Interview: How BAFTA Games Awards narrows down its nominees
THE British Academy of Film and Television Arts has just announced the nominees for the BAFTA Games Awards 2023, and the competition is strong.
There are 45 games total nominated for an award this year, and the jury will have to spend a significant amount of time deliberating over which title deserves the awards across the 19 categories – you can see all of them in our full BAFTA Games Awards 2023 nominees list.
To find out exactly what goes into the process and what the team looks for when narrowing down the list of nominees, GLHF spoke with BAFTA Games Committee chair Tara Saunders, along with the newly appointed CEO of BAFTA, Jane Millichip.
“What I love about this is that the list is so broad and ranges from the big-selling releases that we’ve all seen and heard about, but there are also a lot of smaller titles in there that are new and from new developers,” Saunders tells GLHF when discussing the long list of nominees.
“That is showing us BAFTA’s power to elevate a lot of the really amazing creative content that the games industry generates.”
“And the two games with the most nominations, God of War Ragnarok and Stray, they couldn’t be more different,” Millichip chimes in.
BAFTA doesn’t just arbitrarily pick its nominees from a hat, of course.
“Luckily, BAFTA has a big membership base that plays a wide variety of games, and those members elevate the titles that they think have the best quality in each category,” Saunders explains.
“It is difficult for them, and it should be, because there are so many great games across the whole list, and some have been pushed out of the way to allow others a spot.”
“I think responsive in a way that other screen arts can’t be,” Millichip tells us in regards to the Evolving Game category.
This category isn’t really possible in film, TV, or music, but video games can be updated and continue to serve fans for years, as indicated by titles like the 19-year-old World of Warcraft.
This year Apex Legends, Final Fantasy XIV, and The Elder Scrolls Online all make the nominee list for this category.
“I think gamers themselves have a great sense of agency and power to persuade and dictate the way [the industry] goes,” Millichip continues.
“The evolution of those ongoing games is a response to the gamers themselves.”
But BAFTA isn’t simply an awards ceremony, it’s also a charity that helps find and nurture upcoming creatives with its Breakthrough scheme.
“It was really heartening this year to see that two of our Breakthrough participants have nominated games this year,” Millichip explains, referring to Charu Desodt who worked on As Dusk Falls, which is nominated for Debut Game, and Jay Armstrong, co-founder of Massive Monsters, developer of Cult of the Lamb, which is nominated in four categories.
The list includes games that have dominated industry discourse, such as God of War Ragnarok and Elden Ring, but also gives time to Tunic, Vampire Survivors, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge.
It does a good job of showcasing the diversity in the medium, without missing out on independent developers and publishers.
“Embracing big commercial and small indie in one big celebration – I think that’s really important to do,” Millichip adds.
“Entertainment, commercial, and quality are not mutually exclusive. Supporting the indie companies and talent there is equally important to us.”
Written by Dave Aubrey on behalf of GLHF.
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