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BAFTA Games Awards: 'God of War' wins big but Best Game goes to surprise indie hit

'Vampire Survivors' BAFTA Best Game of 2023
'Vampire Survivors' BAFTA Best Game of 2023 Copyright Poncle
Copyright Poncle
By Jonny Walfisz
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The indie game 'Vampire Survivors' was the surprise winner of the top award at this year's BAFTA Games Awards.

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Nomination leader God of War Ragnarök took home multiple awards at BAFTA Games Awards last night, but the top award went to underdog indie game Vampire Survivors.

Going into the 2023 Game Awards, God of War Ragnarök broke BAFTA records with 14 nominations. The blockbuster game is the ninth instalment in the God of War franchise and took home six awards.

Christopher Judge and Laya Deleon Hayes won both performer awards for their roles in God of War Ragnarök. Other prizes for the blockbuster Nordic action game included Best Animation, Best Audio Achievement, Best Music, and the audience voted award EE Game of the Year.

“It is not lost on me that I'm a black man standing on a British stage accepting an award for playing a Spartan God killer, who in his heart always wants to be a father,” said Judge, who plays God of War Ragnarök protagonist Kratos. “It is the role of a lifetime. I'm gonna live and breathe every moment of this great gift that I was given. And I will do it humbly.”

SIE
God of War RagnarökSIE

With its six awards, the God of War series becomes the most awarded game franchise in BAFTA history, with 14 awards, over previous record holder Grand Theft Auto ’s nine.

However, the headline of the ceremony was the Best Game award going to the comparatively tiny game Vampire Survivors.

Released last year on Steam, the 2D side-scrolling shoot-em-up game has become the surprise hit of the year. In procedurally generated environments, pixelated characters automatically shoot at a variety of spawning monsters, as players vie for ever improved weapons.

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A still from 'Vampire Survivors'Poncle

Compared to lusciously designed Best Game nominees God of War Ragnarök and Elden Ring, Vampire Survivors's simplicity made it a surprise winner, even for its designers. When accepting the award, the development team said “we did not expect this”. 

Vampire Survivors also took home the gong for Best Game Design.

There’s precedent for indie games like Vampire Survivors beating out the blockbusters to the top gong at the BAFTAs. What Remains of Edith Finch beat out frontrunner The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild in 2017.

Elden Ring entered the ceremony with nine nominations, and managed to take home two trophies, for Best Original Property and Best Multiplayer. Cat simulator Stray, which looked good going into the night with nine nominations, left empty handed.

Here are the full winners:

Best Game

Cult of the Lamb

Elden Ring

God of War Ragnarök

Marvel Snap

Stray

Vampire Survivors *WINNER*

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Animation

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II

God of War Ragnarök *WINNER*

Horizon Forbidden West

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

Sifu

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Stray

Artistic Achievement

A Plague Tale: Requiem

Elden Ring

God of War Ragnarök

Immortality

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Pentiment

Tunic *WINNER*

Audio Achievement

A Plague Tale: Requiem

God of War Ragnarök *WINNER*

Horizon Forbidden West

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Metal: Hellsinger

Stray

Tunic

British Game

Citizen Sleeper

Olliolli World

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Rollerdrome *WINNER*

Total War: Warhammer III

Vampire Survivors

Debut Game

As Dusk Falls

The Case of the Golden Idol

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Stray

Trombone Champ

Tunic *WINNER*

Vampire Survivors

Evolving Game

Apex Legends

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Dreams

The Elder Scrolls Online

Final Fantasy XIV Online *WINNER*

Forza Horizon 5

No Man's Sky

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Family Game

Disney Dreamlight Valley

Kirby and the Forgotten Land *WINNER*

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope

Nintendo Switch Sports

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge

Game Beyond Entertainment

Citizen Sleeper

Endling - Extinction is Forever *WINNER*

Gibbon: Beyond the Trees

I Was a Teenage Exocolonist

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Not for Broadcast

We'll Always Have Paris

Game Design

Cult of the Lamb

Elden Ring

God of War Ragnarök

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Horizon Forbidden West

Tunic

Vampire Survivors *WINNER*

Multiplayer

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II

EA Sports FIFA 23

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Elden Ring *WINNER*

Overwatch 2

Splatoon 3

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Music

A Plague Tale: Requiem

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Cuphead

Elden Ring

God of War Ragnarök *WINNER*

Stray

Tunic

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Narrative

A Plague Tale: Requiem

Citizen Sleeper

God of War Ragnarök

Immortality *WINNER*

Pentiment

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Stray

Original Property

Citizen Sleeper

Cult of the Lamb

Elden Ring *WINNER*

SIFU

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Stray

Vampire Survivors

Performer in a Lead Role

Alain Mesa as Alejandro Vargas in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II

Charlotte McBurney as Amicia in A Plague Tale: Requiem

Christopher Judge as Kratos in God of War Ragnarök *WINNER*

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Manon Gage as Marissa Marcel in Immortality

Siobhan Williams as Laura in The Quarry

Sunny Suljic as Atreus in God of War Ragnarök

Performer in a Supporting Role

Adam J. Harrington as Sindri in God of War Ragnarök

Alison Jaye as Alva in Horizon Forbidden West

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Charlotta Mohlin as The One in Immortality

Danielle Bisutti as Freya in God of War Ragnarök

Laya Deleon Hayes as Angrboda in God of War Ragnarök *WINNER*

Ryan Hurst as Thor in God of War Ragnarök

Technical Achievement

Elden Ring

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God of War Ragnarök

Horizon Forbidden West *WINNER*

Immortality

The Last of Us Part I

Stray

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EE Game of the Year

Elden Ring

God of War Ragnarök *WINNER*

Horizon Forbidden West

Immortality

Marvel Snap

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Stray

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