Blimey.

What an insanely good lineup of nominations this year.

The BAFTA nominations were announced earlier this morning with The Chinese Room’s Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture leading the charge with ten nominations. The Witcher III, Her Story and Life is Strange, among others, also lead the pack with seven and five nominations respectively.

Having had a look at the list and seen the nominations, here’s who I want to walk away with gold on April 7 and why.

rapture

Artistic Achievement – Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

Also nominated:

  • Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • Ori and the Blind Forest
  • The Witcher III: Wild Hunt

Should clarify first off why the scratchmark on Ori. If you see a game scratched out, that’s because I’ve not played the game, therefore not in the postilion to give it an opinion. In this case, I’ve not played Ori.

Anyways, Rapture has to win this. It’s a no brainer in this instance.

rapture

Audio Achievement – Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

Also nominated:

  • Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • Star Wars: Battlefront
  • The Witcher III: Wild Hunt

Again, this is another no brainer for Rapture. How it does audio in the game is just stunning. And not’s not factoring in the fantastic performances of the cast or Jessica Curry’s incredible score, which we’ll come to in due course.

rapture

British Game – Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

Also nominated:

  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Her Story
  • Prison Architect
  • Tearaway Unfolded
  • Until Dawn

This really seems like I’m being really bias towards Rapture at this point – and I promise as it get further in, it’ll die down – but in terms of the games I’ve played that made my GOTY list, Rapture is the one that stands strongest here. Don’t get it twisted, Her Story is absolutely phenomenal and Batman: Arkham Knight and Tearaway Unfolded are good games as well. But Rapture, from that list, is the one that stands out for me.

her story

Debut Game – Her Story

Other nominations:

  • Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
  • Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
  • Mini Metro
  • Ori and the Blind Forest
  • Prune

By default, Her Story wins. But even if I had played other games on the list, I feel pretty certain I would have given the nod to Her Story still.

rocket league

Family Game – Rocket League

Other nominations:

  • Disney Infinity 3.0
  • FIFA 16
  • Guitar Hero Live
  • LEGO Dimensions
  • Super Mario Maker

This is very much likely to be an instance of who I want to win will most likely be very much different from who should – and most likely, will – win the award. FIFA 16 or either of the toys-to-life games are the favourites here, but for me, I’ve not played the latter two and I’ve not played FIFA 16 beyond an hour or two.

Guitar Hero Live works really well as a family game, I’ll admit, but as personal preference, it’s towards the bottom end of the spectrum in terms of Guitar Hero games – and music games – while I can’t give too much of an opinion on Mario Maker as I’ve not played a great deal of it and barely tried any of it online.

Therefore, if we’re still talking personal preference, Rocket League gets my vote. And even then, how could it not work as a family game? One of the few rare breeds of local multi.

rocket league

Game Design – Rocket League

Other nominations:

  • Bloodborne
  • Grow Home
  • Her Story
  • Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
  • The Witcher III: Wild Hunt

If it wasn’t for who I actually picked, I’d say Her Story would win this for me. But Rocket League has to win in this instance because it takes one of the most simple design concepts you can think of – cars and football – in a way that just works. It just… does.

her storyGame Innovation – Her Story

Other nominations:

  • Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
  • Life is Strange
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • Splatoon
  • Until Dawn

This was a toughie to go for with such a great list of nominations, all justified in their selection. But in the end, Her Story edges it for me ahead of Life is Strange and Rapture.

her story

Mobile & Handheld – Her Story

Other nominations:

  • Alphabear
  • Fallout Shelter
  • Lara Croft GO
  • Prune
  • The Room Three

Fallout Shelter is already chucked here because I’ve not played too much of it to give an opinion. For me, it’s Her Story and Alphabear and even then, it’s a no contest. Alphabear is an excellent game to lose time to, but Her Story is the easy winner here. Plus, mobile – iPad, specifically – is where I spent most of the time playing the game.

splatoon

Multiplayer – Splatoon

Other nominations:

  • Destiny: The Taken King
  • Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
  • Rocket League
  • Rainbow Six Siege
  • World of Warships

This is perhaps another one of those instances where who I want to win will most likely be different to who should and probably will win. In this instance, the who most likely will win will be The Taken King. And it’d be a deserved victory. It fixed most of Destiny’s faults and made it into a game that is incredibly enjoyable, even if I had already found the vanilla games to be enjoyable as is, warts and all.

But Splatoon is on a whole new level for me. Not just in how it executes its design, but also the fact it’s one of the very, very rare multiplayer games where not only I have actually put in an incredible amount of time into – the only games I’ve put more into MP wise is Metal Gear Online 1 & 2, Gears of War 1 and maybe GTA Online – but actually forgo a game’s single-player in favour of the multi.

That surely has to mean something.

rapture

Music – Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

Other nominations:

  • Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Fallout 4
  • Halo 5: Guardians
  • Ori and the Blind Forest

Shut it down, this is not even a contest.

Out of any award here, I feel like this is at least the one award where the winner will absolutely be the same as my pick here. Because quite frankly, if Jessica Curry does not win any awards Rapture’s soundtrack is nominated for but especially this, inquiries will be called. Because for me, this is the clear winner. And it’s not even close.

The closest competition I feel is Fallout 4 and even then, it doesn’t hold a candle to Curry’s incredible score. With the exception of Ori, the other nominations are good soundtracks.

