The 2022 BAFTA Games Awards celebrates the best in video game development. Even though we’re into the first quarter of 2022 we’re going to celebrate everything from this point in time since last year. I think we can all agree that last year wasn’t the greatest year for video games. But there were still a good amount of games that deserve our attention. 39 different nominations to be exact over 16 categories.
But taking home most of the awards that night are Returnal, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart as well as a host of great indie games that I’m happy got some recognition. I’m slightly unhappy at the Deathloop and Resident Evil: Village snub though tbh.
Here’s the list of all the winners of the 2022 BAFTA Games Awards.
Returnal by Housemarque, Sony Interactive Entertainment
Best Game, Audio Achievement, Music
Performer In A Leading Role – Jane Perry as Selene Vassos
Returnal by Housemarque was nominated for 9 out of the 18 awards at the 2022 BAFTA Games Awards. And they took home 4 of those awards, including best performance in a leading role. It’s a fair statement to say that Returnal swept the BAFTAs with other games only taking 2 awards max.
Undoubtedly one of the better games of 2021, in Returnal you play as Selene Vassos. An astronaut that has crash-landed on a world out to kill her, but it turns out death isn’t so permanent as we would have expected. The relentless roguelike gameplay is akin to We Happy Few, where the world changes with every death cycle.
It’s a beautiful game packed with a ton of mystery and surprise.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart by Insomniac Games, Sony Interactive Entertainment
Animation & Technical Achievement
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is our second biggest winner at the 2022 BAFTA Games Awards nabbing two trophies. The game snagged 2 out of its 7 nominated awards.
Insomniac Games is almost ready to give Pixar a run for their money with the quality of their animation. In all their previous games the visual effects have been getting better and better. And this comes to a head in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. With the game’s animation, ready to be shown in any cinema proudly.
If you haven’t been following the Ratchet & Clank series, it doesn’t matter because Rift Apart completely blows up the space timeline so to speak. This time you’re dimension-hopping, jumping between worlds and realities, and meeting the fabulous new edition to the series – Rivet.
It Takes Two by Hazelight Studios, Electronic Arts
Multiplayer & Original Property
I have some hot takes on It Takes Two, the game that won Game of the Year at last year’s Game Awards. No hate but I think it’s overrated, the storyline is forgettable and the gameplay is only okay. I like a local co-op as much as the next guy, some would say more. But It Takes Two is only okay? And definitely didn’t deserve to win Game of the Year.
But I digress, at the 2022 BAFTA Games Awards, It Takes Two took home best in ‘multiplayer’ and ‘original property’. The other nominations in ‘original property’ include Death’s Door and Inscryption which I felt had much more potential than It Takes Two.
It Takes Two is a co-op adventure that goes through a fantastical representation of a couple on their way through a divorce. Together the couple has to work together to get back to reality and along the way learn to work together and mend their relationship. It’s a nice little adventure in a pretty world, that tackled the important subject of relationships. Too bad they didn’t follow through with telling it.
Unpacking by Witch Beam, Humble Games
Narrative & EE Game of the Year
“We’re not telling a complicated story in Unpacking but the way we tell it is different, and it’s nice to see that that’s appreciated and resonates with people.” – Wren Brier while accepting the narrative award at the 2022 BAFTA Games Awards.
It’s interesting that Unpacking won the award for ‘narrative’ since there’s no typical type of story narration. But that’s probably the point. The game tells a story intimately with the process of unpacking. If you’ve ever moved house you’ll know the joy/sadness and just emotions of memories that get dredged up with items. The game mechanic itself is simple, pulling possessions out of boxes and fitting them into a new home. Part block-fitting puzzle, part home decoration and over the course of the house moves you unravel a silent story.
Even more impressively this simple story won the EE Game of the Year, which is a fan-voted game award. Beating the overtly popular It Takes Two and even Metroid Dread! A true achievement indeed.
The Artful Escape by Beethoven & The Dinosaur, Annapurna Interactive
The visually stunning and memorable game The Artful Escape deserves all the recognition and I’m glad it got some at the 2022 BAFTA Games Awards. In fact, the game is listed in our 2021 Game of the Year Mentions, as an alternative GOTY list.
Not only is The Artful Escape well-executed graphically, in sound design and engineering, but it also tells a sincere and memorable story that will stay with you. The game is a coming-of-age story about our protagonist Francis and his journey to rock stardom. In his quiet Colorado hometown, the community is expecting him to continue his Uncle’s musical legacy and has planned a debut show that will kick start his career. But on the night of the performance, he gets whisked away on a strange intergalactic adventure, one that helps him discover his new psychedelic stage persona.
Inscryption by Daniel Mullins Games, Devolver Digital
I have to hand it to the 2022 BAFTA Games Awards for including a good amount of indie titles and especially Inscryption which should have definitely been a GOTY contender but I’m glad it took ‘Game Design’ here.
