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Gaming Roundup – BAFTA Season

Hello! Welcome to the latest Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!

This week, BAFTA nominations, FIFA drama, and more! Plus, all the latest releases!

BAFTA Nominations Announced

The 2021 BAFTA Game Awards have been confirmed, with nominations, the ceremony date and lead presenter all announced. (https://www.bafta.org/media-centre/press-releases/nominations-announced-british-academy-games-awards-2021)

Running a live stream on 25th March and presented by the BBC’s Elle Osili-Wood, the BAFTAs will honour the best of the industry from the past year in Britain and beyond. And unlike the Game Awards, this is a ceremony that respects games as a medium and won’t be cluttered with vape ads and repetitive memes about graphics cards from a woefully out of touch marketing agency. Instead, it’s a celebration of games, as it should be.

The Last of Us Part 2 is a clear favourite, with a whopping 14 nominations, with multiple nominations in the performance categories. Close behind is Ghost of Tsushima with 11 nominations and critic favourite Hades with 9.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales got 7 nominations while most important game of the year, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, got 6. Cyberpunk and Half-Life Alyx each got 4 nominations too.

My personal favourites from last year – Ori and the Will of the Wisps and Final Fantasy VII Remake – each only got 2 nomination, and for that I feel the BAFTA judges have committed a terrible crime.

Naturally, British developers are well represented, with Media Molecule’s Dreams, Mediatonic’s Fall Guys and Sumo Digital’s Sackboy: A Big Adventure all getting a bunch of nods, and my underrated fave Röki also nabbed a couple of nominations too, which is nice.

Here are the full nominations, with my favourite to win highlighted in italics. Let us know your picks!

Animation – Doom Eternal, Final Fantasy VII Remake, The Last of Us Part 2, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Spiritfarer

Artistic Achievement – Cyberpunk 2077, Dreams, Ghost of Tsushima, Hades, Half-Life: Alyx, The Last of Us Part 2

Audio Achievement – Astro’s Playroom, Ghost of Tsushima, Hades, Half-Life: Alyx, The Last of Us Part 2, Spider-Man: Miles Morales

British Game – Dreams, F1 2020, Fall Guys, The Last Campfire, Roki, Sackboy: A Big Adventure

Debut Game – Airborne Kingdom, Call of the Sea, Carrion, Factorio, The Falconeer, Roki

Evolving Game – Destiny 2: Beyond Light, Dreams, Fall Guys, Fortnite, No Man’s Sky, Sea of Thieves

FamilyAnimal Crossing New Horizons, Astro’s Playroom, Dreams, Fall Guys, Minecraft Dungeons, Sackboy: A Big Adventure

Game Design – Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Astro’s Playroom, Ghost of Tsushima, Hades, Half-Life: Alyx, The Last of Us Part 2

Game Beyond Entertainment – Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Before I Forget, Dreams, Spiritfarer, The Last of Us Part 2, Tell Me Why

Multiplayer – Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Deep Rock Galactic, Fall Guys, Ghost of Tsushima, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Valorant

Music – Ghost of Tsushima, Hades, The Last of Us Part 2, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Narrative – Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Cyberpunk 2077, Ghost of Tsushima, Hades, Kentucky Route Zero, Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Original Property – Carrion, Fall Guys, Ghost of Tsushima, Hades, Kentucky Route Zero, Spiritfarer

Performer in a Leading Role – Ashley Johnson as Ellie in The Last of Us Part 2, Cherami Leigh as V in Cyberpunk 2077, Cody Christian as Cloud Strife in Final Fantasy VII Remake, Daisuke Tsuji as Jin Sakai in Ghost of Tsushima, Laura Bailey as Abby in The Last of Us Part 2, Nadji Jeter as Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Performer in a Supporting Role – Carla Tassara as Judy Alvarez in Cyberpunk 2077, Jeffrey Pierce as Tommy in The Last of Us Part 2, Logan Cunningham as multiple roles in Hades, Patrick Gallagher as Khotun Khan in Ghost of Tsushima, Shannon Woodward as Dina in The Last of Us Part 2, Troy Baker as Joel in The Last of Us Part 2

