14th March 2010 - Later this week the British Academy of Film and Television Arts will announce the 2009 winners of their prestigious ‘BAFTA’ Awards and they have the Dark Knight in their sights.
Sponsored by GAME, the full list of nominees can be seen here and here, but in addition to that there is also an opportunity for the public to weigh in and vote for their best game of 2009: the short list though looks like this:
Not really any surprises there. What is surprising though is that the above list was picked on sales, and only in GAME stores. So although it actually does represent the cream of last years crop, the British voting public actually have their hands tied as they vote for the best game out of the best selling games…. which in theory should equate to the best of the best. Pleasingly Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is on many of the lists, as personal feelings were that is was a well under-represented game. A mail-out this week saw that Batman is in for a whopping 8 award nominations across all the categories including Best Action Title and Gameplay and Story.
Covering television, film and ‘television craft’ the British Academy is decidedly bringing some class to our beloved past-time, putting some of the lowliest video games right up their next to prime-time drama- and why not. In particular, games are nominated for Artistic Direction and Best Original Score as well as Using Audio in the best way possible. Too often I think we tend to over look at the styling and artistic interpretation of games as well as limiting Audio to how well it sounds rather than how it was used. That said, considering the number of Indi games and arcade titles last year, the above list of games also all classify for ‘artistic direction awards’ apparently …
So AAG has lowered the bar and taken a punt at our BAFTA predictions, based on the current nominations for each category:
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
(Sony Computer Entertainment/Naughty Dog and SCE Foster City Studio)
Assassin’s Creed II
Sebastien Puel, Patrice Desilets
Ubisoft Entertainment/Ubisoft Montreal
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Family and Social
Wii Sports Resort
Katsuya Eguchi, Takayuki Shimamura, Yoshikazu Yamashita
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Jeremiah Slaczka, Marius Fahlbusch
Warner Bros Interactive Entertainmnent/5th Cell
Left 4 Dead 2
Gabe Newell, Chet Faliszek, Tom Leonard
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
James Hannigan, Zsolt Marx, Campbell Askew
Electronic Arts/EA Bright Light
Andrew Wilson, David Rutter, Gary Paterson
Electronic Arts/EA Canada
Dragon Age: Origins
Ray Muzyka, Greg Zeschuk, Mike Laidlaw
Empire: Total War
Use of Audio
Jamie Jackson, Dan Neil, Tim Riley
Use of Online
Patrick Liu, Gordon Van Dyke
Electronic Arts/EA DICE
BAFTA One to Watch
Murray Sinclair, Faye Wright, Liam Wong, Sean Donnelly, Nnanna Kama (PixelPirates)
GAME 2009 Award
Batman Arkham Asylum (Rocksteady Studios/Eidos)
So that’s about the sum of it. Batman is definitely in for a few awards although given the timing of the showcase, will the fact that Battlefield is still going so strong bias the opinion polls. Batman has been lurking in the shadows for a few months now.
Curiously other big names like Borderlands are surprising absent in either artistic direction or gameplay, but will the Poms perchance for soccer- I mean football and Harry Potter win out over Euro-tripping Ezio and Wii Sports.
The Ceremony will be live on bafta.org as of 8.45 Friday 19th March (Assuming British times). The whole event is a nice token of appreciation toward this illustrious industry and in doing so will see the motherland bestow Nintendo’s’ Shigeru Miyamoto with an Academy Fellowship which is their highest accolade. Dara O’ Briain is hosting.
BAFTA has only been awarding video games for 5 years, so in theory has only covered the current generation of consoles. 2010 is already delivering us a bumper crop of gaming goodness, so next years awards should be very interesting. As Friday's awards get closer, AAG wishes all the contenders good luck and good gaming!