Death Stranding and Control lead the nominations at the Bafta Games Awards, with 11 each.
It’s the most nominations any game has received in the awards’ history, although Death Stranding missed out on the best game category.
Disco Elysium, a role-playing detective game that blends the old with the new, received seven nominations – including best game and debut game.
The awards will take place on Thursday 2 April.
Bafta also announced that Hideo Kojima – the creator of Death Stranding – will receive the Fellowship, the highest accolade it can give.
New franchises ‘control’ the nominations
The games nominated this year are a showcase of worlds we’ve never seen before – rather than returning fan favourite franchises. Those nominated in multiple categories range from 2019’s most surprising critical success to a game about a goose.
Control was an unheralded release that passed many people by. But it impressed critics so much it was named game of the year by sites like IGN.
Its supernatural game play is unique and engrossing – and has earned it a record-breaking 11 nominations despite many gamers on the street not being able to tell you much about it.
On the other end of the spectrum is Hideo Kojima’s latest, Death Stranding. It’s a technical marvel with grand ambitions and impressive performances from its cast.
It was Kojima’s first release since leaving his former employers Konami to set up his own studio. Last year Radio 1 Newsbeat spent three days behind-the-scenes to see the final hours of the game’s creation – where Kojima told us Death Stranding’s central theme was connectivity.
“The era of today is about individualism,” he said.
“We may be connected through the internet more than ever, but what’s happening is that people are attacking each other because we’re so connected.”
But it divided opinion when released which is probably why it missed out on being shortlisted for the biggest prize of the awards – best game.
What has been nominated in that category, and three others, is Untitled Goose Game.
The fact a title that sees you rampaging around gardens as a wild bird has been nominated alongside science fiction and fantasy releases is a real testament to the variety and creativity of the gaming industry.
You can add Disco Elysium to that list too – the independent release which sees you control a detective suffering from alcohol and drug-induced amnesia. It’s a perfect blend of old game play and new ideas.
Some will argue that games like Control and Death Stranding have broken records this year because there were fewer returning franchises and major releases hitting the shelves in 2019.
Others will say their many nominations prove that gaming is the perfect medium to tackle complex ideas and concepts and make it entertaining.
The Bafta Games always throw up a surprise or two – so don’t be too shocked if despite bossing the nominations both Control and Death Stranding end up losing out to a disgruntled bird…
The awards will take place on Thursday 2 April. See the full list of nominees here.