has gone on to be the voice of a character from one of the 'greatest video games of all time'. Her name is Ashley Johnson, and she provided the voice and motion capture for Ellie from The Last of Us (and its DLC 'Left Behind'). She is truly deserving of this award and upon accepting it, gave the most emotional speech of the night:
I feel so lucky I got to play Ellie. I'm so proud I got to play a strong female character who isn't sexualized, or a damsel in distress, or even the opposite of that. Ellie is vulnerable and she's kind and she's loyal and she's the girl who probably wouldn't have fit in at school. And at times she was also allowed to be scared. This is for the tomboys, and the misfits, and the weirdos, and the outcasts, and the ones who didn't really fit in. You can sit at my table. Live long and prosper.
See our article on Ellie's impact as a female character.
I may as well just come out with it now. The Last of Us: Left Behind was the winner of this award, and rightfully so. The main story of Left Behind is set three weeks before the main game. It follows Ellie and her friend Riley before Ellie had met Joel. Riley reveals she became a firefly and the pair spend the last moments they are allowed to have together by dancing and having fun. It didn't last too long and soon we are hooked to a side of Ellie we had never experienced before.
I know what you're thinking. You expect the winner of this particular category to be FIFA, or any other kind of EA Sports game, right? Surprisingly not. Skateboarding game OlliOlli took the crown, a game originally released for the PlayStation Vita. The game follows a very simple control scheming, with only a few buttons actually being needed to play the game to its full extent. The aim is to perform tricks and try to land perfectly without being a complete skateboarding failure. Not my kind of game, but hey, neither is any sport game.
Check out an article we wrote about OlliOlli before its release.
It's time for the game that has had everyone hyped for the last few years. It's strangely addictive, and we're not sure when people will stop making a fuss about it, although Microsoft seem to have big plans after they recently acquired it. It's the game where you can get blown up by a creepy green creature that stealthily creeps up behind you, Minecraft. The game is simple, in fact, the clue is in the name. It has been a hit for a few years now with gameplay videos galore on YouTube and millions of sales. Being acquired by Microsoft means that the game has an opportunity to keep on growing. Although, Microsoft being Microsoft, it could just crash and burn. This particular award actually goes to the console editions of the game, rather than the original PC version. I suppose it's one way of expanding the community.
Ride a minecart all the way to Branden Sumerix' review of Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition.
This award was won by no other than the most persistent game in the history of the universe, League of Legends. This multiplayer online battle arena game is one of the most popular in its genre, though more and more competition has started to crop up such as SMITE. League of Legends has a very large competitive scene, with $2.3 million in the prize pool last year. As Bruno Mars would put it, "Hot damn."
What exactly is an 'original property' award? Every game is 'original property' in one way or another, right? It's got to be. Regardless, Valiant Hearts grabbed this one. Valiant Hearts takes place amidst the first World War, featuring five truly remarkable characters and their stories. You could really feel for and empathize with each character in the game. Not only that, but it's also very educational in the sense that it shows just what the war was like. It's the first time I've actually saw a game manage to capture such a horrifying historical event in a great way. If that's not 'original content', I don't know what is.
Read Endure_and_Survive's review of Valiant Hearts.
Never Alone is the BAFTA award winning debut game of 2015. You play as little girl Nuna and her fox companion, as you solve puzzles to progress the story. The gameplay may not be completely up to scratch, but it is satisfying nonetheless, and definitely a great game to make its debut this year.
Read our official review of Never Alone. Just don't read it... alone.
This category had some truly brilliant contenders, from Alien: Isolation to Far Cry 4 and even Hearthstone. But in the end, the winner was, and had to be, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. I'll be honest, I've not played much of this game but it is extremely pleasing to look at. The graphics are crisp right down to the last detail and the gameplay in Middle-earth is something that I expect from every game. No other game could've competed with the design of this gorgeous game.
Sharard Ray reviewed this game on the PS3.
Ones to Watch
Potentially the trippiest game of all time, Chambara is the winner of the BAFTA Ones to Watch award, in association with Dare to Be Digital. It is a local multiplayer stealth game that only uses two colours in the entire game at any one time. The aim is to camoflauge yourself with the environment in a player versus player duel to the death! It's great fun, if anyone actually uses local multiplayer anymore.
We're almost at the end of our awards, but before we reveal the winner of the greatest BAFTA award, we must first turn our attention to the special recognition 'Fellowship' award. The winner of which, is none other than David Braben. He is the original developer of Elite, and has worked on many games as founder of Frontier Developments, such as Thrillville and Rollercoaster Tycoon. Braben has been developing games since 1982, and his first game Elite has recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. I am absolutely delighted that Braben was chosen to receive this award because he really is a remarkable man who has made such an outstanding contribution to the games industry over the last thirty years.
You know what they say... "save the best until last". Here it is, the most prestigious BAFTA Game Award there is - best game. What game will fulfil its Destiny? Oh, sorry, bad joke. Yes, the winner of the award is Destiny, developed by Bungie. Honestly, everyone expected it. Destiny is a first person shooter game, a bit like Call of Duty except... well... its not. Of course, Bungie is the creator of the Halo franchise, and Destiny draws a lot of inspiration from it, from the characters to the classes. The game engine is brilliant and really feels like it is made for next-gen (although we could argue it should now be called 'current gen'). Downloadable content for the game is already available, with more coming this year. It was confirmed in November 2014 that Bungie will be developing a sequel to Destiny, and we're sure it will be just as good as the first!
Look at our official review of Destiny.
And that's it! Another round of game awards have been given out courtesy of the British gaming industry and the event itself was brilliant. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees! You can find highlights of the BAFTA Game Awards 2015 below.