BAFTA British Academy Game Awards 2017 Winners

A wrap-up of the winners of this year's event

The BAFTA British Academy Game Awards ceremony for 2017 was held on April 6th and awarded a large array of games. There were countless nominations surprisingly with a lot of independent game titles making the cut. A total of eighteen awards were presented.

The event was hosted by Thomas was Alone performer, Danny Wallace taking over from regular host Dara O’Brian, whose absence was immediately missed as Wallace stumbled through an opening of obvious digs at the likes of the Nintendo Switch, No Man’s Land and Pokemon Go as he somehow bombed even harder than the opening act of an unknown female singer warbling over footage of the nominations while bored and awkward-looking developers watched. 

Sadly our invites must have gotten lost in the post but thankfully in these modern times the Awards were held live on Twitch meaning that we yet again have another awards ceremony we could attend from the comfort of our couch. Here’s our recap.


Artistic Achievement

Nominations

  • Abzu
  • Dishonored
  • Inside
  • The Last Guardian
  • Uncharted 4
  • Unravel

A strong category but with the amount of buzz being generated by the styling of Inside since its release, it was little surprise to see it pick up the award here, though it could have justifiably been awarded to “Unravel” of the many indie breakout titles we saw this year. And like “Inside,” it shared a distinctive visual style which made them such memorable experiences. While “Abzu” also seemed like a strong contender, perhaps its similarity to the magnificent “Journey” didn’t help make it stand out as much.

Check out our Unravel podcast review here.


Debut Game

Nominations

  • Firewatch
  • Overcooked
  • Oxenfree
  • That Dragon, Cancer
  • Virginia
  • The Witness

Considering the controversy surrounding the game’s length, this was another worthy winner, even if it beat out our favourite game of last year “Oxenfree” for the prize, which hopefully now that it’s been nominated, will allow more people to discover it. The inclusion of “The Witness” is a confusing one though seeing how it essentially skips over the fact that creator Jonathan Blow first launched into the public conscious with the 2004 platform puzzler “Braid”.


Audio Achievement

Nominations

  • Battlefield 1
  • Doom
  • Inside
  • The Last Guardian
  • Rez Infinite
  • Uncharted 4

This was kind of a given that “The Last Guardian” would win, especially with it being the only title aside from “Uncharted 4” to hit all of the criteria outlined by voice actor Cissy Jones who presented the award. It however must be kind of a bummer for those who have yet to play “Inside” to have one of the big twists being given away in the preview footage. Going off the audience reaction though it was clear that “Doom” was the more popular nomination.


2017 Evolving Game

Nominations

  • Destiny: Rise of Iron
  • Elite Dangerous: Horizons
  • Eve Online
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Online
  • Hitman
  • Rocket League

Is anyone else surprised to see “EVE Online” still being given these award nods? More so when you consider how long it’s been around, it’s hard not to view its inclusion here as filler. Rocket League” was a big surprise though seeing how its evolution has consisted solely of car skins and arena packs, but clearly someone on the awards board loves this game seeing how it is the second year in a row now they have given it a nod.


Game Innovation

Nominations

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

A strong category, which could have gone either way with “Pokemon Go” being one of the favourites to win, only for the board to instead lean towards the emotional content of “That Dragon, Cancer” which reminded us once more that games don’t have to be trapped within the confines of the stories which they can tell.


Music

Nominations

  • Abzu
  • Doom
  • Inside
  • The Last Guardian
  • Uncharted 4
  • Virginia

Virginia” was the right winner here, though was amusing that their nomination footage for the award was focused more on the orchestra than showing gameplay, almost as if someone on the board felt they needed to justify the decision. However, the music category does boast a decent amount of competition especially with “Abzu” with its serene underwater setting along with the subtle sounds of “Inside” contrasted drastically with the heavy rock style of “Doom”.


Original Property

Nominations

  • Firewatch
  • Inside
  • The Last Guardian
  • Overwatch
  • Unravel
  • The Witness

Wallace for some reason decided to joke about the award being a sequel / prequel award, despite all the nominations being the first entry in their series or standalone titles and none that have announced a sequel (or at least not a solid date). The nominations, however, really highlighted just how far the Indie games scene has come in recent years with the strongest nominations all being Independent titles. However, the long production time put into “The Last Guardian” may have been what took away their win in this category.

Check out our podcast review of Inside here.


British Game

Nominations

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

Randomly, we had the American voice actor Nolan North presenting the award and while it looked from the outset that “Forza Horizon 3” might grab the award only for crowd favourite though still diversive (looking at the Twitch comments) “Overcooked” snatching it away. It seemed that it wasn’t just a surprise to everyone but to the “Overcooked” development team as well.


