British Academy Games Awards 2015: The nominations are in

The potential winners are in – which games should scoop the prestigious award?

Hot on the heels of the BAFTAs come the British Academy Games Awards, once again setting out to reward the industry’s artistic innovations and convince the non-believers of the medium’s merits.
This year is particularly interesting – the end of the console cycle last year slowed the flow of triple-A releases, clearing the path for some awesome, innovative indie titles to get the recognition they deserve; games like Monument Valley, Lumino City, Never Alone, The Wolf Among Us and 80 Days – all incredible achievements. Kevin Spacey’s appearance in the latest Call of Duty will grab the headlines in the Performer category, but once again the overall bar for video games acting was raised dramatically, not least by Ashley Johnson in the DLC package for The Last of Us.
And finally, how will the Academy react to Destiny, the grandiose, massively multiplayer space opera that will probably go down in history for causing more divorces than any other game. Will its slick multiplayer offering and sheer un-put-downable-ness overcome a lacklustre storyline? All will be revealed on 12 March.

BEST GAME


Dragon Age Inquisition

THE NOMINEES
  • Alien Isolation
  • Destiny
  • Dragon Age Inquisition
  • Mario Kart 8
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • Monument Valley
WHO’S GONNA WIN?
What looked for a long time like a duff year for games ended strongly and we reckon it’s a four-way battle between Alien, Destiny, Dragon Age and Mario Kart. Our hearts say Mario, but our heads reckon it’s going to be either Alien or Dragon Age.

MULTIPLAYER


Destiny

THE NOMINEES
  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
  • Destiny
  • Mario Kart 8
  • Minecraft: Console Editions
  • Titanfall
WHO’S GONNA WIN?
The next generation of consoles open up all kinds of possibilities for multi-player games. Most of the early releases, somewhat predictably, don’t live up to the hype (see: Titanfall). But one does: Destiny is a shoo-in.

SPORT


Fifa 15

THE NOMINEES
  • Fifa 15
  • Football Manager 15
  • Forza Horizon 2
  • OlliOlli
  • Madden NFL 15
  • Trials Fusion
WHO’S GONNA WIN?
Madden NFL 15 is an almost unbelievably adept sports sim, but as this is the BAFTAs, we’re going to write it off. Forza added little to the racing genre, while OlliOlli and Trials Fusion are just pleasant time-wasters. Fifa 15 by default.

PERFORMER


Kevin Spacey

THE NOMINEES
  • Adam Harrington (Bigby Wolf in The Wolf Among Us)
  • Ashley Johnson (Ellie in The Last of Us: Left Behind)
  • Kevin Spacey (Jonathan Irons in Advanced Warfare)
  • Logan Cunningham (Transistor in Transistor)
  • Melissa Hutchison (Clementine in The Walking Dead: S2)
  • Troy Baker (Pagan Min in Far Cry 4)
WHO’S GONNA WIN?
Should be Johnson but we doubt the panel will see past Spacey.

BEST FAMILY GAME


Mario Kart 8

THE NOMINEES
  • The Lego Movie Videogame
  • LittleBigPlanet 3
  • Minecraft: Console Editions
  • Mario Kart 8
  • Skylanders Trap Team
  • Twelve A Dozen
WHO’S GONNA WIN?
Twelve A Dozen achieves the unthinkable and makes maths fun, while LittleBigPlanet and Minecraft are as good as ever. But it would be a travesty if Mario Kart doesn’t win; it’s pick-up-and-play quality means even your nan can have fun racing seasoned gamers.

GAME DESIGN


Far Cry 4

THE NOMINEES
  • Alien Isolation
  • Destiny
  • Far Cry 4
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • Threes
WHO’S GONNA WIN?
This is a tough one to call. How do you compare the simple but perfect puzzle game Threes with the interplanetary space opera that is Destiny? Far Cry 4 didn’t add much to its predecessor but its gameplay is so tight and engaging it would be a worthy winner.

GAME INNOVATION


Alien Isolation

THE NOMINEES
  • 80 Days
  • Alien Isolation
  • Lumino City
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • Titanfall
  • The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
WHO’S GONNA WIN?
80 Days brilliantly weaves storytelling and inventory management; Lumino City’s melding of real-life and computer graphics is astonishing. But we think Alien’s return to unbeatable, terrifying baddies will inspire a generation of games designers.

ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT


Monument Valley

THE NOMINEES
  • Assassin’s Creed Unity
  • Far Cry 4
  • Hohokum
  • Lumino City
  • Monument Valley
  • Valiant Hearts
WHO’S GONNA WIN?
One category where the indie titles look set to reap the rewards; the psychedelic world of Hohokum is a beauty to behold, Valiant Hearts interactive comic is stunning, but the minimalistic, Escher-like worlds of Monument Valley win it for us.

STORY


The Last of Us: Left Behind

THE NOMINEES
  • 80 Days
  • Broken Age
  • Far Cry 4
  • The Last of Us: Left Behind
  • Never Alone
  • The Wolf Among Us
WHO’S GONNA WIN?
Never Alone is hauntingly beautiful, while The Wolf Among Us has incredible source material (Bill Willingham’s Fables comics). One of them should really win. But we’re blinded by our love for The Last of Us, so this final chance to revisit its bleak world gets our vote.

BRITISH GAME


Lumino City

THE NOMINEES
  • 80 Days
  • Alien Isolation
  • Forza Horizon 2
  • Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions
  • Lumino City
  • Monument Valley
WHO’S GONNA WIN?
The Brits really smashed it this year, with two Best Game nominees (Alien and Monument Valley) plus the brilliant indie titles 80 Days and Lumino City. For straight-up gameplay, Alien takes it, but Lumino City deserves to win something...