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The British Academy put on arguably its most unorthodox awards show on Thursday night.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the red carpet ceremony for the BAFTA Games Awards at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall had to be scrapped, replaced instead with a prerecorded broadcast streamed online. Newly imposed government rules regarding social distancing meant that host Dara Ó Briain — still wearing a tuxedo — filmed his segments in advance from his spare room, with every nominee having recorded an acceptance speech, just in case.
“This entire awards ceremony feels like it’s taking place in a cut scene from The Last of Us,” said Ó Briain, who also warned that his cat might walk through at any moment.
The evening, unusual as it may have been, saw the sci-fi action-adventure mystery Outer Wilds take best game honors, alongside awards for game design and original property. Disco Elysium also claimed three prizes, for debut game, narrative and music.
Performer in a leading role went to Gonzalo Martin for Life Is Strange 2 (episodes 2-5), while Control‘s Martti Suosalo was named best performer in a supporting role.
Action-adventure Luigi’s Mansion 3 won in the new animation category; artistic achievement honors went to Sayonara Wild Hearts; Ape Out was hailed for audio achievement; Apex Legends took home the BAFTA for multiplayer; and Path of Exile won for evolving game.
Other nods went to Observation for British game; Untitled Goose Game in the family category; Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to) for games beyond entertainment; and the genre-defying Death Stranding, from writer, director and designer Hideo Kojima, for technical achievement. Call of Duty: Mobile claimed the mobile game award.
The event saw Metal Gear Solid creator Kojima also accept — via a prerecorded video — the British Academy’s highest honor, the BAFTA Fellowship, with the likes of Edgar Wright and Park Chan Wook having sent in video messages.
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