But like I said, this is not even a contest. It shouldn’t be. If Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture doesn’t win this, it’ll be a massive bombshell.

life is strange

Original Property – Life is Strange

Other nominations:

  • Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
  • Her Story
  • Ori and the Blind Forest
  • Splatoon
  • Until Dawn

I’m a bit surprised it’s only taken so long before I finally gave Life is Strange a nod. Still, out of any property here, it’s perhaps the one with the longest legs. Her Story and Rapture, incredible as they both are, are one-offs, as is Ori. An Until Dawn VR game is in the works and there’s been enough rampant support for a proper sequel, but nothing as yet. And considering Splatoon has now sold 4 million units worldwide, I’d be amazingly surprised if we didn’t get a sequel – or a port of the first game for launch – for the NX.

But Life is Strange is the one that has potential to grow. Square Enix is not putting a lot of backing into the digital version and a boxed copy of the game earlier this year for a one-off. Plus, Dontnod has already effectively said a Season 2 is in the works, not to mention their previous comments Life is Strange would effectively be an anthology series.

Life is Strange has this. Surely.

lis chloePerformer – Ashly Burch (Chloe Price, Life is Strange)

Other nominations:

  • Doug Cockle (Geralt, The Witcher III)
  • Merele Dandrige (Kate, Everbody’s Gone to the Rapture)
  • Oliver Dimsdale (Stephen, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture)
  • Mark Hamil (Joker, Batman: Arkham Knight)
  • Masasa Moyo (Vella, Broken Age: Act 2)

First off: where on earth is Viva Selfert in this? Seriously? Sam Barlow is a huge part of what makes Her Story so great, but Viva Selfert isĀ another. She is why Her Story stands out. An incredibly disappointing oversight from BAFTA here considering the game’s other nominations.

Anyways, with the exception of Masasa Moyo (because I’ve not played Broken Age yet) and Doug Cockle, this is the category I really struggled with most because holy shit, there are incredible performances here. Mark Hamil’s Joker never fails to deliver and is a a shame that we may have heard him for the last time as the Joker.

In the end, it came down to Ashly Burch and Merele Dandridge for me. Great as Oliver Dimsdale was, it was between the former two. And I properly agonised on who I’d go for here.

In the end, it had to be Burch. There was no-one else better suited as Chloe and completely nailed her personality very well.

ffxivPersistent Game – Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Other nominations:

  • Destiny: The Taken King
  • Guitar Hero Live
  • Lego Dimensions
  • Prison Architect
  • The Witcher III: Wild Hunt

This is a weird category. In regards to the rules for being eligible for the category, does it mean you have a game that changes over time as a service – in this instance, Destiny or FFXIV – or a game which’ll get add-on content? I don’t get it, it’s all confusing here.

Anyways, from what I choose to take the award at from face value – a game that changes over time as a live service – I’m going for FFXIV over Destiny, which is another award where who I want to win will very much be different over who will win.

But the reason I picked FFXIV over The Taken King, good as The Taken King is, is because I was first introduced to the game last year after buying it on a whim. Were it not for the fact that had it already come out on PS4 in 2014 and I had managed to finish the vanilla content and reached the start of the Heavensward content at least, chances are I absolutely would have put it in my top ten of last year. It’s also a rarity in that it’s a sub-based MMO that just succeeds.

life is strangeStory – Life is Strange

Other nominations:

  • Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
  • Her Story
  • Undertale
  • Until Dawn
  • The Witcher III: Wild Hunt

Like with performance, this was down to Life is Strange and Rapture. Her Story’s, well, story was fantastic and leaves you thinking for days once you’ve finished it. In regards to The Witcher III, as I’ve noted, it’s only been a playthrough of a few hours, so no opinion.

But Rapture’s themes of love, loss and life hit me very hard and the way The Chinese Room something haunting and beautiful as it tells you the final moments of a small countryside village. It was incredible, if not melancholic.

However, Life is Strange stands out not just because it also deals with those themes, but more which will add to the game’s legacy as we head towards the end of the generation: bullying, suicide, sexuality, euthanasia and thensome. Not to mention the incredibly wonderful and genuine friendship between Max and Chloe.

Like I said, it was really difficult to pick a winner of the two as they mean a great deal personally. But Life is Strange has to take it here.

life is strangeBest Game – Life is Strange

Other nominations:

  • Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
  • Fallout 4
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • Rocket League
  • The Witcher III: Wild Hunt

The biggest award of the night is another one of those awards where it’s very likely the winner will be different from what I pick, even if that is the strongest possible selection of six games. The games likely to win it will either be Fallout 4 or Rapture, the latter would be highly deserving if so.

But for me, it has to be Life is Strange – of course it has to be Life is Strange.

As I said above for story, the game is incredible for the themes it hits, the fantastic friendship between Max and Chloe. But also, the game’s fantastic soundtrack – original and licensed, the latter playing a huge part in season highlights – art design and more. It almost nails perfectly the feeling of being a teenager. The whole rewinding time mechanic and stopping the tornado from wiping out Arcadia, which was meant to be the main crux of the game, actually feels secondary to everything else that’s great of Life is Strange’s first season.

All the same, it’s the game I hope wins on April 7. Whether it actually does is another story.

Final tally:

  • Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture – Four BAFTAs
  • Life is Strange – Four BAFTAs
  • Her Story – Three BAFTAs
  • Rocket League – Two BAFTAs
  • Splatoon – One BAFTA
  • Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn – One BAFTA
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