BAFTAs back in 2009

The British Academy Video Games Awards will return next year after being absent from industry calendars through 2008.

Thirteen awards categories have been announced: Action & Adventure, Artistic Achievement, Best Game, Casual, Gameplay, Multiplayer, Original Score, Sports, Strategy, Story & Character, Technical Achievement, Use of Audio and a new Handheld category which includes games for mobiles phones, Sony PSP, Nintendo DS and Nintendo GBA.

The event will return on March 10th, 2009. Chairman of the Academy’s Games committee – and Sony Computer Entertainment UK MD – Ray Maguire said:

“After extensive industry consultation, it was agreed that March would be the best time for the Awards, enabling the industry to enter all the major releases of the year.”

Other prizes on the night will include the prestigious Fellowship, the BAFTA Ones To Watch Award in association with Dare To Be Digital; and another ‘Gift of the Academy’ gong for games or gaming technology worthy of special recognition.

The games will be judged by industry experts rather than the gaming public. However, BAFTA is encouraging developers and publishers to support individual entries with short films that contain footage about the making of the game. These will be posted on both the BAFTA website as well as general games websites.

Commenting on this new initiative, Maguire said: “We are keen to see the new filmed support material be developed by each nominee, as this is the sort of initiative that helps the wider world understand that the creation and development of video games is an art form, often with teams of hundreds of people and budgets on a par with feature films.”

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