Coming close on the heels of SXSW’s inaugural Gaming Awards on March 8th, the winners of the BAFTA Games Awards may have come as no surprise. NaughtyDog’s The Last of Us was the star of both events: the only game to win multiple categories at SXSW (Excellence in Musical Score and Game of the Year) and the game with the most wins at the BAFTAs, picking up five of its ten nominations. Grand Theft Auto V was close behind, however, winning three awards, two in categories where The Last of Us was also nominated.
Tearaway, whose lead creator Rex Crowle was given BAFTA’s Breakthrough Brit honor at the 2013 BAFTA awards, also received three wins for the Artistic Achievement, Family, and Mobile & Handheld categories (and yes, I’m still bitter that no 3DS games were nominated in the latter). The indie game from Starbreeze Studios, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, was recognized for Game Innovation at the BAFTAs and Excellence in Gameplay at SXSW, while its fellow independently developed nominee Papers, Please won for Strategy & Simulation. Brothers and Papers, Please will be competing for more awards at the Independent Games Festival, which begins on March 17.
While Super Mario 3D World was given an award for Best Multiplayer at SXSW, Nintendo’s nominees were ignored at the BAFTAs, with Super Mario losing out to GTA V in Multiplayer, BioShock Infinite in Original Music, The Last of Us in Game of the Year, and Animal Crossing: New Leaf to Tearaway in Family.
The Last of Us, which was also named Game of the Year by IGN and awarded Best Animated Video Game at the Annie Awards on February 1st, was unarguably the BAFTA darling, taking home awards for Action and Adventure, Audio Achievement, Performer (for Ashley Johnson, who voices Ellie), Story, and Best Game. In the four other categories it was nominated in – Artistic Achievement, Game Design, Multiplayer, and Original Music – it lost out to Tearaway, GTA V, GTA V, and BioShock Inifinite, respectively.
The event also recognized British-based studio Rockstar, developers of the GTA franchise with the BAFTA Fellowship Award, a lifetime achievement award only offered to members of the video game industry since 2007. The award was presented by Hideo Kojima, VP of Konami Digital Entertainment and director of the Metal Gear series, who was one of many impressive names on the presenter roster, including Ian Livingstone, President of Eidos Interactive, and Steven Moffat, head writer on BBC’s Doctor Who and Sherlock. Rockstar co-founder and VP of creativity Dan Houser, who also worked as a writer on GTA V, called the award a “tremendous honor” in his acceptance speech and added, “Rockstar is a team and a family and it has always been out policy to focus on collaboration.”
The event was hosted for the sixth consecutive time by Irish comedian Dara Ó Briain (although judging by Ellen’s popularity at the Oscars, she may soon have a similar streak going), who had many choice quips to give throughout the night, perhaps most notably, “When I play Grand Theft Auto V, I drive around a bit and occasionally buy a jumper” and “Time for the most ironic award of the night, for sport!”
Other winners of the night included FIFA 14 for Sport, Gone Home for Debut Game, and student-developed Size DOES Matter for Ones to Watch.
The Last of Us will be up to continue its sweep of this year’s awards at the Games Developers Choice Awards on March 19th, where it is nominated for Game of the Year, Best Design, Best Narrative, Best Technology, and Best Visual Art.
If you were unable to watch the show, the program will be broadcast again on Friday March 21 and will be available to watch on the BAFTA youtube channel in a few days.
View the full list of nominees and winners here.