Technical Achievement – Demon’s Souls, Doom Eternal, Dreams, Microsoft Flight Simulator, The Last of Us Part 2, Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Best Game (judge vote)Animal Crossing New Horizons, Ghost of Tsushima, Hades, Half-Life: Alyx, The Last of Us Part 2, Spider-Man: Miles Morales

EE Game of the Year (public vote)Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Call of Duty: Warzone, Ghost of Tsushima, Hades, The Last of Us Part 2, Valorant

My choices for these last two might controversial but let me explain. As I mentioned earlier, my actual game of the year choices would be Ori and the Will of the Wisps or Final Fantasy VII Remake, but neither category featured those. I had too many issues with The Last of Us 2 and Ghost of Tsushima to consider them Game of the Year. My disdain for roguelikes puts me off Hades. Half-Life: Alyx is a VR game that I will probably never play due to VR’s persistent in making me uncomfortable (although I definitely feel it was the nomination doing the most interesting stuff in the Game Design category). And as someone whose taste is the opposite of Warzone or Valorant, I would never have picked those.

Meanwhile, I referred to Animal Crossing as the most important game of last year, and I still hold by that opinion. So Animal Crossing it is. But really, it’s Ori or FF7. By a long shot. And how dare the BAFTAs not nominate either! Again, feel free to dispute my opinion on social media.

Mediatonic Bought By Epic

Fall Guys developer Mediatonic has been purchased by Epic Games.

The news emerged this week that the company that brought us the Unreal Engine and Fortnite have welcomed the British indie studio into the group, in a move that hopes to improve funding for continued Fall Guys support, and to help support future projects.

It’s been a bit of a surprise to hear the news, but it seems like not much will change. Fall Guys is still coming to Xbox and Switch later this year, content plans for PC and PS4 are still moving forward and other games are still in the works.

The main concern for many people is the fear that Epic will remove the game from Steam (along with future content updates) and force everyone over to their storefront. After all, they did this after acquiring the rights to Rocket League, in a move that didn’t sit well with many. Time will tell.

And now, here’s Mat with some esports news!

 

Thanks Leigh! Hi friends, I’m back with some UK esports news for you all to sink your teeth into! This week we have controversial finals, fund raisers and promising plays.

Controversy at FIFAe World Cup 2021 Tournament

Senior staff at UK-based FIFA squad, Futwiz, spoke out over a controversial administrative decision in the closing quarter of their grand final match of the FIFAe World Cup 2021 zone tournament.

Last weekend Futwiz were in the best-of-five South America zone final against eLiga Sul’s Torneios Online at FIFAe World Cup 2021. Things were going well for Futwiz who, despite losing one match to Torneoios, had a 2-1 lead upon entering the fourth match in a best of five.

However, just after half-time of game four, PHzin (representing Torneios), encountered an issue with his game. After restarting the action from the 46th in-game minute, Futwiz player Vini noticed that PHzin had made a substitution during that pause, swapping out his goalie. PHzin went on to win game four, 4-1.

Admins looked at the situation after the game and decided that the substitution was illegal and ruled the game to revert to 4-minute mark. eLiga Sul went on to win the final two games, securing the grand final victory.

Futwiz Dan, the co-founder of the organisation, expressed dismay with the decision over social media and in interviews following the match-up. His argument is essentially, rather than a restart the admins should have penalised Torneios for the illegal play. This has not sparked a debate within the FIFA esports community about the rules and “fairness” within FIFA.

In plain English, there is the incident: PHzin made a substitution during a pause rather than at Half time – this is generally seen as an illegal move in pro-FIFA. According to eSports UK, the substitution in question would “give the subbed-on player maximum chemistry, giving him slightly better stats than a player who is subbed on usually during the course of a game.” Therefore, this substitution has the potential to give PHzin an illegal advantage. This also throws the pause into question on whether it was a genuine outage or a ploy for the substitution.

Fuwitz is criticizing what they see as a lack of consequence for the illegal action during the final and after, with no discerning warning or disciplinary actions taken.

Remote play can be problematic, with net and tech issues being detrimental to an online match. It also means organisers have less control over the transparency of play. With that in mind, it is paramount for tournament organisers to have a robust set of rules and safeguards. Esports UK reports that illegal substitutions are not covered by this tournament’s guidelines, which is an oversight by the organisers. Without these guidelines their decision making has now invited criticism.

