Bafta games awards: Hades triumphs over The Last of Us | Games

Critically acclaimed dungeon-crawler game Hades was the big winner at the Bafta games awards on Thursday night. In a ceremony carried ou...


Critically acclaimed dungeon-crawler game Hades was the big winner at the Bafta games awards on Thursday night. In a ceremony carried out entirely online, the title by San Francisco-based developer Supergiant Games won in five categories, including best game, game design, narrative and artistic achievement.

The night was expected to be dominated by high-profile sequel The Last of Us Part II, which in the end took three awards: animation, acting in a lead role, which was won by Laura Bailey for her performance as Abby, and the EE best game of the year award, voted by viewers.

The best British game award was taken by SackBoy: A Big Adventure by Sumo Digital, which also won in the family category. The wildly ambitious Dreams by Guildford-based Media Molecule, which allows players to construct their own games, animations and music, won in technical achievement, and studio director Siobhan Reddy was awarded the Bafta Fellowship. In a strong night for veteran UK studios, Rare won the award for evolving game for its innovative multiplayer pirate adventure, Sea of Thieves.

Elle Osili-Wood hosts the 2021 Bafta games awards
Elle Osili-Wood hosts the 2021 Bafta games awards. Photograph: Rocky Darko/BAFTA/REX/Shutterstock

It was a night of reflection about a difficult year for the industry. The awards broadcast began with a series of filmed interviews with game developers discussing the challenges of remote working in a highly collaborative medium. “No one guessed this would go on for a year,” said Vince Zampella, head of Apex Legends developer Respawn Entertainment. “We had to send people’s equipment to their homes and that was a much bigger task than we realised.” Brenda Romero, co-founder of Romero Games said: “Within two weeks, everything changed. We made available a counsellor. We just wanted to make sure that if staff felt they needed to reach out, they could.”

But there were also comments about the positive impact games have had during the pandemic. Jay-Ann Lopez, founder of gaming community Black Girl Gamers, said: “Covid forced people to use games to connect, which is what gamers have been doing for years. Along with that came a discussion about diversity in this space, because so many more people were paying attention to it.”

This mood was reflected in the triumph of Animal Crossing New Horizons in two awards: multiplayer and game beyond entertainment, a category reserved for titles that have made significant societal impact. Released last March, the latest title in the bright, colourful life-sim series, which allows player to visit each other’s virtual homes and islands, was seen by many as a social lifeline during the first lockdown.

“[Games] transcend boundaries and fosters connection,” awards presenter Elle Osili-Wood stated in her closing speech. “Video games have always been open to all, an invitation to adventure, no matter who and where you are.

“This year, the world has opened its eyes to the profound potential that games offer.”

Full list of winners

Animation: The Last of Us Part II
Artistic achievement: Hades
Audio achievement: Ghost of Tsushima
Best game: Hades
British game: SackBoy A Big Adventure
Debut game: Carrion
Evolving game: Sea of Thieves
Family: SackBoy A Big Adventure
Game design: Hades
Game beyond entertainment: Animal Crossing New Horizons
Multiplayer: Animal Crossing New Horizons
Music: Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales
Narrative: Hades
Original property: Kentucky Route Zero
Performer in a leading role: Laura Bailey, The Last of Us Part II
Performer in a supporting role: Logan Cunningham, Hades
Technical achievement: Dreams
EE game of the Year: The Last of Us Part II

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