Narrative

Nominations

  • Dishonored 2
  • Firewatch
  • Inside
  • Mafia III
  • Oxenfree
  • Uncharted 4

Another award that the indies dominated. While “Inside” might be the more talked about narrative due to its abstract plotting which left the player to make up their own mind what is actually happening, “Oxenfree” and “Firewatch” though were certainly noteworthy for their immersive storylines while the exclusion of “That Dragon, Cancer” was an odd move by the board. Inside was created by a man who doesn’t like narrative in their games and yet with even a dialogue, it does show how powerful “Inside”’s story is.

Give a listen to our podcast review of Oxenfree here.


Multiplayer

Nominations

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

Considering what a monster release “Overwatch” has been let alone the fact that it’s a solely multiplayer title it was kind of a given that it would pick up the award. “Battlefield 1” as certainly another worthy nod and its only real competition in this category and while the other nominations might still be great games, they just can’t compete when it comes to multiplayer popularity.


Game Design

Nominations

  • Battlefield 1
  • Dishonored 2
  • Inside
  • Overwatch
  • Titanfall 2
  • The Witness

Inside” is certainly a stunning game to look at and perhaps it was that immersive experience that it provides compared to reskinned mechanics of “Battlefield 1” and “Titanfall 2” which helped edge it out. “The Witness” though despite being pretty to look at though is essentially just a puzzle focused reworking of “Myst” so its loss here is far from unsurprising.


Ones to Watch

Nominations

 

  • Among the Stones
  • Pentagrab
  • Rebound

While one of the darker indie titles “Inside” nabs a few awards, the colorful upcoming game “Among the Stones” wins the Ones to Watch achievement. Also surprising as we’ve heard of the other two titles before and not this one. “Among the Stones” is one to look a little deeper into perhaps.


Family

Nominations

  • Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Overcooked
  • The Playroom VR
  • Pokemon Go
  • Ratchet & Clank
  • Toca Hair Salon 3

Very surprising to see “Pokemon Go” miss out here, especially considering the amount of people who’ve commented about the accessibility of the gameplay let alone the fact it gets kids wanting to play outside.


Mobile

Nominations

  • The Banner Saga 2
  • Dawn of Titans
  • Deus Ex Go
  • Pokemon Go
  • Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon
  • Reigns

Pokemon Go” has been such a monster hit since its release, its hard to really consider any of the other nominations. Here we had a game which not only brought back old and established fans of the series, while the playability of the game brought in non-gamers who’d never really cared about the series before, only to find themselves charmed by the concept of hunting for fantastical monsters.

While the Go Series by Square Enix has definitely gained a decent popularity with taking popular franchises and turning them into turn-based mobile games, Deus Go seemed like the only real competitor. Although, “Reigns” being showcased here may have had a chance if the winner didn’t sweep the masses last year.


AMD eSports Audience Award

Nominations

 

  • Clash Royale
  • Counter-strike: Global Offensive
  • DOTA 2
  • League of Legends
  • Overwatch
  • Street Fighter V

Wow! Really? Can’t remember when we saw a major tournament for this game. Consider astounded and genuinely surprised.


Performer

Nominations

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

The most potential winner in this category was definitely Nolan North who is having his farewell role in “Uncharted 4” as the rugged treasure hunter that took over Playstation players’ hearts with the Uncharted franchise for the past decade. It is however nice to see an indie title like the suspenseful Firewatch grab the award. Especially when Cissy Jones uses her time on stage to not only offer thanks but also deliver a meaningful speech about how games can give a voice to people who have untold stories, highlighting the importance of the rising indie game industry which didn’t go unnoticed this year for sure.


Best Game

Nominations

  • Firewatch
  • Inside
  • Overwatch
  • Stardew Valley
  • Titanfall 2
  • Uncharted 4

Unsurprisingly “Uncharted 4” picked up the top award especially when it was stubbed in the more technical categories, though the exclusion of “Battlefield 1” is still a confusing one, while “Overwatch” surely deserves some kind of award for how it squashed its competitor “Battleborn”. Seeing how they picked up every other award it was surprising to not see “Inside” pick up the award especially when it was clearly such a favorite with the board.


BAFTA Special Award: Brenda Romero

Overly a very downplayed ceremony this year which was kind of a disappointment considering how the awards have been built up over the last few years, only to be squashed under half baked hosting and most of the of the winners wishing that they were somewhere else judging by the amount of awkward acceptance speeches we saw this year.

If anything though this was the year of the Indie developers with “Inside” creators “Playdead” being the clear winners here, while we eagerly are left waiting to see how they follow it up.

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