Personally, I think Futwiz are right to be dissatisfied with the lack of consequences, particularly as the decision could have cost them a tournament.

Esports Raising Money for Gameblast

British Esports Championships team Coventry Crosshairs hosted an Overwatch ‘Arcade Festival’ last Friday, in aid of SpecialEffect’s Game Blast 2021.

The event consisted of five different arcade modes (Mystery Heroes, Hero Gauntlet, GOATS, Widow Headshot, and Tiny Overwatch) and four teams battled it out for the top spot.

In total the Crosshairs raised £1013 throughout their entire stream – beating their initial target in the last matches of the tournament. As well as this, the Coventry Crosshairs reached affiliate status on their Twitch.

The stream was done as a part of GameBlast 2021 – a fundraising event put on by Special Effect to raise money for the work they do with disabled gamers. The event itself raised an impressive total of £220k for the charity.

Overall, a big well done to Coventry Crosshairs and everyone involved at GameBlast 2021!

Winners at the LoL Finals

Resolve defeated London Esports in an intense best-of-five UKLC League of Legends final on Monday.

London (LE) picked up a surprise win in game one, ending Resolve’s incredible 16-game win streak. This saw them go 14-0 in the Spring 2021 season and beat MNM 2-0 in the first playoffs game on the weekend. While Resolve came back to secure two games in a row, LE gave a very impressive fight and taking the match-up to five games in what fans and critics are calling one of the best finals in recent history.

In game five, Resolve got the first two kills, but London came back into it to take a slight lead. It culminated in some tense mid and late-game team fights, which Resolve managed to win, due in part to some amazing hooks from FastLegged’s Thresh.

While Resolve won the series and to the UKLC crown, both teams have qualified for the Telia Masters – an international tournament which features some of the best teams from Scandinavia and the UK.

The entire 5-game-series can be found on Youtube here clocking in at over 5 hours of intense plays for anyone interested.

The best thing about this story is the level of play. Both UK teams played some remarkable LoL which not only gives an entertaining grand final for UKLC but also gives UK fans something to look forward to in the upcoming international tournament Telia Masters. I just wish the Dota UK pros played like this!

New Releases

 

Let’s start with some re-releases. Yakuza: Like a Dragon comes to PS5 this week, so if you haven’t yet played it on other systems and were able to get a PS5, you can play the next-gen enhanced version there now. Also, Sea of Solitude: Director’s Cut released on Switch, bringing the arty mental health based journey to Nintendo’s system with some new added features.

In small indie releases, Sir Lovelot (PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, Switch) is a puzzle platformer all about a knight impressing a range of damsels in towers. Everhood (PC, Switch) is an indie RPG with Guitar Hero inspired battle mechanics and more than a touch of Undertale in its tone. Mail Mole (PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One) is a 3D platformer about a mole traversing various environments to deliver packages on behalf of his injured brother. And finally, The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante (PC) is a narrative RPG about life in a cruel historical world where your character sets out to carve their own destiny in a world where this is controlled.

The latest from Devolver Digital, Loop Hero (PC) is a roguelike deck builder about a world stuck in a loop. You have to build and defend your campsite while gaining the strength to take down the lich who’s taken over this world.

In one of the week’s oddest releases, Gnosia (Switch) is the Western release of a Japanese cult hit that can be summarised as…a single player Among Us? How does that work, I hear you ask? I’m not entirely sure, but this is a choice based RPG with a wide range of characters on a spaceship. And yes, you have to determine who’s sus.

Harvest Moon: One World (Switch, PS4) is not the classic Harvest Moon (that’s Story of Seasons now) but instead the rival farm sim developed after the original franchise changed hands in the west. It’s a cutesy farm sim, I think that sums it up nicely.

This week, Maquette (PC, PS4, PS5) is Game of the Week. It’s a puzzle game with a fascinating concept – the world is recursive, meaning that every object you interact with in the tiny dioramas within the world will also appear in the world you’re standing in. Drop a block next to the replica of the building you’re standing in and a massive block will drop immediately outside. That kind of thing.

It’s an Annapurna published game, and they have developed a reputation for finding small and expertly crafted emotional stories like Edith Finch and Outer Wilds, and this looks set to follow in those footsteps. Definitely worth a look.

And that’s it for this week! See you again soon!

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