Inscryption is a deck-building roguelike game and it’s hard to go into the specifics without spoiling any part of the game. In fact, most of its intrigue lies in the unknown, the twists and turns that happen mid to late game. Unravelling the mystery, and experiencing the terror, is truly what makes this game great.
The card metagame is in itself very interesting and is a great example of the roguelike, strategy genre. You’re able to affect your cards, stitching two together to make a more powerful Frankenstein monster. There are plenty of hidden and secret cards that require special tactics in order to reveal their powers. So many questions and the only way to answer them is by playing the game.
TOEM by Something We Made
TOEM is on our list of hidden gaming gems of 2021 and it’s great to see it get more attention at the 2022 BAFTA Games Awards. It’s an adorable little photography game that’s delightful and eye-catching. But I’m not sure it’s better than Eastward and The Forgotten City which were also nominated for this award.
The hand-drawn photography adventure game is endlessly charming, with some unique and quirky characters. There are no high stakes here, there’s no leaderboard or trying to get the best photos. Instead, it’s a calming little puzzle observation game. That will reward your curiosity with cute and whimsical humour.
No Man’s Sky by Hello Games
I’m so glad No Man’s Sky won the ‘evolving game’ award at the 2022 BAFTA Games Awards! I think we can all agree that the game had a historically terrible launch but even now years later they’re still so dedicated to building the world that they promised. The gameplay, the systems and everything that’s been updated in No Man’s Sky are deep, intricate and well thought out. We’ve got a few No Man’s Sky update reports for you to check out here as well.
Since the game’s initial release in 2016 (6 years ago!), No Man’s Sky has received 19 updates and patches. It’s almost too numerous to list here but there’s been an ever-evolving story that has been added to the game. The addition of multiplayer, VR, base building, starships, companion robots and just endless visual updates and of course more and more items. No Man’s Sky is a fabulous case study on the sincere dedication of game development and its commitment to its vision.
Before Your Eyes by Goodbye World Games, Skybound Games
Game Beyond Entertainment
Before Your Eyes is a first-person narrative adventure that tells the story of a soul’s journey into the afterlife using a new and innovative form of interaction—your real-life blinks. I can see why this game won the category ‘Game Beyond Entertainment’, because who would have thought this would be a great idea for a game??
The story begins after your death, aboard the ship of a mythical Ferryman tasked with shepherding souls to the afterlife. In order to help you pass on, he must first learn the story of your life. And so, he sends you back to relive your most important moments. The game uses your webcam to immerse you in this story. You will learn to control the flow of the narrative with your actual eyes–blinking through precious memories of family, first love, and the rise of an artistic career. By combining its innovative blink interaction mechanic with a charming world and a fully voice-acted story, Before Your Eyes is a deeply emotional and relatable journey—one about the impossible expectations we place on ourselves and the regrets we carry with us.
Chicory: A Colorful Tale by FINJI
From the creators of Celeste comes Chicory: A Colorful Tale. I’m not sure this game should only have won an award for the Family category at the 2022 BAFTA Games Awards as some of its messaging and story run fairly deep. I feel like Family is more of a fun-type category like Mario Party, but Chicory is definitely more than that.
It’s about a not so special character called Pancake that has a very special task ahead of her, to find the owner of the magic paintbrush and colour the world. Chicory tells a story about believing in yourself, or not. But it’s also about tearing down systems that no longer serve you and your community, about imagining a new world that’s less about competition and hierarchy, and more about equity and mutual aid. The colouring mechanic, the story and Pancake herself is gentle and encouraging. A must play whether you have a family or not.
Psychonauts 2 by Double Fine
Performer In A Supporting Role – Kimberly Brooks as Hollis Forsythe
Razputin “Raz” Aquato, trained acrobat and powerful young psychic, has realized his lifelong dream of joining the international psychic espionage organization known as the Psychonauts! But these psychic super spies are in trouble. Their leader hasn’t been the same since he was rescued from a kidnapping, and what’s worse, there’s a mole hiding in headquarters.
Combining quirky missions and mysterious conspiracies, Psychonauts 2 is a platform-adventure game with cinematic style and tons of customizable psychic powers. Psychonauts 2 serves up danger, excitement and laughs in equal measure as players guide Raz on a journey through the minds of friends and foes on a quest to defeat a murderous psychic villain.
Forza Horizon 5 by Playground Games, Xbox Games Studios
Staying strong to their roots, it is the BAFTAs, after all, they felt they needed a category just for British games. I don’t have many opinions on this category, as game development is really very international these days. Half the big games are normally full of outsourced work as well. But in any event, Forza Horizon 5 is a great addition to the franchise and the level of photorealism is out of this world.
Explore the vibrant and ever-evolving open-world landscapes of Mexico with limitless, fun driving action in hundreds of the world’s greatest cars in Forza Horizon 5. Lead breathtaking expeditions across the vibrant and ever-evolving open-world landscapes of Mexico with limitless, fun driving action in hundreds of the world’s greatest cars.